UCC leader stands with workers fighting for $15 minimum wage
Thousands of workers took to the streets around the country Tuesday, Nov. 10, in a campaign for a living wage. In one of 270 demonstrations nationwide, the director of the United Church of Christ Washington, D.C., office, following the call of the Gospel, stepped before a microphone to issue a call for a higher minimum wages.
“I am here because the message of scripture is not one of bottom lines and special interests but one of abundance –– a world in which there is enough for all. That vision doesn’t stop at the work place door.”
Sandy Sorenson, in a move “to be faithful to God’s vision of fullness of life for all God’s children,” joined federal contract workers in a rally to raise the minimum wage to $15 dollars.
“A job should lift people out of poverty, not keep people in poverty,” Sorenson said. “We don’t need more poverty jobs –– we need life-sustaining jobs. A minimum wage of $15 an hour is only a step, but it is an important step in the right direction. A fair and just wage is good for business, good for the economy and good for workers. In the end, economic inequality pulls all of us down and we are ultimately in it together.
Around the country local protests, organized by Service Employees International Union, included fast-food, home-care and child-care workers. Sorenson noted the UCC’s long history of standing with these workers, in a press for economic justice.
“Something is wrong when people work long hours and still have to fight to survive,” Sorenson said. “Something is wrong when people who work hard at full-time jobs still have to sleep in shelters or choose between paying the rent and taking their children to the doctor. Something is wrong when our political process –– of the people, by the people and for the people –– is being bought and sold to the highest bidder. We can do better!”
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo apparently agreed. His office announced Tuesday that the minimum wage for about 10,000 state employees will be increased to $15 an hour over the next six years. Speaking at one of the rallies in Lower Manhattan, the governor said his decision is part of a larger fight against poverty. Cuomo said, “It’s about basic fairness and basic justice.”
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