Faith leaders across the U.S. April 4 called on presidential candidates to support a higher minimum wage. The statements came on the anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Religious leaders reportedly want to support low-income Americans by pushing for a universal "living wage," reports RNS.
“Today, we call on all those who are seeking the Presidency of the United States to honor the legacy of Dr. King and stand in solidarity with all people who are seeking to achieve racial and economic justice in our society,” reads a statement released by Moral Action on the Economy, says Good Jobs Nation.
“By helping our nation’s most vulnerable workers achieve justice at work, the next President can lift millions out of poverty and secure a brighter future for all Americans.”
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The religious leaders call for a $15 per hour minimum wage, more benefits and the right of workers to organize. Jim Winkler, general secretary of the National Council of Churches, says that these measures are most important to disadvantaged Americans.
“This election is fundamentally about whether the next president is willing to take transformative executive action to close the gap between the wealthy and workers- many of whom are women and people of color,” said Winkler.
The push from faith groups comes as significant momentum for higher minimum wages is building across the U.S. New York and California passed bills to incrementally raise their state minimum wages to $15 per hour on March 31.
So far, presidential candidates’ stances on the minimum wage have been mixed.
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Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders supports a $15 minimum wage, while rival Democrat Hillary Clinton supports raising the federal minimum to $12 per hour. No Republican presidential candidates have officially supported raising the federal minimum wage.
Religious groups made a moral appeal to politicians, calling higher wages and benefits the rights of workers.
“We believe that it is an affront to human dignity when workers are deprived of fully enjoying the fruits of their labor and must struggle to simply feed, clothe and shelter themselves and their children,” reads the MAE statement.