The Chamber of Commerce‘s Board of Directors has voted to oppose a living wage in Charlottesville. They felt that it wouldn’t have an effect, that it may not be necessary, and that the government may not have a role in assigning the minimum wage. Only one board member, Greer Wilson, voted in favor of the living wage. Reed Williams has the full story in today’s Progress.
One thought on “Chamber Rejects Living Wage”
This is absolutely shameful of the Chamber of Commerce. This vote makes it clear that they don’t represent the interests of commerce, merely the interests of business owners. (For that matter, they don’t even do that. As an owner of a small business, I can assure you that they don’t speak for me in this matter.)
To question whether government has a role in assigning minimum wage is ridiculous. Sure, on a philosophical level, it is good to consider alternate methods of governing, wage systems, etc. But given that we’ve got this whole capitalist-driven semi-socialist democracy thing going on, it seems altogether reasonable that government establish minimum wage. (For that matter, it’s already being done, at the paltry level of $5.25, so there’s plenty of precedent.)
Then there’s the matter of effectiveness. I can’t be certain of what was meant by that, as it was just a reference in Reed Williams’ article, not a quote. But obviously it would be effective — businesses would be required by law to pay at that rate. But perhaps that’s not what was meant.
Not necessary? That’s ridiculous. We’ve got some really serious class disparity in this town. We’ve got Kluges and Bronfmans, and then we’ve got the folks that live south of West Main Street. Those that live southeast of the Mall. The people that make this town happen, by mopping the floors, driving the buses, cooking our food and cleaning our houses. (Well, some people’s houses. Not mine. :) Due to the physical distance between class-based neighborhoods in C’ville, a lot of people don’t see how many folks live, and suffer under the illusion that everybody lives in two-story whitewashed houses on Park Street.
Given the great level of affluence in this town, it seems plenty fair to raise minimum wage. Not to any ludicrous point, just to the level at which it has been determined that one must be paid in order to provide adequately for their family. Somebody who says quotable things once said that a society can be judged based on how they treat their poorest, most downtrodden citizens. (Or something like that.) I’d sure hate to think that we’re being judged on the basis of this recent Chamber vote.
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