“House leadership is moving to jail us in poverty,” said Santa Brito, a housekeeper at the Renaissance Hotel. “We are hard working mothers and the backbone of the Providence tourism industry, fighting to send our kids from Head Start to Harvard.”
Brito was responding to Rep. Ray Gallison’s 11th-hour bill that would prevent cities and towns from setting their own minimum wage. A House spokesman said Gallison’s proposal was a response to the hotel employees who have asked the Providence City Council to set a $15 industry minimum wage.
It’s unclear what motivated Gallison, a Democrat, to propose this kind of bill, which is widely considered a conservative legislative tactic to keep wages low.
Here’s Brito’s full statement, sent to me today:
“We are hard working mothers and the backbone of the Providence tourism industry, fighting to send our kids from Head Start to Harvard. 65% of Providence voters believe we should make $15 per hour, just about $1.85 more per room we clean. This week we started collecting the final round of signatures to put the $15 hotel worker minimum wage on the ballot. Providence voters are welcoming us at their door steps. Now, House leadership is moving to jail us in poverty. What does this mean for the future of our kids?