Monday, December 2, 2013

Join the Movement

When was it decided that those who we deem "under educated" do not deserve jobs that pay livable salaries?  In the midst of protests to increase wages to $15 from corporations such as McDonalds and Walmart there has been a backlash against the cause.  Many people are finding it extravagant to pay a human being a livable wage for a "burger flipping job." Many are arguing that these are entry level jobs and are occupied by the "under educated."  The argument goes, since these are entry level positions and these people do not have the education deemed necessary by some arbitrary standard to obtain certain wages, than these employees and their families do not have the right to be paid a wage above the poverty line.
Granted cooking fast food does not require a great deal of education or training, but it is still work.  Workers at McDonalds and Walmart show up every day and do all the work required of them on their feet for 8 plus hours a day.  Just because people do not graduate college, or maybe even high school does not mean they do not deserved to be paid a livable wage.  Livable wages should not be based on education, but on being a human being.
People who work McDonalds and Walmart work just as hard and I am sure sometimes even harder than many of their executives sitting in comfortable offices.  McDonalds and Walmart are not some startup companies that cannot afford to pay their employees better; instead they are greedy enterprises with gross amounts of profit and bonuses for top executives who refuse to acknowledge that it is human beings with families who work their stores.
It is true a good education can land you a better job, but lack of a "sufficient education" should not prevent you from a livable salary for the rest of your life. 
Our arguments against better wages do not work.  When God asks why we did not pay our neighbors, friends, and employees a livable wage for them and their families, God will not accept our distorted views of economics that declare they did deserve such compensation due to lack of education.  Education is not the deciding principle to livable wages, but being made in the image of God. 
God calls us to make sure all people are provided for.  We are called to care for the poor, homeless, and unemployed.  Yet, we cannot even learn how to care for the least of these, if we refuse to pay respectable and livable salaries.  Let us learn to stand with these workers.  Let us not be afraid to demand livable wages, let us not be afraid to take the power away from the corporation and give it to the people.  Let us see people not as products of services, but as people who bear the image of God.


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