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

The living wage movement has become the latest effort to impose socialism on the United States, one city at a time.

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Tucker, William, The Weekly Standard.
11/03/2003 | Full Details | Law(s): Living Wage

…the stated goal behind the living wage movement is poverty reduction, and many of the ordinances mandate a wage that would lift a family of four above the poverty level. However, as with minimum wage increases, economic studies have shown that living wage mandates do more harm than good to those living in poverty through resulting job elimination and shifting entry-level jobs from lower-skilled workers to higher-skilled workers.

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
02/20/2004 | 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

This is bad news for cities. The living wage poses a big threat to their economic health, because the costs and restrictions it imposes on the private sector will destroy jobs —especially low-wage jobs — and send businesses fleeing to other locales.

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Malanga, Steven. New York Sun.
01/20/2003 | 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.