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Governor cuts in half Salary Reserve for human services workers

Contact: Bill Yelenak
Email: byelenak@providers.org
Phone: 617-428-3637 x122 (office) | 860-919-0369 (cell)

Governor cuts in half Salary Reserve for human services workers

BOSTON – Before signing the FY '13 budget on Sunday afternoon, Governor Patrick cut in half a $20 million Salary Reserve, only leaving $10 million for approximately 31,500 low-paid human services workers. Governor Patrick also proposes changing the section's language by removing an annualized raise and switching the reserve to a one-time payment.


"We are profoundly disappointed that the Governor cut the Salary Reserve in half and that he has declined to provide these low-paid direct care workers with an annualized wage increase," said Providers' Council President & CEO Michael Weekes. "These employees, who have gone without an annualized salary increase for five years, will receive a one-time payment equivalent to about 15 cents an hour if his proposal passes.”

The legislature had approved an annualized $20 million Salary Reserve in its budget proposal. If the Governor's vetoes, reductions and language changes pass, workers would only receive a one-time supplemental payment estimated at less than $1 per day before taxes. The one-time payment will not annualize and workers will not receive a true wage increase for at least six straight years.

The Governor said he plans to reallocate the $10 million he cut from the Salary Reserve to Chapter 257 implementation. Chapter 257 is the rate-setting legislation the Commonwealth passed in 2008, which it is still working to implement.

"It is fundamentally unfair that the Governor believes the state should fix its broken purchase of service system by taking money from the paychecks of some of the lowest-paid employees who work serving the public in the state," Weekes added. "With broad, bipartisan support from an overwhelming majority of legislators who appreciate this workforce's commitment to our state, we are shocked the Governor would reduce the Salary Reserve by half and change it to simply a one-time payment after five years of no increases." 

Workers seeking wage fairness had impressed on their legislators that they weren't "making it in Massachusetts" during an April state house rally with more than 1,000 supporters.

The Providers' Council, also known as the Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers, Inc., is the largest statewide membership association for community-based organizations providing social, rehabilitation, education and health care services.