Dan Wolf's sick leave bill protest at State House Dunkin Donuts

Plus state's real estate activity nears pre-recession levels
Center: Senator Dan Wolf (D-Harwich).

Protest at Dunkin Donuts for Wolf's Sick Leave Bill

Workers' rights advocates were planning to show up where lawmakers eat on today, or at least where many of them get their coffee, to rally support for Sen. Dan Wolf's earned sick time bill. The Dunkin Donuts across Beacon Street from the State House will be the site of a protest for activists who are hoping to require businesses to grant sick time to workers.

According to organizers, operating as The Massachusetts Paid Leave Coalition, Cape Cod & Islands State Senator Dan Wolf and Rep. Kay Khan have filed legislation that would ensure sick leave for Bay State workers.

Sen. Daniel Wolf (D-Harwich), said the latest version of the bill takes into account many of the concerns, particularly of businesses with small operations and seasonal workers. Wolf, founder of Cape Air, said the benefits of offering paid sick time are “huge,” including preventing the spread of diseases, and enabling parents to care for sick children rather than send them off to school.

“As a business person myself we have always offered the benefit,” Wolf said. “I do not think it is an unreasonable or heavy burden for people.”

Wolf said he expects opposition again, but believes there is enough support for it to pass. “I think we have been very sensitive and modified the bill,” he said. “My hope is there has been a lot of information and discussion that will allay fears from the last session.”

According to a press release from the group, 1 million Massachusetts workers are unable to earn sick time. The group, which includes the AFL-CIO, the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association and City Life/Vida Urbana, claims that Dunkin Donuts makes $500 million in annual profits and does not provide paid sick time for its employees.

Noting a flu epidemic, the group says without paid time off workers show up to work sick. The protest is planned for noon on Thursday. The national coffee and breakfast food giant has its roots in Massachusetts, with its first store opening in Quincy more than 60 years ago.

State's real estate activity nears pre-recession levels

Home sales in 2012 were up 18 percent over 2011

December marked 12 straight months of rising year-over-year home sales and Massachusetts last year recorded more home sales than in any year since 2006.

Home sales in 2012 were up 18 percent over 2011, according to data released Thursday morning by The Warren Group. Prices are up too, posting their biggest monthly increase since 2005.

The median sale price in December hit $300,000, up from $267,000 in December 2011. In all, 46,887 home sales were recorded last year, compared to 50,724 in 2006. December home sales were up 8 percent compared to December 2011 and fourth quarter sales were up 13 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2011.

Warren Group CEO Timothy Warren Jr. called 2012 "the year of robust recovery in the real estate market." The bump in sales rose over a depressed base, as 2011 home sales in Massachusetts were down 6 percent compared to 2010. For the year, the median sale price of a single family home in Massachusetts in 2012 was $290,000, up from $285,000 in 2011.

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors released its own data Thursday showing a spike in residential real estate activity last year. "December capped off a very active year in 2012 as the real estate market in Massachusetts made significant progress towards recovery," MAR President Kimberly Allard-Moccia, broker-owner of Century 21 Professionals in Braintree, said in a statement. "With the 'fiscal cliff' averted for now and pending activity remaining strong, we anticipate a healthy start to 2013."

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