March 13, 2015
Crowdfunding campaign aims to raise $20,000 by April 9
This week the Durham Living Wage Project launched an ambitious crowdfunding campaign to raise $20,000 in 30 days to build what has been an all-volunteer effort into a sustainable project to raise wages by certifying employers who pay their workers a livable wage in the Bull City. If fully funded by the April 9th deadline, the Project will use the money raised to hire a Director to help reach its goal of certifying 100 living wage employers in 2015.
More information about the project from the Project’s website:
The Durham Living Project is a project of the People’s Alliance Fund. In mid-2014, an all-volunteer group of community members – workers and employers – created a working group to get the program off the ground.
Our certification program is modeled after Just Economic’s Living Wage Certification Program out of Asheville, currently the largest living wage certification program in the country (right here in North Carolina!)
Why we need “living wages”
Income inequality and poverty are on the rise in North Carolina as 250,000 unemployed workers still looking for work can’t find jobs and jobs lost during the Great Recession continue to be replaced with low-wage or ultra-low-wage work and often part-time work.
Before President Franklin Roosevelt signed the first minimum wage into law, he described it as a “living wage”:
“By living wages, I mean more than a bare subsistence level — I mean the wages of a decent living.” (1933, Statement on National Industrial Recovery Act)
We all now know that the current North Carolina and federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour isn’t even a subsistence wage; in fact, no one can survive on it.
According to the Durham Living Wage Project, a worker employed in a full-time, year-round minimum-wage job can earn at most $15,000 / year – but it would take a family of two (one adult + one child) there at least $18.41 / hour to make ends meet.
In the absence of political will in Congress or the North Carolina General Assembly to raise the minimum wage, the people of Durham are organizing to certify employers who pay their workers enough money to live – and you can help.
Click to find answers to frequently asked questions, or for more information, contact the Project directly at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Advocacy vs. Empowerment
We need an “all of the above” strategy to raising wages in this state and country.
Encouraging employers to pay livable wages through living wage certification campaigns like the Durham Living Wage Project and Just Economics in Asheville – as well as lobbying Congress and our General Assembly to raise the minimum wage, despite the current lack of political will in those legislative bodies to do so – is an important part of what must be an ongoing effort.
Ultimately however, the best solution to lasting wage growth remains to empower more workers – by organizing unions and engaging in collective bargaining – to bargain for the best wages and benefits they can get.