What Happens When a Living Wage is Present
Many thanks to Erin Ruberry and Garance Franke-Ruta from my twitter feed pointing to a New York City publication I was unaware of: gothamist. Chronicled is the experience of workers when a union contract suddenly lifts them out of abject poverty into a living wage (low $20.00 an hour) with real healthcare.
It’s striking and heartbreaking to see joyful sentences detailing how chronic and tenaciously painful health issues are suddenly settled, the problems hadn’t punched the workers out of the labor force but had seriously degraded their abilities and lives.
Now days are lived free of pain, work is performed much better, and most of all where before there was crushed hope and degradation now dignity and pride of performance rule the day. For the love of baby Jesus, poverty workers don’t dream of being rich or taking over the world or having power in the workforce, what they long for is dignity of place and pride in person.
The other noteworthy element to the great stories is the great positive effect on the lives of their children—you know, workers are human beings, they tend to have children, how their children are doing has a vast effect on their quality as workers.
Yes it is a very good moral accomplishment to take care of children, it’s fine to see lives free of neglect and suffering, but for the sake of Newton it’s in society’s imperative practical interest to do so! We need engineers, scientists, good literate workers, engaged young people to take on the future, if we ignore and neglect our children all we get is a lot of problems that are a lot more expensive to fix and deal with than investing in children in the first place!
Again, I’m not asking for purity or singularity. You want to build and deploy nine Nimitz Class and one G Washington class aircraft carriers in a global force for good, well, it’s stupid but I can see it. But don’t laughably tell me it’s in the security interest of our country when our children are suffering and being neglected simultaneously, our security is in the well-being of our people, not our aircraft carriers.
All this necessarily being said, I urge you with all the neurons in my proudly liberal soul to go read the human stories linked at gothamist. Please trust me, they will grant hope, dignity, and faith in all our people that we can start to get the hell out of this mess of the 21st century by paying all of our workers at least $15 an hour.
Please have a great weekend, gentle people.