International Living Wage Week is Nov. 15-21

Press release from Just Economics of WNC:

The week of November 15th – 21st is International Living Wage Week. Living Wage Week is celebrated around the world and this year The WNC Raising Wages Coalition is excited to partner with Just Economics, the National Living Wage Network, Living Wage for US to bring Living Wage Week to the United States.

Just Economics operates the largest voluntary living wage certification program in the United States, with over 400 Living Wage Certified businesses across WNC. At the end of each year, Just Economics calculates the Living Wage rates for Buncombe County and for the rural parts of WNC. Just Economics also works to educate the community about the costs of living in WNC and the importance of living wages in our region and beyond.

“Just Economics defines a living wage as the minimum amount that an individual working full time must earn to afford their basic necessities, without public or private assistance,” says Vicki Meath, Executive Director of Just Economics.  “A living wage is a more just minimum wage, and truly just a starting place for employers to put in place a more reasonable wage floor than the minimum wage, which has been stagnant for over 12 years.”

There are Living Wage programs advocating for higher wages in communities around the country. Living Wage week is an opportunity to celebrate this work and the living wage businesses who are prioritizing wages and investing in people to build stronger local economies and a higher standard of living for their employees.

During Living Wage Week, Living Wage for US is launching a new national living wage certification to work in tandem with local programs around the country to continue to raise the wage floor. Over the course of the week, there will be an emphasis on highlighting and supporting local Living Wage Certified businesses and a series of events to continue the dialogue about why living wages are an important part of a thriving economy. A list of ways for community members to get involved and take action can be found on Just Economics website.

As part of Living Wage week, Just Economics will be featured alongside representatives from other living wage programs around the country in a national online event to launch Living Wage Week in the US and talk about Living Wage Places. The free online event will take place on November 15th at 5pm EST and registration is open to the public at this link:

Living Wages are critically important now more than ever. Recently released Census Bureau data shows that more than 37 million people in America lived at or below the federal poverty line in 2020. The Federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25/ hour for 12 years since 2009. People working minimum wage jobs full-time cannot afford a two-bedroom apartment in any state in the country according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s 2021 Out of Reach report.

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