Sunday, April 15, 2012

Inspiration for the Day, April 15, 2012: 

This appeared in my church bulletin. I do not know the author:

Jesus Was a Low-Wage Worker

Jesus was a low-wage worker, just like too many workers in the U.S. today. Nurses aides, hotel housekeepers, farm workers, day laborers, early childcare specialists, fast food workers, retail sales clerks, and custodians are examples of workers who provide needed services but usually receive wages so low that they cannot keep a family out of poverty. Low-wage workers today, just like Jesus, deserve a living wage.

Too many low-wage jobs - Over one-quarter of all jobs in the United States (26%) pay poverty-level wages, so low that a full-time worker cannot keep a family of four out of poverty. These jobs are more likely to be held by people of color. Just like Jesus.

No benefits and difficult work conditions - Low-wage jobs are less likely to provide health insurance, a pension, or even paid sick leave. They are more likely to require evening, night, weekend, or rotating shifts. They are more likely to be part time.

Less upward mobility - These jobs are seldom ladders to better opportunities.

Education is not the answer - While more education can improve the job prospects for an individual, allowing him or her to move to a better paying opportunity, more education for workers will not improve low-wage JOBS.

Unsafe working conditions - Low-wage jobs are more likely to be dangerous or unsafe.

What to Do about Poverty-Wage Jobs

Raise the minimum wage - We need to further increase the minimum wage. In 2007, Congress voted to raise it to $7.25 over a two year period, helping about 15.5 million workers. But this new wage is not high enough.

Strengthen workers' rights to form a union - Unions are one of the best ways for workers to improve their wages and working conditions. God gave us the Sabbath, but the efforts of organized workers brought us the weekend, the 8-hour day, paid vacations and holidays, health insurance, and pensions. This right has been eroded in the U.S. In 31% of all efforts to form unions, workers are illegally fired solely for their union organizing efforts.

Change unfair international trade agreements - Laws that govern international trade and investment typically put workers - in the U.S. and around the world - at a disadvantage. Free trade and investment agreements usually mean freedom for corporations to move where wages are lowest, workers least able to speak out, and safeguards for both labor and the environment are the weakest. This hurts workers in the U.S. and those in other countries.

Low-wage workers are high-value people of God. All jobs must provide fair and adequate wages, benefits, and working conditions. Workers must be able to support themselves and their families, and live with the dignity God intends for all. God's reign does not stop at the door to the workplace but extends to all aspects of life including our work lives.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?