The resolution that follows was submitted by Ann Eachus who served as chairperson for the PNW Conference Board of Church and Society last quadrennium.
The Pacific Northwest Conference voted to support the following resolution endorsing Washington State Initiative I-1433, which aims to raise the minimum wage to $13.50 by 2020, during its 2016 Annual Conference Sessions. Churches are also encouraged to study the societal problems created by income inequality.
Be it resolved that the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Methodist Church will endorse Washington State Initiative I-1433 which raises the minimum wage in steps to $13.50 by 2020 for 730,000 workers and requires 7 days of sick and safe leave per year for 1 million workers.
Be it also resolved that the PNW Annual Conference will publicize this endorsement to the larger community particularly the Raise Up Washington campaign at raiseupwa.com. Churches of the Conference are encouraged to study the problem of income inequality so that they will be informed voters when it appears on the ballot.
The 1908 Social Creed states that “the Methodist Episcopal church stands for: … a living wage in every industry.”
The Social Principles of the United Methodist Church 2013-2016 163 E) state “Since low wages are often a cause of poverty, employers should pay their employees a wage that does not require them to depend upon government subsidies such as food stamps or welfare for their livelihood.”
Between 1979 and 2014, those earning less that $29,000/year have seen their income (adjusted for inflation) drop by 12%, those earning $29,000 to $53,000 have incomes grow 3%. During the same period, those earning $230,000 or more have had income increases of 78%.
Improving productivity during this time period has not resulted in increases in wages. If it had, the current federal minimum wage would be $18/hour, not $7.25 (federal and Idaho) or $9.47 (Washington State) . In contrast corporate profits in the years 2010 – 2013 are at all time highs.
Initiative 1433 raises the Washington State minimum wage in steps to $13.50 by 2020 for 730,000 workers and requires 7 days of sick and safe leave per year for 1 million workers. It is a small step toward reducing income inequality.
submitted by Ann Eachus on behalf of the Board of Church and Society