Lawmakers must focus on ways to increase workers’ wages

Op-Ed | Rev. Donna Aros
January 13, 2017
Lexington Herald-Leader

Research from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy shows wages are roughly $1,500 lower in right-to-work states, and promises of job growth from the policy are particularly hollow. A repeal of the prevailing wage needs no research to show it will lower wages and often encourages out-of-state companies to take bids away from Kentucky workers.

Purposely lowering the wages of workers is something as old as the Bible itself, as Deuteronomy 24:14-15 notes. “You shall not withhold the wages of poor and needed laborers, whether other Israelites or aliens who reside in your land in one of your towns. You shall pay them their wages daily before sunset, because they are poor and their livelihood depends on them; otherwise they might cry to the Lord against you, and you would incur guilt.”

Just as it was then, policies like House Bills 1 and 3 are withholding the rightful wages of workers, whether they still toil in Kentucky’s fields or have moved on to other areas, such as factories and schools. Lower wages for working families can lead to a host of issues. Namely, they cannot provide for their families like they once could.

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