NEW BEDFORD — Raise Up Massachusetts, the coalition behind multiple ballot campaigns this cycle, plans to kick off a statewide lobbying tour on Saturday in New Bedford to build support for its efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and guarantee workers paid family and medical leave.

With seven stops planned already, representatives from the coalition's labor, civic and religious organizations hope to pitch lawmakers and residents on the merits of both proposals as they push to see if the Legislature might pass either as a bill this session, rather than go the ballot in November.

The first event is planned for Saturday at 10 a.m. at Carney Academy in New Bedford. Members of the Coalition for Social Justice, Fall River Educators Association, Greater Southeastern Massachusetts Labor Council, Mass Teachers Association, New Bedford Democrats, Southeastern Massachusetts Building Trades, 1199SEIU, Somerset Democrats, and United Interfaith Action will speak with South Coast legislators.

Other events are planned through mid-April in Springfield, Lawrence, Worcester, Boston, the North Shore, and Brockton.

Raise Up leaders are currently in active negotiations with House and Senate leaders and the business community about a potential compromise over paid family and medical leave, but leaders have said they don't plan to negotiate over the minimum wage proposal.

--Matt Murphy, State House News Service

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