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

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

The quickest way to kill jobs is to have this ordinance pass. It is dumb and dangerous.

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Norm Coleman, Mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota. St. Paul Pioneer Press.
10/06/1995 | Full Details | Law(s): Living Wage

I believe employers should be aware that employees who earn under $10 an hour cannot lead an independent life. But I do not believe that government should dictate wages. We have seen this fail in Socialist and Communist countries. It will do irreparable harm.

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Los Angeles Mayor Richard J. Riordan, New York Times.
11/19/1999 | Full Details | Law(s): Living Wage

Unfortunately, living wage laws may have an unintended consequence of causing low-wage workers to be replaced by higher skilled, more educated workers. Living wage ordinances hit hardest at new entrants to the labor force.

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Petition Opposing Living Wage Ordinance, Palm Beach County, Florida. Signed by groups including Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce; Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches; Northern Palm Beaches Chamber of Commerce; Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce; Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County, Inc.; Palm Beach County Hotel & Lodging Association; Florida Retail Federation; Florida Chamber of Commerce; Boynton Beach Chamber of Commerce; Jupiter Tequesta Juno Beach Chamber of Commerce; Sugar Cane Growers Co-Op; Palms West Chamber of Commerce.
10/02/2002 | 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.