Just Economics and Just Brew It!

Celine and Company Catering is proud to be a Living Wage Workplace and to support Just Economics at this year’s Just Brew It Homebrew Tasting and Competition!

certificationlogoJust Economics of Western North Carolina’s “Living Wage Certification Program” is the largest program of its kind in the nation. With nearly 400 local certified employers they are setting the bar and inspiring other communities to follow suit. Being Living Wage Certified means that an employer pays all of their employees at least a wage that is sufficient to live in any given area. Many variables determine the living wage of a particular region and in most cases what is considered a living wage is higher than the federally established minimum wage. For Asheville, the living wage is set at $12.50/hr and $11/hr if the employer provides health insurance. The advocacy behind living wage programs stems from a common belief that the federal minimum wage has not kept up with the increase in cost of living. Many would agree that is especially true in developing cities like Asheville.

The benefits of paying a living wage are realized on a personal level, a business level and a socioeconomic level.  Starting with the employees that have a chance of living above the poverty line; productivity increases as financial stresses decrease. Business owners see a lower turn-over rate, an increase in worker morale and thus a more positive work environment for everyone. On a larger scale, the greater economy benefits as people making a living wage are more capable of maintaining stable housing and supporting other businesses. Everyone wins.

The mission of Just Economics, together with their largest contributors; The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and The United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County, is to “serve our communities through focus on philanthropy and economic development.” Their combined focus for 2016 is in promoting living wages, efficient transit and affordable housing.

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Just Economics of WNC supports its efforts by involving the community in events like the Just Brew It Homebrew Festival taking place this Saturday, June 4 at The Wedge Brewery. This annual festival features more than one hundred local homebrews for sampling, live music, food trucks, a scavenger hunt and more! In order to attend the festival, you must be a current member of Just Economics of WNC. Basic Memberships start at just $25/person.

 

To learn more about becoming Living Wage Certified, Just Brew It Homebrew Festival or other programs like their Community Education, and Leadership Development, Transportation Campaign, or to simply donate to this incredible cause, visit their website at http://justeconomicswnc.org/.

To see what other cities are doing to promote a sustainable economy through Living Wage Campaigns, explore some of these great resources and maybe you can begin to make a difference in your own community.

The Durham Living Wage Project was launched last year and is modeled after Asheville’s Living Wage Certification Program!

http://www.durhamlivingwage.org/

Atlanta’s Living Wage Ordinance was initially proposed in 2003 and would require businesses with a financial relationship with the city of Atlanta to pay a living wage to their employees and provide a minimum level of healthcare. The proposal has been heavily debated for over a decade and a resolution has yet to be found. A significant difference between this proposed ordinance and Just Economics’ Living Wage Certification, and others like it, is that the implementation would be mandated and not voluntary.

http://www.atlantaga.gov/index.aspx?page=165

To find out what the Living Wage is for your city, visit http://livingwage.mit.edu/.

~Marisha MacMorran

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