Just Economics believes that wage and income disparity are a root cause of poverty and began working on living wages from our inception. For more on living wages, go to About Living Wage. We now have 3 aspects of our active Living Wage campaign work:
Just Economics grew out of the Asheville-Buncombe Living Wage Campaign that began in 2000, but took root in 2006. This effort was part of a movement that began in the 1990’s to be sure that our tax dollars were being used to pay living wages to every worker employed by our city or county. We began working with the City of Asheville and passed the first part of our living wage policy in 2007. Since then, we have made improvements to the Asheville policy to cover more workers including part-time and seasonal workers, and we have passed a policy in Buncombe County as well as, the towns of Weaverville, Montreat and Canton. We plan to continue to work with local cities, towns, and counties in the Western Region. The best place to get involved with this work is to join our Policy Advocacy Committee. This committee meets every other month during our Bi-Monthly General Meetings. For more on the policy advocacy committee, visit our Policy Advocacy page.
After passing the first part of our living wage policy with the City of Asheville in 2007 impacting City employees, Just Economics was strategizing ways to raise wages for employees in the private sector. In North Carolina, cities and counties do not have the same legal authority to create or enforce a higher minimum wage for private sector employees than the state or federal minimum wage like was done in Seattle, San Francisco, Santa Fe, and other cities across the country. We modeled a program after one developed by the Thompkins Workers’ Center in Ithaca, New York and began implementing our Living Wage Employer Certification Program in 2008. Since then our program has grown to be the largest in the nation and we worked with the Thompkins Workers’ Center and Interfaith Worker Justice to develop a toolkit for other communities to use. For more on our certification program, visit our Certification Program page.
Just Economics has worked with a broad statewide coalition that includes on its’ Core Team - Action NC, National Domestic Workers’ Alliance, the NC Justice Center, NC Raise Up, NC State AFL-CIO, and United for a Fair Economy. Just Economics is convening the regional effort to support this statewide campaign. For more on the statewide campaign go to: www.raisingwagesnc.org