Asheville should pay a living wage to all it’s workers

At present the City of Asheville operates with the stated goal of paying all employees a living wage, a policy which I fully endorse. If we hope to raise the living standard of the lowest paid workers in our town, the city has no business depressing wages through low-balling the system. And personally, I don’t want my tax money used to hire people who are paid too little to sustain their lives.

However there are two loopholes in the application of those goals that need to be addressed.

1. The city adopted the living wage policy in 2007 and it has not adjusted those wages for inflation since the adoption. The figure should be adjusted annually.

2. City contractors are not included in the rule. We should act immediately to require anyone doing contract work for the city to pay workers a living wage. Naturally this will raise the cost of some contract work, but it will affect only a relatively small number of people and won’t cost the city all that much money. (My campaign is currently researching the actual anticipated cost of this policy.) Of course, the consultants, architects, lawyers and other professionals hired by the city are paid sums far in excess of a living wage, but the people who scrub the urinals, mop the floors and mow the lawns are not included in the living wage program. It is long past time to for change.


One Response

  1. Hey Cecil,
    Thanks for your position on this! YES, extending the policy to contractors was the big obvious gap when Council passed the living wage ordinance. So I look forward to you fixing that!

    Also, I would suggest not only adjusting the dollar amount to account for inflation, but also looking at how the dollar amount that is considered a “living wage” is calculated (in other words, whose definition of a living wage we are using). In my opinion, the NC Justice Center’s formula for calculating a living income standard is the most realistic, and don’t believe that the current figure that the City is using is actually a living wage…..

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