Thank you, City Council, for expanding living wage

I commend the Asheville City Council members who voted to phase in an extension of the living-wage ordinance to include contract workers.

In a society dominated by big business, work conditions and wages are declining almost as quickly as the income gap is growing. Major systemic changes will have to occur before anything close to economic justice can be achieved on a national scale, but the Council's decision to pay a living wage will improve the lives of workers living in Asheville.

The current minimum wage is about $4 less per hour than what one individual working full time needs to live in Buncombe County, and that only covers basic necessities. This wage gap isn't sustainable, forcing hardworking people to seek public or private assistance.

The living wage ordinance is especially relevant to contract workers because these workers' wages are often driven down as they compete for the lowest bid on a project. Every hard working individual deserves to make enough to live, and I am proud of the city of Asheville for showing our workers this respect.

— Darby Frye
Asheville

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33 thoughts on “Thank you, City Council, for expanding living wage

  1. These so-called “living wages” for contractors will be subsidized by poor people paying taxes in Asheville. Way to go, Asheville.

    Wages should be based on the value the employee brings to the employer, not on the employees need to buy stuff.
    …………………………..

  2. Cosmic Ballroom

    Anyone over 25 years of age still working for minimum wage hasn’t exercised the dicipline of self improvement. Higher wages require the sacrifice of effort. Get off your ass and improve your situation, no one else is going to do it for you.

  3. TallPaul

    Why don’t we just come right out and tell kids to give up on school. For what reason should they even attempt to excel, when some people want to make it so that you can live off what *any* job pays?

  4. TallPaul

    It’s a bit surprising that in this economic climate, City Council would take such a step to increase costs to taxpayers.

  5. TallPaul must be one of the “hundreds of millions” of Randians just waiting in the wings.

    Seriously? You are going to side with the uber-rich when there are so many poor?

  6. bill smith

    [i]Why don’t we just come right out and tell kids to give up on school. For what reason should they even attempt to excel, when some people want to make it so that you can live off what *any* job pays? [/i]

    Exactly. Paying people enough to afford rent and food only encourages them. Having to choose between the two builds character, and ensures an eager workforce!

  7. TallPaul

    Telling people that they deserve a “living wage” just because they are breathing is not “helping” them.

    Forcing taxpayers to pay more because you’re trying to “help” people isn’t helping them either.

  8. travelah

    I think mat and Mr. Bill should each take a can of peas with them to the next show to help all the starving kids in Africa with flies all over the faces. That way they can feel good about demanding that all the “rich” people pay more than they are already paying which is just about everything paid now.
    However, as to the actual topic, mandating some mythical “living wage” floor that is to be paid to people does one of two things. It increases the cost of government and/or it increases unemployment. Just as important, it doesn’t improve anybody’s standard of living.

    Why don’t the knuckleheads just fix the potholes and leave the social engineering stuff alone? Local government is incompetent enough already.

  9. TallPaul

    Funny how some people just cannot disagree without taking things to ridiculous extremes. Rather like Obama claiming that Ryan’s budget means that everyone will starve, grandma won’t get medical care, and no worthy student will be able to go to college.

    Get over the hyperbole, guys. It doesn’t make your point, nor does it move anyone closer to a solution.

  10. trav, Berkeley, California has, as I am sure you well know, a living wage ordinance that extends out to every business that choose to operate inside the city limits.

    And guess what? Their unemployment rate is at or below the national average. Their median income is above the average.

    I’m fuzzy on how that increases the cost of government, though. Then again, you’re fuzzy on it too and just tossing that out there because you really don’t have anything else to add to the conversation.

    Which might be why TallPaul is accusing you of hyperbole. At least, I think he is.

  11. travelah

    well, mat, does the city council’s decision extend out to every business that choose to operate inside the city limits?

    If government pays above prevailing wage for positions, it increases cost of government. … Pretty basic stuff.

  12. I’m sure they can offset whatever increased costs there are by remembering why they outsourced city functions to contractors anyway. None of those pesky benefits to pay out, after all.

