Labor Day is about honoring workers of all types and reminding ourselves of the contributions they’ve made to American society. It is also an opportunity to actively support workers.
North Carolina continues to use the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, or an annual income of $15,080 for a full-time worker — $1,000 below the federal poverty level. This doesn’t seem right — but what can we do about it?
Over 400 local businesses do their part, choosing to pay a living wage of $13 an hour as certified by Just Economics of WNC. However, most employees in Western North Carolina and statewide lack that support. One in 3 workers in North Carolina earns wages below the federal poverty line, second worst nationwide.
That’s why Just Economics is part of a statewide campaign to raise the North Carolina minimum wage to $15 in five years. This would be a win-win-win for workers, businesses and local economies. Twenty-nine other states and several cities have already implemented similar policies, resulting in lower employee turnover, higher consumer spending and a level playing field for small businesses.
This Labor Day, show your support for North Carolina workers by advocating for a statewide minimum wage of $15 in five.
— Andrew Crosson
Board member, Just Economics of WNC