The Peace & Justice Center works toward social justice and has focused on economic justice issues as a core factor in addressing social injustice. The Center’s Vermont Livable Wage Campaign successfully reframed the debate on how to address the income gap in Vermont from incremental increases to the minimum wage to a livable wage – enough for a person to meet his/her basic needs. Without a livable wage, many workers go without a basic need like health insurance or are forced to rely on government assistance – a cost that all taxpayers absorb, an indirect subsidy for employers who do not pay a livable wage.
The PJC led the campaign for a Livable Wage for all Vermonters from 1997 till 2010. The PJC helped fund and publish ten phases of the Vermont Job Gap Study and partnered with VBSR to create the Livable Jobs Toolkit during that time. These resources became valuable tools used by employers in figuring out how to provide livable wage jobs. Livable wages can be part of a sustainable business model and the PJC commends those businesses who have led the way towards balancing profits and costs in order to be fair to workers.
The City of Burlington has been a leader in adopting a livable wage ordinance. We support the current ordinance and any attempts to further strengthen its provisions. PJC also recognizes that consistent and fair application of the ordinance is critical when the City partners with any business at the airport or in other service-based contracts.
The Peace & Justice Center supports local businesses and believes that reinvesting revenue in Vermont businesses makes our economy stronger. Partnering with local entrepreneurs who source their goods and services here should be a priority for Burlington.
We call on the City of Burlington to collaborate with local businesses to implement the livable wage ordinance while ensuring business success.