Archive for Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Wage support

August 20, 2003


To the editor:

In response to David Reynolds' Aug. 10 anti-living-wage op-ed: Reynolds said this debate shouldn't focus on workers "deserving" certain wages but on maximizing the potential of Lawrence's work force.

In other words, there are those deserving of a poverty level wage, but the direction of discussion should be maximizing productivity of Lawrence's working poor.

Equally as important as wages, is the living wage ordinance's clawback provision. This will protect Lawrence from companies not fulfilling agreements regarding investment and job creation. Without these companies providing what they committed, abatements granted are unwarranted and unfulfilled.

The main fault with his opinion is the suggestion of additional abatements for training employees. His logic says that this will provide mobility for workers resulting in higher wages. This would be beneficial for those who ascended, but the low-wage positions would still exist. So this argument is circular. This employee "self-improvement" idea doesn't require elevating wages, so how would wage increases be enforced?

Reynolds also chose to resort to the free-market argument by saying the living-wage ordinance would prevent market competition for workers. Well, do government tax breaks provide for fair market competition? No.

Finally, his description of the living wage movement as a political minority is grossly untrue. Three of the five commissioners were elected by the people of Lawrence, not a political minority, with the living wage on their platform.

It's pretty arrogant to assume our voters didn't know what they were voting for.

Tyler French,


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