Attitudes toward living wages final with updated with audio

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Attitudes Towards Living Wages

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  • Living wages is defined by Secombe (2007) as the minimum income needed that enables a family to afford the necessities and basic needs (i.e., food, clothing and shelter) to live.There are many different views that are affected by how people see living wages. The attitudes toward living wages vary amongst individual, and are influenced by how living wage issues affect a family’s social economic status. The lower class families continue to struggle and can’t seem to find a way out of the viscous cycle of poverty. The working poor are often given a negative connotation because the middle class feels that they have to pick up their slack. This middle class perception is derived from the fact that most of their taxes are being put towards welfare and meeting the needs of the poor or low income class. There are many wealthy individuals who feel that it is not their responsibility to concern themselves with the challenges faced by the working poor. Nevertheless, all income classes are affected by differences in living wages (Karjanen, 2010; Pollin, 2007; Sabia, 2008). All family structures have different attitudes toward living wage issues as all income classes are impacted in various ways.
  • The are two main perspectives toward decreasing living wage issues, the opponents and proponents. Taking a look at both perspectives Seccombe noted that many opponents of living wages feel that allowing a worker more money will eliminate the number of jobs an employer can offer. A hostile work environment may exist because companies are being forced to pay workers more than they may want to. Also, not all workers would receive living wages if they are not under a governmental contracted job. There is also the earned income tax credit which is a government tax break given to low income workers and their families. Opponents feel that the EIC is a better solution to help living issues because it is given directly to low income workers based on their income. On the other hand, proponents of living wage feel that a higher pay will boost work morale leading to less absentee and employer turnovers. Looking at cities such as NY, Baltimore and Los Angeles researchers have found that higher wages increases work productivities and less need for government assistance such as Medicaid, child care subsidies, or food stamps.
  • The many different opponent and proponent ideas sparked a motivation throughout many cities in the US to advocate for change.The 1990’s brought a rise of living wage campaigns and activists in the United States. More than 140 cities, counties, and universities in the US have living wage ordinances. Baltimore Maryland was one of a few cities that pushed and passed a living wage ordinance that required firms holding contracts to pay living wages. 17 years after Baltimore pushed for and passed it first living wage ordinances cities, counties and universities across the United states have followed suit and implemented living wage laws. In Chicago, activists had a “Big Box” ordinance passed that required large retailers to pay living wages, also Chicago introduced the “Community Benefits Agreements” that apply living wages to large economic projects. Statewide living wage movements were also introduced through legislation by putting the issue on the ballot. Los Angeles living wage ordinances were applied to hotels near the airport, while San Francisco applied higher minimum wage laws which had the same effect as applying a living wage. Researchers have conducted surveys as well as interviews of workers and employers to see the impact of living wages on both the employee and employer. A few studies have also been conducted to evaluate the employee and employer impact of living wage. Studies confirm that there continues to be challenges to order mandated living wages across the US
  • Clain (2008) examined the living wage legislation and how it affects U.S. poverty rates. Research has suggested that poverty rates are dependent on the living wage legislator and the family structures that are most affected are Hispanic and African American families. Clain (2008), investigated the need for the government to pay workers above minimum wage and how wage increases can help decrease poverty. Clain’s investigation suggested that the U.S. would see an increase in living wages if all U.S. counties would adhere to the state and local wage polices ; with the cooperation of all US counties adhering to the living wage ordinances increasing living wages can help decrease the poverty rates (Clain, 2008). Research collected by Clain (2008) indicated that minimum wages are not being increased due to labor force laws not being enforced. In conclusion, the living wage legislator is not the answer to alleviate poverty, it can only provide assistance in working on ways to put polices and ordinances into place. In a recent article “Smith and living wages: Arguments in support of a mandated living wage” Clary (2009) presented Adam Smith’s ideas that discussed living wage issues experienced by individuals working for minimum wage. Clarry proposed that living wages issues are more complex than just making money but are rather about a family being able to secure a living and afford the basic necessities. Clary (2009) further discussed how the lower income class earning minimum wage are often unable to afford the basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothing. Clary(2009) concluded that the legislator could help improve living wages by enforcing polices that would increase living wages to help decrease the poverty rate. Overall , increased wages will help the low-income class overcome poverty, promote education and better living standards.  