    But, as usual, I guess you’re right. If the Business Community wants pretty and clean streets for the tourists, then they should get out there and sweep them up themselves. Then they can hire their own contractors and pay whatever wage the market will allow.

    Maybe they could even hire illegals to do it. I hear they work really, really cheap and, as illegals, it isn’t like they can complain to a labor board.

    Now, *that* would be some free market economics right there! Tell those pesky “conservatives” to stop harassing businesses who hire illegals. After all, it’s a hallmark of the Free Market to be able to exploit, er, hire whomever you want for whatever wage you want.

    Isn’t it?

    Face it, trav, the days where people continue to believe the Free Market fairy tale are numbered.

  13. travelah

    I think Asheville city council should mandate a $30/hr living wage just for kicks and 5 free growlers a week and ban all cars from downtown. Eventually, city council would go away completely.

  14. travelah

    I already did but by the blessings of God I’m able to afford to live in both WNC and Charleston. The real problem the hangers on have to deal with is the battle of interests between rich liberals who use Asheville as their quaint village with resident serfs and the rag tag liberal idealists who serve the rich liberals as serfs. The rag tag army rails against the wrong enemy out of their abhorrent ignorance and the result is a “living wage” that is neither “livable” nor sensible. However, the rich liberals who can enjoy the quaint village can point to it and say, “See, we took care of you. What are you complaining about now?”.

    Besides all that, didn’t you also leave?

  15. TallPaul

    “I’m sure they can offset whatever increased costs there are by remembering why they outsourced city functions to contractors anyway. None of those pesky benefits to pay out, after all.”

    Remembering doesn’t pay the bill.

    Typical liberal answer. I’m sure it feels good, but does nothing to address the issue in any substantial way. I’d suspect the writer pays no property taxes in Asheville, and figures they don’t affect him.

  16. Meh. I felt WNC was becoming a little too conservative. So, we moved to SC.

    Which, in hindsight, probably wasn’t the best idea.

  17. bill smith

    Travelah, why are you under the impression you and I disagree? I also believe the living wage is nonsense liberal ‘throw-a-bone’ policy that will only encourage the unwashed masses to continue their miserable existence. Don’t lump me in with the Socialists like mat.

  18. Let’s say for a moment I did live in Asheville and pay property taxes. I’d much rather know that my taxes were paying for public employees who were being paid a fair and good wage for their work than to know my money was being handed to a contractor who was then scraping off big hunks of that money before paying the workers the bare minimums, often with no worker protections or benefits.

  19. travelah

    When you busted the front suspension of your electric put put on holes the city isn’t fixing after paying your doubly high tax bill, you might sing a different song.

  20. TallPaul

    Isn’t it just to easy to take a stand regarding how others should spend their money?

  21. I might question where my money was going but not that I was paying it.

    Electric car? What kind of hippie hipster do you take me for? I ain’t got that kind of money and I’m certainly not interested in a car that does more long term environmental damage than it purports to avoid.

  22. TallPaul

    It’s really touching when people care enough to show it with other people’s money.

  23. bill smith

    @Moderators, Isn’t basically travelah’s entire part in this ‘conversation’ one big ‘ad hominem’ attack against all sorts of vague and specific demons?

  24. Margaret Williams

    @Bill Smith: “vague and specific demons”? Do you mean the “can of peas” comment by @Travelah? Or your reference to @Mat “Don’t lump me in with the Socialists”? Or @Mat lumping TallPaul in with the Randians? The ad hominems seem to be spread around, but they’re rather mild, more like hominy (not to be confused with harmony).

  25. Margaret Williams

    Of course, we’re hoping this all represents fun dialogue and not the toasty signs of a budding flame war between all you’s guys.

  26. travelah

    Don’t worry, flames can’t hurt Bill. He is still pretty wet behind the ears. As for Matt, he really is a closet conservative. I’m pretty sure I saw him at the Tea Party rally in Charleston and he looked real happy.

  27. travelah

    Well, I did the standard disclaimer by using “pretty sure”. That is an out under any circumstance.

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