Rev. Dr. Arvid Straube spoke to us about why labor justice matters. Ok, in reality he spoke to us over the internet, but it was very interesting nevertheless.
There is lots of stress in our workday jobs. We try to hold down a job, that is stressful enough. Maybe you have a low paying job. Maybe you are on fixed income. Maybe you have to string together some part time jobs in order to create full employment for yourself. In our culture, we have been taught to blame ourselves if we have anything less than a fulfilling job.
In reality, our economic system is stacked to benefit those at the top. In the 2008 recession, bankers took risks with the depositors money, often what they did was clearly illegal, but no banker in the U.S. went to jail. The banks were bailed out with the dollars of the working people - tax dollars. And these dollars went to them without any restrictions placed on it at all. The bankers were free to do whatever they wanted with the bail out money. (hint: all the bankers got bonuses that year.)
Union organizers created laws to allow a social contract that allowed workers to get a living wage with weekends off. Our faith, the Unitarian Universalist faith, declares that we uphold the worth and dignity of all people. Yet the laws are being changed to limit the gains that the union organizers have had in the past.
The people who make minimum wage are falling behind even as the average corporate leader makes 300 times the average wage of the worker in their companies. Our society has become so stratified that corporate leaders segregate themselves in gated communities. We aren't all in this together is some of us are living in gated communities. So, let us all call for the raise in the minimum wage and index it to inflation.
This change would raise the prices of goods made and delivered by those people who earn only the minimum wage. However, think about this. Those who make only the minimum wage now live in poverty and end up on public assistance. Public assistance comes out of taxes paid by the rest of us... the same people who are buying those goods and services from the people earning minimum wage. Therefore, instead of taxing those people and turning over the tax money to those low end workers, we would deliver that money into their hands through earned wages. We would incentivize being a hard worker instead of incentivize being on public assistance. Success depends on spiritual grounding. We believe in dignity of every human being, and an increase in the minimum wage is low hanging fruit in the effort to find dignity in every human being.
Come join us on Sunday and be part of our conversation. We have a lot of conversation... (also snacks after service.)