  • In an articled called “Do living wage ordinances reduce urban poverty?” researchers Neumark and Adams took a closer look at the effects of the living wages on urban poverty by examining local ordinances and data from the Annual Demographic Files (ADFs) within urban cities that have living wage laws. A comparison analysis between cities that have implemented living wage laws found positive effects of living wages with increased wage gains and hours worked, but negative effects on employment. Overall, this study suggested that effects of increased living wages are found to moderately reduce poverty in urban areas.Sabia, (2008) investigated minimum wage increases and its effect on single parent families. Recently, policy makers have taken a special interest focusing on how minimum wage increases will help prevent single mothers from living in poverty. Results indicated that an increase in minimum wage did not affect most single mothers because they already earned more than the minimum wage. The single mothers that did earn minimum wage were not affected by the increase because they experienced a reduction in their work hours as a result of the wage increase. Ultimately, results indicated that as minimum wages increased employment hours decreased , thus having no affect in the annual income amongst low skilled workers. Sabia concluded that increasing minimum wages is not an effective action to helping reduce the poverty rate amongst single mothers
  • Researchers examined the ideologies of the working poor in the United States and compared it to ideologies in the United Kingdom to gain a better understanding how people conceptualize poverty (Karjanen, 2010). This research suggests that US is more likely to express negative attitudes towards the living wage than the UK. This attitude is attributed to the fact the US feels that the poor are solely responsible for their own situation and this is because most people feel that the poor are lazy, uneducated, possess low or no skills, or not possessing the same values as those who are successful. The US is also more likely to blame the individual for their low economic status, whereas the UK is more likely to attribute economic status to strong structural impediments for income and occupational mobility (Karjanen, 2010).  
  • Social workers have stepped up to the plate to advocate for the working poor (Chandler, 2009). They have also helped with relieving attitudes towards living wages by providing awareness to the community. Adam Smith was a philosopher that also advocated for a just rate of wages. Adam Smith’s ideological theory on living wages discusses the need to “maintain justice” (Clary, 2009). There are reasons for his ideas in that he states the need to cohesively balance expenses and living wages so that everyone can live comfortably. The idea of “maintaining justice” is that everyone that works hard should get what they work for and be able to make it in society without having to worry about being poor. Smith relied on market mechanisms to bring about a reasonable wage that would be a sustainable wage within the economy. In establishing a subsistence wage this will provide the working poor with reasonable living. The wage fund theory was an attempt to show that in certain situations there was a possibility that wages could rise above subsistence level.
  • In examining the United States ideologies and United Kingdom, it is shown that the working poor continue to remain poor (Karjanen, 2010). Research further suggests that the family structure most affected by living in poverty, are the Hispanic families and African American families. This trend carries across United States and the United Kingdom and the views of poverty are dependent on how people understand and argue wage floor polices (Karjanen, 2010). Low wages are the main reasons that working persons remain amongst the working poor. The Wage Fund Theory has been criticized because there is no emphasis on efficiency and productivity of labor. It is also unclear on where the fund paid to the employees will come from. In order to increase the worker’s wages, a fund needs to be established and this may result in laying off employees. The fewer workers, the more funds you have to disburse.Although the minimum wage law supports employees because employers cannot pay them less than the minimum wage, the minimum wage, however, does not protect them from the struggles and adversities they will most likely come upon.
