Living Wage Campaign a success

Thank you, Asheville City Council, for passing the final phase of the Living Wage Campaign at the June 25 City Council meeting.

As safety nets for the working poor are continuing to be reduced by our state Legislature, it is critically important for our local leaders to continue to support workers. One of the best ways to support workers and build a more just and sustainable local economy is to promote living wages.

There is something fundamentally wrong with our economy when full-time workers struggle to put a roof over their heads and food on their tables without help. When workers are making a living wage, fewer people are reliant on eroding public assistance programs to meet their basic needs.

Living wages are good for business, too, reducing costs for recruitment and retention. Recent reports from Costco, a national employer paying living wages, shows [its] profits have continued to increase without raising prices in contrast to [its] competitor Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club, notorious for … low wages.

As a founding member of the Asheville-Buncombe Living Wage Campaign championed by local nonprofit Just Economics, I am thankful for Asheville City Council’s leadership over the past several years around local living-wage policy.

Additionally, Just Economics has more than 325 Western North Carolina employers who have committed to paying living wages through the voluntary Living Wage Employer Certification program. This local commitment to living wages gives me hope for a better local economic community.

— Isaac Coleman

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