October 23, 2015
Op-ed by the North Carolina Council of Churches takes Cherie Berry to task
Following the recent News & Observer investigation which found the North Carolina Department of Labor and its commissioner, Cherie Berry, “the reluctant regulator”, let deadbeat employers get away with stealing $1 million from their workers in 2014 alone, the executive director at the North Carolina Council of Churches, Jennifer Copeland, responded with a powerful op-ed calling on Berry “to enforce the laws of North Carolina” because “That’s her job.”
Workers deserve basic protections and the opportunity to earn a fair living, yet the N.C. Department of Labor is failing to enforce the laws providing these basic protections.
Jesus would know what every Christian and Jewish person today also knows: God has specific imperatives about paying people when they work (Deut 24:14-15). The directive to pay people on time – especially the poor, whose lives more readily depend on regular income than do their employer’s – is lodged in a long list of social safety nets decreed by God.
The labor laws of North Carolina do not demand the kind of justice Jesus advocates – that employers provide fair wages that enable fair living. But our laws do offer basic economic protection, including the requirement that workers should be paid for the hours they work.