Living Wage

Reading about the pay rates and employment practices of the city of Boulder and the University of Colorado and the companies they contract with is disturbing.

Boulder has spent millions of tax dollars creating affordable housing, caring for the homeless and providing a safety net for our most vulnerable citizens. Taxpayers have given this money because we value fairness, diversity and compassion. Now we learn that the city uses our tax dollars to support companies with unfair labor practices that keep the working poor locked in poverty.

Cities in Colorado are not allowed to increase the minimum wage, but they can have policies and practices regarding their own employees and the employees of companies contracting with them. Any contractor wishing to do business with the city should be required to pay employees a living wage and have fair policies regarding benefits and hours. These same ideas apply to the University of Colorado as well. CU is one of the largest employers in our city. A change in its policy will have an impact on the local economy.

Employees of public institutions shouldn't have to go on public assistance to survive and neither should private sector employees. The Colorado Legislature should raise the minimum wage this session.

The city, the university and the state should all be working towards a common goal of decreasing the income gap. Our economy will benefit and as a bonus, it's the right thing to do.