January 7th, 2014 Meeting: Celebratory and Serious
NECA’s Winter meeting was both celebratory and serious. We began by introducing our two newest Board members, Scott DeWitt of Cape Ann Car Wash and Jeremy Bates of South Shore Car Wash, and acknowledging those who have new Board of Director positions. Dave Ellard of Triple Play Car Wash in Attleboro has stepped up into the position of Operator Vice President. Bob Katseff was sincerely thanked for so ably filling that role in 2013. Mike DiOrio of Maddy’s Car Wash in Peabody and Beverly Car Wash has stepped up to the position of Treasurer. From their work on the Board up to now, we know Dave and Mike will do great jobs.
In recognition of NECA’s 40th anniversary, a wonderful vintage video from the 1970s was projected during dinner. Also, many past presidents were in the room and we acknowledged their ongoing commitment to NECA. Then, we presented the 2013 You Make It Happen Award to one of those past presidents, Danny Paisner of ScrubADub (see story in Member News).
The serious part of the program featured a very special guest: Bradley H. Jones, Jr., Minority Leader of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Rep. Jones has been a Republican member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives since January 1994, representing the 20th Middlesex district, and minority leader of the House since 2003. His district includes parts of Lynnfield, Middleton, North Reading and Reading.
The focus of this portion of the program was on a bill to increase the minimum wage in Massachusetts. Although we agreed that an increase was imminent and was no doubt needed, we hoped to influence the debate (and results) on how much, how fast, whether it would indexed to cost of living and what reforms might be offered to employers, such as unemployment tax reform, to soften the effects. We also agreed that grassroots efforts -- contact from constituents -- would be more effective than hiring lobbyists, especially since like minded organizations such as RAM (Retailers Association of MA) already have a lobbyists working on this issue.
Recently, the various New England State’s Legislatures have introduced bills to increase the minimum wage but SB 1925: An Act to Restore the Minimum Wage has been of the greatest concern to our members because of its scope. The MA Senate already has voted yes on the proposal to raise the MA minimum wage to $11 by 2016 and to require cost of living indexing. We emphasized that it was in everyone’s best interest to speak up, and the more people who make contact, the better. Even if members live in a neighboring state and do business/work in MA, or both live and work in a neighboring state, this ambitious legislation will have a ripple effect.
As a follow-up to the meeting, NECA prepared and distributed letters that can be easily customized and links to legislative contact information. See Tools and Resources for more information and copies of these letters.
The outcome of the legislative session and our efforts will be reported in the NECA E-Newsletter and NECA News Brief.