As Christians, we are called to pay just wages. In Scripture, the Book of Timothy says, “The laborer deserves [their] wages.” James reminds us that fraudulent pay reaches God’s ears, and Paul asks in Romans if we should look at our own life and our own stealing as we are reminding others not to steal.
There is even an old song we often sing in our sanctuaries that says “They’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love…We will protect each one’s dignity and save each one’s pride and they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”
Protecting dignity and paying fair, living wages go hand in hand. Are we stealing money or human dignity when we buy from companies that oppress their workers and do not pay them living wage?
Congress is now considering raising the minimum wage. The Half-in-Ten campaign (to cut poverty in half in ten years) is reminding us that “More than four years after the end of the Great Recession, not only have wages for low- and middle-income workers yet to recover, but low-wage jobs have dominated job growth. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, which translates to just $15,080 per year for a full-time worker. This minimum level is decades out of date, and the federal minimum wage for tipped workers of $2.13 per hour hasn’t increased in more than 20 years.”
· Enable 30 million low-wage workers to receive a raise; 17 million children would have a parent who would get a raise
· Spur $32 billion in new economic activity, translating into 140,000 new full-time jobs
· Adjust the minimum wage each year to keep pace with the rising cost of living starting in 2016