Contact NCC News Service: 212-870-2252 | E-mail email@example.com | Most Recent Stories | NCC Home
report says a fair minimum wage
Washington, April 7, 2006—The minimum wage has become a poverty wage instead of an anti-poverty wage, with damaging ripple effects throughout our economy, according to A Just Minimum Wage: Good for Workers, Business and Our Future, a new report by Holly Sklar and Rev. Dr. Paul Sherry that was released in support of the Let Justice Roll Living Wage Campaign. The minimum wage has been stuck at $5.15 an hour since 1997 and buys less today than it did when Sam Walton opened his first Walton’s 5 and 10 in 1951.
“It would take more than $9 to match the buying power of the minimum wage of 1968 and poverty rates are higher now than in the 1970s,” said Holly Sklar. “The United States is becoming a downwardly mobile society instead of an upwardly mobile society.”
A Just Minimum Wage counters all the arguments against raising the minimum wage and offers vital new insight into why the minimum wage is so important. The report shows that raising the minimum wage is an economic imperative for the enduring strength of our workforce, businesses, communities and economy, as well as a moral imperative for the very soul of our nation.
Some of the major
insights found in this important report include:
To date, 18 states have raised their state minimum wages above the federal level. States with higher minimums have had better employment trends, including for retail and small businesses than those that have not. Successful businesses, large and small, have shown that good wages are good business because they lower turnover and increase morale, productivity, quality, customer satisfaction and consumer purchasing power.
“Paying your employees well is not only the right thing to do but it makes for good business,” Costco CEO James Sinegal told Business Week. “Fair wages are good for business,” says Joel Marks, national director of the American Small Business Alliance.
In addition to the economic and business reasons for raising the minimum wage, A Just Minimum Wage also emphasizes the moral and ethical reasons for doing so. According to the report, the Golden Rule is the most universal moral value: Do to others what you would have them do to you.
Rev. Dr. Paul Sherry said, “Violating the Golden Rule, CEO pay has increased astronomically, while a growing number of workers can’t make ends meet. Violating the Golden Rule, Congress has taken eight pay raises since 1997, while giving none to minimum wage workers,” he said. “As people of faith, we are committed to justice and justice means raising the minimum wage to a living wage.”
A Just Minimum Wage makes clear: “Wages are a bedrock moral issue. The minimum wage is where society draws the line: This low and no lower. Our bottom line is this: A job should keep you out of poverty, not keep you in it.”
The Let Justice Roll Living Wage Campaign is composed of more than 60 faith and community organizations who have joined together to raise the minimum wage at the federal level and in states such as Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. A Just Minimum Wage was produced by the American Friends Service Committee and the National Council of Churches USA in support of the Let Justice Roll Living Wage Campaign.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Holly Sklar is a widely published op-ed columnist and analyst whose books include Raise The Floor: Wages and Policies That Work For All Of Us and Streets of Hope: The Fall and Rise of an Urban Neighborhood. The Rev. Dr. Paul H. Sherry is the coordinator of the Let Justice Roll Living Wage Campaign and the former president of the United Church of Christ.
ABOUT THE FOREWORD AUTHOR: The Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes Jr., senior minister of The Riverside Church in New York City, was recognized by Newsweek as one of the 12 “most effective preachers” in the English-speaking world.
Additional Campaign information is online at www.letjusticeroll.org, where you can download a .pdf file of A Just Minimum Wage. To arrange interviews with the authors and request press or review copies, please contact Rev. Leslie Tune, 202/544-2350 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Return to NCC Home Page