A local effort to certify businesses that pay a “living wage” gets off the ground with an upcoming launch party. The grassroots Just Economics campaign is pushing for voluntary compliance by businesses willing to pay employees a living wage. That figure, according to the campaign, is
$10.86 an hour without benefits or $9.50 an hour with benefits $11.35 an hour without health insurance or $9.85 an hour with health insurance (updated for 2008).
The launch will take place Thursday, March 13, at Laurey’s Catering (67 Biltmore Ave.) from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Speakers will include Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy and Council member Brownie Newman, as well as representatives from Mountain BizWorks and the Just Economics campaign.
This brochure explains the requirements for becoming certified, including pay rates and benefits for employees. Participating businesses will receive stickers to show that they do pay a living wage and will be included in Just Economics advertising campaigns.
In May, Asheville City Council supported a measure to ensure all city employees are paid a living wage. Though largely symbolic, since the city was already paying wages above that level, the move was celebrated as a message of support by the Asheville Buncombe Living Wage Campaign, now part of Just Economics. Another measure to adjust city wages with a 2.2 percent annual increase failed in a 3-4 vote.
— Brian Postelle, staff writer