Letter: Paying a living wage benefits not just workers, but everyone

From: Ann Jones


I am a strong believer in the concept that if you are a full-time worker as an adult, you should make a wage that allows you to live — not just survive. A living wage will encourage employees to have goals toward thriving. That means regularly paying bills, taking care of necessities for self and family, and allowing for a few wants as well as saving a little money for the unexpected expenses. We cannot blame “poor choices” by those who are struggling with financial insecurity. We belong to an entire system where folks work hard and remain in poverty.

I first met Dave Miner through my church and Bread For The World, a world hunger organization to which I belong. This great man for many years has been an advocate for those in poverty. He is now on the committee for the Good Wages Initiative. His role now is to help employers understand the importance of paying employees a “good wage.” For example, Indiana Youth Group has committed to paying their employees $18 an hour plus health benefits.

For those who do not make enough money to go beyond subsistence, we need government help: SNAP, WIC, Child Care Development Fund (CCDF), etc. As taxpayers helping to fund these systems, it behooves us all to advocate for a livable wage – especially those people who disapprove of government handouts. Why hire more employees than you can pay a decent salary or a livable wage? You depend upon your employees – let them know that by paying a livable wage — at least $18 an hour with health benefits.

As an employer, if you commit to this for two years, you become certified by the Good Wages Initiative. Since April 2022, 52 companies representing 22,000 workers have signed on, thus reducing absenteeism, worker stress and turnover. Our community will greatly benefit. Will you be the next employer to take good wages seriously? I, personally, and our Columbus community will be thrilled!