  • The attitudes towards living wages that are affected the most are those at the forefront of the issue. These are the people that have to live day in and day out worrying about what is going to happen next, “will I have enough money to feed my children” or “I hope we don’t get evicted”. Living wage activists and social workers are put at the forefront so that these issues can be resolved (Chandler, 2009; Luce, 2012). It is evident that the economy plays a role in determining how minimum wage is dealt with and who will receive an increase living wage (Pollin, 2007).The theories that have been provided by social workers, Adam Smith, as well as the United States and United Kingdom’s ideologies so that there is a great need for advocating for those who are the working poor (Clary, 2009; Karjanen, 2010; Sabia, 2008). In light of everything policy makers are doing what they can to help working single mothers who are working on minimum wage make their way out of poverty by making wage increases (Sabia, 2008). Of course, living expenses do increase and it is important that social workers maintain communication with all types of family structures so that families can live above the poverty line and not have to worry about surviving (Pollin, 2007; Sabia, 2008).To ensure that people are making their way above the poverty line and tax payers are not jolted by having to make up for those who are unable to survive in society we need more interventions put in place. Resources need to become readily available for individuals that can find help in keeping a job that helps them provide for their family, instead of having to “nickel and dime it” Ehrenreich, 2001). Above all we need to focus on family and develop ways that we can resolve our living wage attitudes by coming together as a community and helping each other thrive. Maybe in a sense it is all about making an effort to reduce idea of living a life that policy makers have set by making it “Business as Usual” (Schor, 2011). It should be about going back to the basics of community gardens, making trades, and helping others in a way that is not materialistic but advocating for their needs (Seccombe, 2007; Sabia, 2008). 
  • Attitudes toward living wages final with updated with audio

    1. 1. Attitudes Toward Living Wages Group Project Outline Family Economics 5833 Fall 2012 Crystal Dyess-Carroll Thomasina Desouza Charee Fontenette Tiffany Harris Jessica Virgil
    2. 2. Introduction Living wages is defined by Seccombe (2007) as the minimumincome needed that enables a family to afford the necessities and basic needs (i.e., food, clothing and shelter) to live. Class Views on living Wages• The lower class view• The working poor view• The middle class view• The wealthy view All income classes are affected by the differences in living wages
    3. 3. Review of Literature Proponents of living wage in Opponents of living wage in the United States the United States• Higher wages increase work • Living wages increase productivity wages but decrease job• Living wages decrease work opportunities absenteeism, employee • Creates a hostile work turnover environment• Living wage laws directly • Earned income tax credit is effect low wage workers a better solution than living• Higher wages means wage decrease in government subsidies(Seccombe, 2007; Pollin, 2007) Seccombe, 2007; Pollin, 2007)
    4. 4. Review of Literature • 1990’s brought a rise of living wage campaigns and activists in the United States • More than 140 cities, counties, and universities in the US have living wage ordinances • Movements have been found in cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco • Activist also focused on statewide living wage movements • Several research studies have been conducted to determine the impact and reactions of living wages Luce (2012)
    5. 5. Review of Literature Recent research investigates living wages, its effect on poverty rates and attitudes towards living wages of the middle and working class citizens. ▫ Clain (2008) examined the living wage legislation and how it affects U.S. poverty rates. ▫ The U.S. would see an increase in living wages if all U.S. counties would adhere to the state and local wage polices . ▫ Minimum wages are not being increased due to labor force laws not being enforced. ▫ The living wage legislator is not the answer to alleviate poverty. ▫ Clary (2009) presented Adam Smith’s ideas that discussed living wage issues experienced by individuals working for minimum wage. ▫ Living wages issues are more complex than just making money . ▫ The lower income class earning minimum wage are often unable to afford the basic needs. ▫ The legislator could help improve living wages by enforcing polices. ▫ Increased wages will help the low-income class overcome poverty.
    6. 6. Review of Literature Research further examines living wage increases and its affects on urban poverty and single mothers. ▫ Neumark and Adams (2003) , investigated living wage increases and how it has affected urban poverty. ▫ Researchers found positive effects of living wages with increased wage gains and hours worked, but negative effects on employment. ▫ Living wage increases moderately reduces poverty in urban areas. ▫ Sabia, (2008) investigated minimum wage increase and its effect on single parent families. ▫ As minimum wages increased employment hours decreased for single mothers. ▫ Minimum wage increase is not an effective action to helping reduce the poverty rate amongst single mothers. Neumark & Adams (2003); Sabia (2008)
    7. 7. Review of Literature Global View of Living Wages  There are similarities and differences with regards to attitudes towards the living wage in the US and UK, however the US is more likely to express negative attitudes towards the living wage than the UK (Karjanen, 2010).  The US is more likely to blame the individual for their low economic status, whereas the UK is more likely to attribute economic status to strong structural impediments for income and occupational mobility (Karjanen, 2010). The difference is attributed to failure of progressive economic policies and the lack of labor unions in the US (Karjanen, 2010).
