Living Wages

Living Wages

Living wage policies have been established in cities, counties, school districts, states and other public agencies throughout the country to lift workers out of poverty.  Most living wage laws set minimum wage and benefit standards for public contracts, subsidies and leaseholders on public land. Several are based upon a geographic zone. Today there are over 150 such laws in place.

Commentary

Living Wage has brought good competition to Los Angeles International Airport

L.A.'s Living Wage Ordinance Isn't a Job Killer

September 21, 2011
minimum wage photo

Crying Wolf Over Higher Wages in a Time of Need

December 09, 2010

Cry Wolf Quotes

By forcing employers to pay higher wages for entry-level jobs, Boston's City Council is also encouraging them to only hire applicants with the skill levels needed to match those wages. No amount of political grandstanding is going to repeal that economic law.

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Richard Berman, letter to the Washington Times.
08/16/1997 | Full Details | Law(s): Living Wage

Living wage proposals are economically unfair because they change the basis on which our economy operates. Instead of allowing the market forces to determine pay, living wages put the interests of employees above all other consideration…and they base wages on what the worker wants instead of on the value of work performed.

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce, amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court of Louisiana against the New Orleans living wage ordinance.
11/21/2004 | Full Details | Law(s): Living Wage

…imposing this mandated wage is a dagger in the heart of job creation….If its approved, Detroit can kiss any hope of renaissance goodbye.

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Editorial, Detroit News.
10/31/1998 | Full Details | Law(s): Living Wage

The ordinance would cost the city [Chicago] nearly $20 million per year. The city would spend more than 20% of this amount ($4.2 million) on the administrative costs of certification, monitoring, and enforcement of the ordinance. This $20 million cost would require a permanent tax increase on citizens of Chicago.

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George Tolley, Peter Bernstein, and Michael Lesage.
07/01/1999 | Full Details | Law(s): Living Wage

Related Laws and Rules

Evidence

Backgrounders & Briefs

Living Wage Policy Brief: Stephanie Luce

Living wage ordinances have helped thousands of workers and tiresome cry wolf claims are wrong.

Resources

Political Economy Research Institute is a think tank focused on a variety of subjects such as diverse financial regulation, living wages and environmental protection.

University of California-Berkeley Labor Center carries out research on labor and workplace-related issues.

The National Employment Law Project is an organization that promotes economically just public policy in the face of the prevailing trends of the law several decades.