Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Working For a Living (11/26/08)

People who work for a living deserve a fair shake. Communities often pay taxpayer dollars to support business in many ways: tax breaks, education of the workers, infrastructure, and contracts with government. It really is only fair for business to return some of this payment with living wages for workers. That's just good ethical business.

Communities benefit from living wages in many ways. They lower the cost of community services by allowing people to move out of poverty. Services of people impoverished by poverty wages include emergency medical care, food programs, housing programs, drug and alcohol programs, and much more. Living wages make communities better places to live. With living wages there is less poverty, less crime, less homeless and less addiction. There would also be more selfrespect if people knew they could support a family with one full time job. People would have more community pride, and better kept communities. When communities improve, more people want to live there and more businesses want to locate there. Living wage benefits spread positively across entire communities.

Living wages also benefit businesses. Businesses benefit from living wages with increased morale, increased productivity, and increased worker retention. Because workers stay where wages are good businesses save on recruitment and training costs.

Occasionally some businesses may face lower profits. Well run businesses can deal with these moral limits on profits. Effective business owners have coped without slavery, child labor, and other moral benefits given to workers. Competent business owners should be able to cope without below-poverty-level wages.

The cost to business of paying living wages has been found to be extremely low. Between payments by the community and the benefits of increased productivity and lowered costs, living wage costs should be easily absorbed when accounting practices make the trade-offs clear. Businesses can both do good and do well.

No comments: