People all around the country rallied last week for better pay for low-wage workers. Outside our local McDonald’s, fast food workers, crossing guards, home health aides and adjunct professors told what it’s like to live on poverty wages. Day after day, they’re faced with hard choices – choosing whether to pay the rent, pay the electric bill, or put food on the table.
They aren’t teenagers. They’re people with families trying to get by. They’ve worked in their jobs for 12, 15, even 20 years, and they’re still being paid minimum wage. They require public assistance to make ends meet. Meanwhile, the corporations that employ them rake in record profits.
What kind of people are we when we stand silently by as people struggle on poverty wages? What kind of people are we when we try to justify it in our own minds and pretend it’s the natural order of things? What kind of people are we to let soulless corporations get away with it?
It’s time to bring an end to corporate greed. It’s time for us to demand that corporations stop exploiting their workers and start paying them what they deserve. Forget “minimum” wage. Every worker deserves a living wage – enough to cover basic necessities, food, clothing, housing, child care, transportation. It’s time for corporations to start paying their employees enough to live.
In “Economic Justice for All”, the US Catholic bishops wrote, “…the deprivation and powerlessness of the poor wounds the whole community. The extent of their suffering is a measure of how far we are from being a true community of persons.”
How far we are, indeed, from being a true community.
When the Stranger says: “What is the meaning of this city?
Do you huddle close together because you love each other?”
What will you answer? “We all dwell together
To make money from each other”? or “This is a community”?
Choruses from ‘The Rock’