This Tuesday July 19th, the Eau Claire County Board will be voting on the most progressive, expansive, living wage ordinance in Wisconsin history. A coalition of organizations led by the Citizen Action of Wisconsin Organizing Cooperative of Western Wisconsin has been working for months on an ordinance that would ensure that all employees of companies that do business with the county will be paid at least $11.68 an hour now, and over $15 an hour within the next few years.
These "Living Wage" ordinances are one of the few tools left to Wisconsin localities to raise the wages of thousands of low/moderate income workers. These ordinances are in place in Dane County and Milwaukee County, as well as localities across the nation; and the results are clear. In each place, workers who work for the companies that benefit from public contracts are not underpaid for their critically important work in the community.
And this direct impact to local workers has a beneficial effect on the local economy itself. As more "economy-boosting" jobs (good pay, good benefits) are created out of what were "economy-busting" jobs (low wage, no benefits), people in the community have more money in their pockets to spend on the basics such as rent, restaurants, children's braces and more. Which means when people have the means to afford the basics thanks to measures such as Living Wage ordinances, they help circulate money directly in the local economy and to the small businesses and their employees that further invest in the local economy. This stimulative economic impact is multiplied many times over as the employees of these local businesses benefit too, we all win.
But, the ordinance hasn't passed yet! There is still time to help, and if you live in Eau Claire County we encourage you to reach out to your County Supervisor before Tuesday's vote and let them know that you are a constituent and you support the living wage ordinance on Tuesday's agenda.