Petition 80585

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Living Wage Model (80585-C1-R217)

Throughout scripture, God commands us to treat workers with respect, dignity, and fairness. Exploitation or underpayment of workers is incompatible with Christ’s commandment to love our neighbor – a love that extends to all persons in all places
– including the workplace.  The Old Testament and New Testament include explicit warnings to those who would withhold fair pay to workers. “Woe to him ... who makes neighbors work for nothing and does not give them their wages.” (Jeremiah 22:13) “Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts” (James 5:4).

A century ago, the Methodist Episcopal Church, in adopting the first social creed, responded to this call for worker justice by proclaiming support for “a living wage in every industry” (1908 Social Creed). Today, The United Methodist Church reaffirms its historic support for the living wage movement and calls upon businesses and governments to adopt policies to ensure employees are paid sufficient wages to afford shelter, food, clothing, healthcare and other basic expenses, according to local costs of living.   
In calling for a living wage in every industry, The United Methodist Church recognizes its own responsibility to model fair and faithful compensation.  To this end, The United Methodist Church  
WHEREAS, The United Methodist Church supports a living wage, as outlined in ¶ 67 of the 1996 Book of Discipline; and WHEREAS, "all church agencies shall respect their employees' rights to good working conditions, fair compensation and collective action" ("Rights of Workers," resolution adopted by the United Methodist General Conference 1988); and WHEREAS, church office workers, over 95 percent of whom are female, work in low-paying jobs, which "keep people and families in poverty and women and children are increasingly employed in (low paying) jobs, thus perpetuating a poverty class with sex (and race) characteristics" ("The Economic Community: Economic Justice," Book of Resolutions 1996, p. 440), Therefore, be it resolved, that The United Methodist Church adopts the living wage as a model for justice in the world and in the household of faith, specifically challenging holding all levels of the church accountable —local United Methodist congregations, annual conferences , and their agencies, the general church and its agencies , --to adjust compensation for all employees, including support staff, to effect the following:  

  • reflect the local cost of living;  
    • provide for adequate health coverage for employees and their dependents;  
      • provide mechanisms for training, promotion, and advancement for all United Methodist employees at all levels; and  
        • establish checks and balances to ensure that fair and consistently applied personnel policies pertain to all employees of The United Methodist Church and its agencies. See Social Principles, ¶ 163B and C.