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Work, decent wages give people dignity, help families, says bishop

Work, decent wages give people dignity, help families, says bishop

By Zoey Di Mauro
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — On the 75th anniversary of the creation of a federal minimum wage, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif., addressed a Senate hearing June 25 about the importance of fair wages and the dignity of work.

He said, “The new bishop of Rome, Pope Francis, recently remarked that work ‘fills us with dignity (and) makes us similar to God, who has worked and still works, who always acts; it gives one the ability to maintain oneself, one’s family, to contribute to the growth of one’s own nation.'”

On June 25, 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which enacted a minimum wage, initiated worker protections and all but ended child labor. Today the federal minimum wage stands at $7.25 an hour and $2.13 for tipped labor. The minimum wage was last raised in 2009 and tipped wages, in 1991. Read more

“RIGHT TO WORK” VS. THE RIGHTS OF WORKERS

“RIGHT TO WORK” VS. THE RIGHTS OF WORKERS

ABSTRACT

The long-running battle over “right-to-work” (RTW)legislation reappeared recently in Indiana. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce, in a recent report, contends that the growth of realpersonal income in RTW states has been higher thanin non-RTW states. Their argument is thatRTW laws lead to lower wages in RTW states, which attracts businesses to locate in those states. The increased business presence leads to higher income growth, which in turn leads – in the longrun – to higher productivity and higher wages in the state.

We find the Chamber’s arguments unpersuasive. Obviously there are businesses that are attracted to low-wage areas, but in our current global economy it is a risky strategy for a state to think it can compete with workers in developing countries who are paid much less. Moreover, many companies reject the “low-road” approach of low wages and make location decisions on other criteria, like the quality of the work force, infrastructure, and quality of life. Read more