Income inequality is at an all-time high. The CEOs of the 500 largest U.S. companies make an average salary of $10.5 million, while millions of low-wage workers in our country work full-time and still can’t afford life’s basic necessities. The minimum wage is not a living wage.
We proclaim, as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once did, that “all labor has dignity,” and we work toward a world of equity and justice. We stand in solidarity with people throughout the United States struggling to survive on minimum wage and we call upon all people of faith to join us.
Proclaim that Raising the Minimum Wage is A Moral Imperative
In 2013 the Unitarian Universalist Association President Rev. Peter Morales and Unitarian Universalist Service Committee President Rev. Bill Schulz issued a joint statement on raising the minimum wage.
- Take action: Add your name to join our advocacy for low-wage workers and their families.
- Advocate for Legislation to Raise the Federal Minimum Wage
U.S. Congress is currently considering legislation to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, index the minimum wage to inflation, and anchor the minimum wage for tipped employees to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage. This would lift six million people out of poverty, more than half of whom would be people of color, according to a report from Restaurant Opportunities Centers United. (Learn more)
- Take action: Call the Senate right now at (866) 204-2557 and ask them to raise the minimum wage.
- For more ways to take action, visit the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee’s Minimum Wage, Moral Outrage Action Page.
- Partnering on Local, State, and National Levels for Worker Justice
UUs are organizing through UU state action networks, Congregation-Based Community Organizations, Interfaith Worker Justice centers and affiliates and other community organizations to raise the minimum wage and fight for worker’s rights. More campaigns we are a part of include:
- Choose Compassionate Consumption: A campaign for worker’s rights from our partners at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.
- Fight for $15: Fast food workers are campaigning for a living wage of $15/hour and the interfaith community is supporting them.
- Justice in the Food Chain: The UU College of Social Justice offers service trips on worker’s rights and a sustainable food system through a partnership with the Food Chain Workers Alliance.
Worship, Learn, and Live Your Faith
- Labor Day worship resources from Interfaith Worker Justice
- UU Readings and Hymns for a living wage
- "Inherit the Spirit" (PDF, 6 pages), sermon by Rev. Aaron McEmrys
- "Why No Living Wage?" (PDF, 7 pages), 2000 UUA Skinner Sermon Award winner
- Resources for Living Wage Worship Services and Community Events (PDF, 71 pages) from Let Justice Roll
- “Raising the Minimum Wage—A Moral Imperative” webinar slides: the state of the movement and how to get involved
- UU discussion guide for Behind the Kitchen Door by Saru Jayaraman, about low wages and other injustices faced by restaurant workers (2013-2014 Common Read)
- “How Raising the Minimum Wage is a Racial Justice Issue” by Bryce Covert
- Wage Theft in America: Why Millions of Working Americans Are Not Getting Paid and What We Can Do About It, by Kim Bobo
- Establishing an Ethic for Worker Justice: An Assessment Tool for Congregations (PDF) from Interfaith Worker Justice
- Living Wage Toolkit (PDF) from Interfaith Worker Justice
- Living Wage Calculator from Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- UU Congregation of Atlanta Leads Efforts for Living Wages and Racial Justice
- UU congregations support Living Wage Days
- UUs Witness for Economic Justice During 2006 Election Season
- United First Parish Church (Unitarian), MA, hosts Senator Kennedy for living wage rally
Effective justice ministry depends on partnership. UU partners for living wage work, beyond the Unitarian Universalist Association, include UU state action networks, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, and the UU College of Social Justice. UUs also form interfaith partnerships, such as with Congregation-Based Community Organizations, Interfaith Worker Justice, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, and United for a Fair Economy.