Living Wage spreads from coast to coast: Think global; act local

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Mon Dec 7 12:50:19 PST 1998

Local living wage laws are a current form of working class fightback against neo-liberal triumphalism in the U.S. There is mass enthusiasm for these ordinances which makes it difficult for local bourgeois politicians to resist such that they are spreading like wild fire across the country, If this enthusiasm might be extended to the Labor Party's growing economic bill of rights program, including a 28 Amendment to the U.S Constitution for a right to a decent job at a decent wage, we may have a horce race toward some radical change in the U.S.

Living Wage ordinances check some of the problems of privatization of local government services. If the private employers are required to pay living wage and unionize, the advantages of public jobs are matched. The insentive to privatize is lost.

Perhaps the working class can start its counterattack against transnational capital at the local or opposite pole from the new glorified "globalized" bourgeoisie. As reds have always said: Think global. Act local.

The Michigan Citizen of Dec. 6th-12th reports: San Jose (California) Mayor Susan Hammer and local labor leaders scored a historic victory last week as the city council adopted the highest new minimum wage rates in the country for employees of city contractors andan apparently unprecedented requirement to help unions organize those companies' employees.

Before a joyou, overflow crowd of union, church and community activists, the council voted 7-3 to require various city contractors to pay a "living wage" of at least $9.50 an hour if the company provides health benefits or $10.75 an hour if benefits aren't provided.

Detroit voters approved a Living Wage ballot proposal in the November elections setting the minimum at $7.70 with benefits, $9.63 without.

Los Angeles , Chicago and other cities in the United States have had living wage ordinances for many months.

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