By Rosalie Tirella
Cynical people in Worcester knew this would happen. I was a wee bit optimistic. I was hoping former lieutenant governor and now present-day chamber of commerce head Timothy Murray would transcend his 2014 job title and do the right thing, do what he would have done if he were still Massachusetts lieutenant governor: support the call for a hike in the state’s minimum wage. Before he let his ambition run ram shackle over his morals. Oh, well, it was Tim’s political life to lose …
But now our disgraced former lieutenant governor is head of the local chamber of commerce, hauling in an obscene $200,000 a year salary! Wow! How lucky can you get?! You’d think the least the little twerp could do was throw a bone to the working stiff/stiffette and back an increase in the state’s minimum wage, from $8 to $9 an hour (the first year). Half the people in Worcester seem to be making it! 8 bucks an hour. You try raising your family on that chicken scratch, Tim!
But forget empathy! Tim is all about ME! Is he supporting his former friends in the state house? DeLeo and company – the state LEADERS who are saying: Massachusetts is one of the most expensive states in the country in which to live and raise a family. Working people need to make more than $8 an hour! They need to make at least $11. We’ll start them off with $9.
Paltry increase, really. Forget chicken scratch – more like chicken shit. Yet Tim Murray, a guy who could, as chamber head, make a difference in the conversation Woo is having, make a compelling case for the increase, DO THE RIGHT THING, has clammed up. The little mollusk!
Shame on you, Tim! And on St. Patrick’s Day weekend when so many parade marchers or observers were/are maid or housekeepers or factory workers or the sons or grandsons of maids or housekeepers or factory workers. Your people, like my people (Polish and Italian immigrants), had it grindingly hard when they first came to America. Our people know how brutal and exploitative and racist the American economy can be!
Yet this weekend, you get amnesia. You have forgotten your roots! You didn’t forget them on the campaign trail several years ago! When you were running for lieutenant governor of Massachusetts you made it known in every one of your political brochures, push cards, speeches and TV and radio ads: THAT YOUR ROOTS WERE HUMBLE. THAT YOUR GRANDPARENTS WERE WORKING CLASS. THAT YOU WERE REAL. NOT A PHONY.
And voters believed you.
But that was then. This is now.
So embodying the sleaziest aspects of BEING A GOOD POLITICIAN you change your tune, or you shut up all together. You let working families dangle because you’re playing for the other team. You’re representing Worcester business these days, not the working poor, of which Worcester has many. Tons, actually!!!!
Maybe you can come out for the minimum wage increase if you look at it like this, Tim: Worcester’s downtown is a ghost-town. Our inner-city neighborhoods are struggling. By putting more money into the wallets of the very people who live in or near these Worcester neighborhoods, you will help revive the very Worcester businesses you aim to help! More money for the working poor means more money poured into the local economy, often the restaurants or shops RIGHT IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOODS OR DOWNTOWN.
The money will flow back to Worcester businesses, Tim. An increase in the minimum wage will make Worcester families AND local businesses stronger.
But you don’t get it.
You were never too smart.