No Work is Insignificant
According to a July 12, 2014 Huffington Post article, CEO salaries have risen 937% since 1978. If the minimum wage had kept pace with the rise in executive salaries since 1990, our poorest workers would be paid $23 an hour. Currently the minimum wages in Colorado is $8.31 an hour. After taxes, that comes to less than $300 a week.
Contrary to the popular belief that most minimum wage workers are teens in their first jobs, 86% of those impacted are over the age of 20 and 40% have college degrees.
As a Unitarian Universalist minister I believe we are called to challenge the status quo that rewards the rich while subjecting the poor to greater hardship.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” And those who labor should be paid a living wage that enables them to have a sense of well being in their lives.
This November, we will have an opportunity to vote on increasing the minimum wage in Colorado. Amendment 70 would raise the state minimum wage, incrementally, to $12 an hour by 2020 — $8.90 an hour for tipped workers. This would make a significant difference in the lives of the workers in our state.
This is a small step in the right direction. A yes vote will tell our workers we believe in them and we are grateful for the contribution they make to our lives. Each of us, regardless of our wage or employment status, is of inherent worth and dignity; each of us, whether we’re just starting out in the work force, are in the middle of our career, or are retired (or wishing we were) is crucial to our nation, our economy, our communities. As people of faith, we are called to work for a just, equitable society. When we do that, the fishes and loaves of bread are multiplied.
- Rev. Dr. Nori J. Rost
Rev. Dr. Nori J. Rost has been the settled minister of All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Colorado Springs since August 2008. Prior to that, she was a minister with Metropolitan Community Church for 20 years before making her UU turn. She has an MDiv from Iliff School of Theology in Denver, and a DMin from Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA.