image: Space Needle, Seattle, WA by Shannon Lucas via Wikimedia Commons
Other than watching Tory Tim “Tea Party” Hudak make an innumerate fool of himself the current provincial election has a distinctly phoned-in feel: with voters as guilty as the “playas” looking for votes. Oh well, apathy always ends well, doesn’t it? And the minimum wage hit $11 per hour yesterday!
OCAP infographic: Still A Poverty Wage
Group urges campaigns to reflect on poverty
image: Le Telephone. Bibliotheque Nationale de France via Wikimedia Commons
Paying poverty wages supports systemic injustice and lets big players externalise their costs. Small businesses that look to compete with big players by offering quality are often hampered when it comes to the cost dynamics a big chain enjoys. Removing some of that advantage through better wages would level things out for smaller, local players. This proposition adds serious weight to other purely economic arguments for better wages on top of the emotional arguments for seeing others in our communities do better through living wages. See the links within this item from Salon.com for more.
Look, even Goldman Sachs can’t find a problem with upping the minimum:
image: Henry’s in Cicero, Illinois by LongLiveRock via Wikimedia Commons
See also: (464) Fast food striker
2014 minimum wage rates by state
National Conference of State Legislatures
For the United States: the Living Wage Calculator has been whirring away online generating data for every county in the United States since 2004. Cost of living information is fed into the calculator to generate a realistic wage that will keep workers and their family members out of poverty. Quick and easy to use.
Living Wage Calculator – Poverty in America/MIT
For Canada: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives provides a calculation method for living wages in Canada as a technical appendix to an update of a major report on living wages in Metro Vancouver. Using this method involves downloading a .pdf file and a spreadsheet file and then inputting data for the community you are interested in. Not as quick and easy to use but good to have.
Working for a Living Wage: 2013 26-page .pdf file from CCPA
Less keen on the homework involved in using the CCPA method we chose two Chicagoland counties from the MIT/Poverty in America calculator we thought would compare roughly with the Greater Toronto Area. The hourly wage range indicated by the calculator as needed to keep workers and children out of poverty is from just over ten dollars for a single worker to over thirty dollars for a single worker with three children. Workers with combinations of partners and children required hourly wage rates around the twenty dollar mark to maintain themselves above poverty levels.
The point of both tools is to demonstrate in a real world way that minimum wages are too low to keep working people out of poverty.
image: Wikimedia Commons
Washington’s Democratic governor Jay Inslee said this the other day: “An increase in minimum wage means more money being spent in our economy.” We wish these words had come from Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne while she got busy topping up our minimum wage to fourteen dollars an hour. Alas, we got seventy-five cents on top of our $10.25 per hour rate.
image: Washington state flag via Wikimedia Commons
We give doctors and nurses a kind of power. We are encouraged to respect them and listen when they tell us what is good or bad for us. The individual told to quit smoking or start exercising by their physician and who then doesn’t bother is seen as unwise. So when health providers suggest we do something on behalf of our quality of life at a societal level we ought to give that advice the most serious level of attention we can. The impact of low income on human health was the subject of a Health Providers Against Poverty press conference at Queen’s Park yesterday. How can anyone in good conscience argue back on this file? There is a clear and long established link between poverty and ill health.
Raise Ontario’s Minimum Wage To $14
HPAP press release
Something of a classic activist/establishment moment occurred in regard to the minimum wage in Ontario the other day. A commission is reviewing the matter, after something of a delay, and an election is on the horizon. The Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage went after the commission chair to try living on the resources of a $10.25 per hour wage for a month. No doubt they knew the chair would be unwilling and unable to do that kind of homework. As a privileged Ontarian with four children and a professional life enmeshed with the private and public sector Anil Verma is hardly going to start eating Captain Crunch for dinner just to show how much he cares about the 540,000 workers in the province getting by on a minimum wage not increased in three years (it has actually shrunk in real terms by 6.5%!). Mr. Verma knew the challenge was part of the game and that he could blow it off with little consequence, pain in the butt that it would be. For Mr. Verma this will be a rationalized undertaking, a lot like a corporate undertaking with lots of documentation, meetings, emails and so on. Already the language associated with the reform commission seems a little weasel-like, hinting at a disinterest in bringing working people above poverty because to do so might contradict the perceived wisdom of the neoconservative project.
Panel chair says no to minimum wage challenge
image: Canadian dollar bill, 1898 via Wikimedia Commons