Wednesday, August 30, 2006
A man I know has worked for the same company for over 13 years. Today he earns just $9.50 an hour, even after all of these years of back breaking work for the same organization and owner.
This man is a father and a husband. He has beautiful children and a wife whom he loves.
He is a leader at work. When his crew is assigned a job, he oversees the work. He is held responsible for the outcomes. He never misses work. He travels when it is required. I doubt that there could be a better employee anywhere.
Still, after all the years and all the commitment and all the hard work, this man earns only $9.50 for each hour he works. Only recently has his employer begun paying extra for overtime. The man works all of extra hours he can every week.
This man is poor, not because he refuses to work, but because his employer does not pay him a fair wage.
Do the math.
Working 40 hours weekly, 52 weeks annually, the man can gross just $19,760.00 in wages. Of course, overtime would mean more earnings.
This man receives no benefits through his work--no health or life insurance, no retirement plan.
The facts of this man's life came to my attention just as the reports were coming out that while American worker productivity is at an all-time high (it is just not true that American workers are not productive), real wages and salary income is in decline.
The national labor data fits the profile of this particular worker.
Hello? Is anyone listening out there?
Here's the kicker: this man's boss proudly makes it known that he is a Christian.
This man's situation has me thinking.
What if every Christian business owner and employer took to heart the values and teachings of the Bible when it came to their employees' salary, wages and benefits?
Might it make a difference?
Here's a novel idea: what if America's preachers forgot about who cared or who might be offended and simply decided to tell the truth about the biblical record and fair wages for hard work?
Labor is in trouble in this nation.
Millions of hard working Americans aren't making it today.
Work doesn't pay.
Work doesn't mean a person or a family will avoid poverty.
Faith needs to be redefined.
Don't talk to me about theology unless you agree to begin with what it means to your neighbor or, even better, your employee.
Blog campaign update: So far we have painted 17 homes green thanks to contributors from all across the nation! Thanks to all who have joined this special community of support. We are attempting to raise $100,000 by October 31, 2006. These special funds will help Central Dallas Ministries pay for food at a time when demand is at an all-time high and growing each month. We also will use a portion of the fund to pay the State of Texas the fee owed as a result of our recent award of low-income housing tax credits. See the rows of little houses at the top right of this site. You can click there to read more detail and to find out how to join this grassroots effort.