Globe and Mail Off Base on Living Wages

DSC05548Playa de Manzilla Certainly ACORN Canada didn’t expect a resounding endorsement from the conservative national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, from its editorial about the ACORN living wage campaigns that are front and center in the major city and national capital of Ottawa and in New Westminster, the important working suburb of Vancouver, and it’s a good thing, because the editorial was a classic example of tut-tut manipulative paternalism at best.

The Globe and Mail got some things right.  The editorialist scolds understand that they cannot write off something that has had an impact in 140 municipal and other jurisdictions in the United States and has now leaped across the border, as they note.  Now that they see the movement gaining traction in increasing Canadian cities they realize that there is wind in the sails that they need to deflate immediately or see huge progress quickly before they can mobilize posh opposition.  But before I get the facts too far out front, let me include a segment of their “argument” below from the 12.28.09 edition of the paper:

“…proposals are due before city council committees in Ottawa and New Westminster, B.C., in the near future. Thanks to aggressive promotion by social justice groups, Canadians should expect to hear more about living wages in the new year.”

Props to ACORN Canada, though the Globe and Mail doesn’t see fit to fully attribute of course.

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Living Wages from Boston to Canada

Ottawa City Hall

Boston Talking to organizers the last night about security workers being subcontracted, one casually mentioned what could and could not be done because of the Boston Living Wage ordinance.  At Boston University with Professor Lee Staples as we made the case and claims for the power of community organizing it was natural to once again reference the impact of the more than great living wage ordinance ACORN and labor allies had won in Boston what seems like yesterday, but probably more than 10 years ago now.

In living wage fights in the US the issue is often framed around what the impact on jobs and employers will be.  In talking about citizen wealth in these fights we often had to defend against whether or not living wages were an appropriate anti-poverty method, rather than being able to assume that everyone shared a value that work should be paid fairly to the laborer.

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