Monday, April 28, 2008

Why Don't Many Working Americans Make Enough To Support Themselves?

Charlie and George only care about religion and flag pins, so it’s up to me to ask the question.

From Inspired by their peers, Washington ESPs fight for living wages by John Rosales:

What's the recipe for a successful living wage campaign? A dollop of funding, a dash of leadership, and lots of willing members. In 2002, the Ithaca Paraprofessionals Association in New York made bargaining history when they combined these ingredients to launch a wage campaign that ultimately gave paras on the low end of the pay scale an immediate 38 percent increase, raised starting pay by 50 percent by the end of the three-year contract, and increased membership in their bargaining unit to 100 percent.

Since Ithaca, public school employees across the country have scraped together funding, sponsored leadership training, and inspired members to start living wage campaigns. From Atlanta and Birmingham to Seneca Valley, Pennsylvania; Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Fayette County, Kentucky; and Burlington, Vermont—education support professionals (ESPs) have launched campaigns.

Generally, a living wage means sufficient compensation to pay for basic necessities without government, community, or other financial assistance. A living wage campaign is a grassroots effort by employees to win enough pay to cover basic items such as rent, food, utilities, taxes, and transportation.
"We already knew ESPs weren't making a living wage because so many are on food stamps," Wahlquist says. "We have members who work a second job to make ends meet, and ESP parents whose kids are on the free and reduced lunch program."

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