'Living Wage Days' events expected
to mobilize voters to back minimum wage hikes
New York City, September 27, 2006
– As Congress continues to stall on
raising the minimum wage, the national Let Justice Roll Campaign will
hold hundreds of rallies, workshops, religious services, and prayer
breakfasts in October to build support for raising the minimum wage.
Let Justice Roll, a fast-growing nonpartisan partnership of more than 80
faith and community groups, is working to pass minimum wage ballot
measures in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Montana and Ohio.
Let Justice Roll played a leading role in recent state minimum wage
increases in Arkansas, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and West
Virginia. LJR helped win victories in California and Massachusetts, and
will be leading campaigns for minimum wage increases next year in states
such as New Hampshire and Tennessee.
A recent poll showed nine out of ten Americans support a higher minimum
wage, but Congress has not raised it in nine years. The minimum wage has
lost more than a fifth of its value since the last increase in 1997 to
$5.15 an hour, and has less buying power than the minimum wage of 1950.
"The Christian Coalition scorecard shows how members of Congress vote on
so-called social issues, but not on help for the poor, which the Bible
mandates hundreds of times. But millions of ‘values voters’ care about
fair wages for the people who do some of the hardest, most important
jobs in our society -- from childcare teachers we entrust with our
children to healthcare aides we entrust with our parents," said the Rev.
Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches USA, a
leading member of Let Justice Roll.
"It's a moral abomination they are paid a wage that traps them in
poverty," said Edgar, author of the new book, "Middle Church: Reclaiming
the Moral Values of the Faithful Majority from the Religious Right"
(Simon & Schuster).
"Let Justice Roll members know that talking about values is no
substitute for valuing hardworking men and women all across this nation
who need a higher minimum wage," said Rev. Dr. Paul Sherry, Let Justice
Roll Campaign National Coordinator. "The message of Living Wage Days
is clear: A job should keep you out of poverty, not keep you in it,"
said Sherry, co-author of "A Just Minimum Wage: Good for Workers,
Business and Our Future."
Many Let Justice Roll "Living Wage Days" events will take place on the
weekends of October 7-8 and October 14-15. States holding events
include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida,
Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Minnesota,
Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio,
Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington. A sample of
"Living Wage Days" events can be found below.
Contrary to minimum wage opponents’ assertions, states that have raised
their minimum wage above the federal level have had better employment
trends, including among retail and small businesses, than states that
At the federal level, the Let Justice Roll Campaign is calling on
Congress to raise the minimum wage to at least $7.25 an hour and oppose
measures that would weaken existing minimum wage eligibility, overtime
protections or other labor laws, or link minimum wage to tax cuts for
“The contrasts are staggering,” said Johanna Chao Rittenburg, Let
Justice Roll steering committee member, program manager for economic
justice at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. “Forbes
magazine announces that the 400 richest Americans are now all
billionaires just after the Census Bureau announced that median
full-time pay is down though productivity is up. Congressional leaders
are holding the minimum wage hostage to a tax cut for wealthy heirs. Let
Justice Roll believes that the moral issue of our time is that everyone
who works for a living earns a living wage,” said Rittenburg, who is
also co-editor of, "Resources for Living Wage Worship Services and
For interviews with Bob Edgar, Paul Sherry, Johanna Chao Rittenburg or
other Let Justice Roll representatives, please contact Dan Webster at
212-870-2252 or Betsy Leondar-Wright, 781-704-4039. Rev. Sherry can also
be reached directly by cell, 917-226-5301. Direct contact information
for states with minimum wage on the ballot follows the state sample of
OHIO: Services and events will be held across Ohio, including Akron,
Athens, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo.
Columbus, Oct. 5, the Rev. Dr. James Forbes, longtime senior minister at
Riverside Church, New York City, will give the keynote at “We Believe
Ohio: Get out the vote rally for Justice,” Congregation Tifereth
MONTANA: Missoula, Sept. 28, "Many Faiths, One Voice: Missoulians for
Wage Justice, with wisdom from Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim and
Native American spiritual traditions, University Congregational Church.
Missoula, Oct. 7, "Many Faiths, One Voice: Rally for the Raise."
Helena, Oct. 21, the statewide Progressive Clergy Alliance holds a
conference on the minimum wage at the state and federal level.
COLORADO: Lone Tree, Oct 7, Johanna Chao Rittenburg, Unitarian
Universalist Service Committee Program Manager for Economic Justice,
leads a workshop: "Could you survive on $5.15/hr -- Faith activists for
a just minimum wage."
Denver, Oct. 14, an African-American Ministers Issues Forum spotlighting
minimum wage Amendment 42 at Macedonia Baptist Church.
ARIZONA: Living Wage Days kicked off on Labor Day Weekend with more than
50 congregations hosting Labor in the Pulpit, a signature event of Let
Justice Roll member organization, Interfaith Worker Justice.
In October, Living Wage Days will feature numerous events, including the
multi-congregation Oct. 15 "Stand Up Against Poverty," sponsored by Let
Justice Roll member organization, WHEAT (World Hunger Education,
Advocacy & Training Organization).
Living Wage Days Resources available at
-- "Resources for Living Wage Worship Services and Community Events," a
comprehensive Let Justice Roll resource guide (available in pdf format.)
-- "A Just Minimum Wage: Good for Workers, Business and Our Future,"
co-authored by Holly Sklar and the Rev. Paul Sherry, and produced by the
American Friends Service Committee and the National Council of Churches
USA. "A Just Minimum Wage" is available in pdf format at
hard copies, contact Dan Webster at 212-870-2252 or email
CONTACTS FOR STATES WITH MINIMUM WAGE
ON THE BALLOT:
Rev. Trina Zelle, Lead Organizer, Let Justice Roll Arizona/Interfaith
2510 S. Rural Road Suite 102, Tempe, AZ 85282
Phone: 480-522-4707, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Greg Rasheed, Colorado Let Justice Roll Coordinator
Colorado Progressive Coalition, 1600 Downing St., Suite 210, Denver, CO
Phone: 303-866-0908, Cell: 720-436-3417, Email: email@example.com
Missouri: Rev. W. Audrey Hollis, Let Justice Roll Organizer/St. Louis
Area Jobs with Justice
2725 Clifton Ave St., Louis, MO 63137
Phone: 314-644-0466, x 12, Cell: 314-435-0414, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Montana: Kat Wright, Field Organizer, Raise Montana/Let Justice Roll
P.O. Box 1902, Helena, MT 59624
Phone: 406-495-8683, Cell: 406-461-3366, Email: email@example.com
Ohio: Katy Heins, Lead Organizer, Let Justice Roll Ohio
215 E. 14th St, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Cell: 513-314-0074, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional state contacts are available at