    8. 8. Theoretical Framework  Social workers have stepped up to the plate to advocate for the working poor (Chandler, 2009). They have also helped with relieving attitudes towards living wages by providing awareness to the community. Wage Fund Theory  Adam Smith’s ideological theory on living wages discusses the need to “maintain justice” (Clary, 2009). o Smith’s idea was established to cohesively balance expenses and living wages so that everyone can live comfortably.  The idea of “maintaining justice” is that everyone that works hard should get what they work for and be able to make it in society without having to worry about becoming poor.  The Wage Fund Theory states that wages are determined by the magnitude of the workforce and the capital of the country.
    9. 9. Theoretical Framework  In examining the United States ideologies and United Kingdom, it is shown that the working poor continue to remain poor (Karjanen, 2010). Low wages are the main reasons that working persons remain amongst the working poor.  The Wage Fund Theory has been criticized because there is no emphasis on efficiency and productivity of labor.  It is also unclear on where the fund paid to the employees will come from. In order to increase the worker’s wages, a fund needs to be established and this may result in laying off employees. The less workers, the more funds you have to disburse.  Although the minimum wage law supports employees because employers cannot pay them less than the minimum wage, the minimum wage, however, does not protect them from the struggles and adversities they will most likely come upon.
    10. 10. Implications and Conclusion • Living wage activists and social workers are put at the forefront so that these issues can be resolved (Chandler, 2009; Luce, 2012). • The theories that have been provided by social workers, Adam Smith, as well as the United States and United Kingdom’s ideologies show a great need for advocating for those who are the working poor (Clary, 2009; Karjanen, 2010; Sabia, 2008). • In light of everything policy makers are doing what they can to help working single mothers who are working on minimum wage make their way out of poverty by making wage increases (Sabia, 2008). • Of course, living expenses do increase and it is important that social workers maintain communication with all types of family structures so that families can live above the poverty line and not have to worry about surviving (Pollin, 2007; Sabia, 2008).
    11. 11. ReferencesChandler, S. K. (2009). Working hard, living poor: Social work and the movement for livable wages. Journal of Community Practice, 17:170-183. doi: 10.1080/107054209 02856159Clain, S. (2008). How living wage legislation affects U.S. poverty rates. Journal of Labor Research, 29(3), 205-218. doi:10.1007/s12122-007-9028-8Clary, B. J. (2009). Smith and living wages: Arguments in support of a mandated living wage. American Journal of Economics & Sociology, 68(5), 1063-1084. doi:10.1111/j.1536-7150.2009.00653Karjanen, D. (2010). Opposition to the living wage: Discourse, rhetoric, and American exceptionalism. Anthropology Of Work Review, 31(1), 4-14.Kingsolver, A. (2010). Introduction: Researching living wage possibilities globally. Anthropology of Work Review, 31(1), 4-14.Luce, Stephanie (2012). Living wage policies and campaigns: Lessons from the United States. International Journal of Labour Research 4(1), 11-26.Neumark, D.,& Adams, S. (2003). Do living wage ordinances reduce urban poverty? The Journal of Human Resources, 38(3), 490-521.Pollin, R. (2007). Economic prospects: Making the federal minimum wage a living wage. New Labor Forum, 16(2), 103-107.Sabia, J. (2008). Minimum wages and the economic well-being of single mothers. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 27(4), 848-866. doi:10.1002/pam.20379Seccombe, K. (2007). Families in poverty. New York, NY: PearsonWills, J. (2009). The living wage. Soundings , 42, 33-46.

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