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Asheville, NC: "Thank you, City Council, for expanding living wage"
Mountain Xpress
Dar Frye

April 12, 2011
View the Original Article

I commend the Asheville City Council members who voted to phase in an extension of the living-wage ordinance to include contract workers.

In a society dominated by big business, work conditions and wages are declining almost as quickly as the income gap is growing. Major systemic changes will have to occur before anything close to economic justice can be achieved on a national scale, but the Council's decision to pay a living wage will improve the lives of workers living in Asheville.

The current minimum wage is about $4 less per hour than what one individual working full time needs to live in Buncombe County, and that only covers basic necessities. This wage gap isn't sustainable, forcing hardworking people to seek public or private assistance.

The living wage ordinance is especially relevant to contract workers because these workers' wages are often driven down as they compete for the lowest bid on a project. Every hard working individual deserves to make enough to live, and I am proud of the city of Asheville for showing our workers this respect.