Trumpka and Kiley: A Catholic Push for a Higher Wage

We would like to highlight the following, published April 23, 2014, in The Courier-Journal:

The Catholic and labor traditions are each clear: For America, raising the wages of the millions of hard-working people struggling to get by is a moral imperative. No one who puts in a full day’s work should go home not knowing how they will put food on the table for their children.

For well over a century, the Catholic Church has supported the right of workers to organize and earn wages that are sufficient to support families. In fact, Catholic doctrine calls unions “indispensable” because they help create the conditions for a fair economy. As attacks on unions increase and workers have less power at the bargaining table, many Americans have watched their wages decline and retirement security dwindle.

Today’s federal minimum wage, which has not kept pace with inflation, fails a basic moral test because it doesn’t pay enough to keep a full-time worker with children out of poverty. The four Catholic bishops of Massachusetts said the state’s current minimum wage of $8 per hour “is hardly enough to pay for basic necessities such as food and rent, let alone support a family.” Catholic Charities USA and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have told Congress that the current federal minimum wage is not enough and that “workers deserve a just wage that allows them to live in dignity.”

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Read the entire piece here, written by Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, and J. Cletus Kiley, director of Immigration Policy, UNITE HERE International Union and senior fellow, Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America.