At Pentecost, a group of multilingual, multicultural people was transformed by the powerful coming of the Holy Spirit. The early followers of Jesus began to speak about God’s great works to people from “every nation under heaven” in their native tongue. Christians believe that the Holy Spirit is given to all who put their faith in Christ and become His disciples. The Holy Spirit guides us in our endeavors and leads us to be more like Jesus.
More than 2,000 years after Pentecost, those of us who are Christians must ask ourselves: are we open to the power and presence of the Holy Spirit to guide us and change us? Are we open to the Spirit’s call to be active participants in bringing about the Kingdom of God on Earth? Are we willing to contribute to the often difficult and time-consuming work of social change within a diverse body of believers? We must be listening for the Spirit’s prodding as it pushes us towards acts of peace, justice and love.
Today, we feel the rush of that holy wind, and it pushes us to call for justice for workers. We pray and work with our immigrant brothers and sisters for a just path to citizenship and fair treatment in their workplaces. We stand with minimum wage earners and call upon our local, state and federal governments to raise and index the minimum wage so all workers can earn a living wage. We’re motivated by God’s love and our belief in human dignity to call for and end to wage theft and the many ways employers abuse and exploit workers.
We “hope for what we do not yet have, and we wait for it patiently” (Romans 8:25). We invite you to join us on that journey and strengthening the rights of workers!
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Election Day marked a great victory for working people across the country, and it’s only the beginning. Voters in Albuquerque, N.M., San Jose and Long Beach Calif. chose to increase wages for the lowest-paid workers in their communities. In the absence of national minimum wage legislation, voters in individual communities are calling for an increase in the minimum wage for their lowest-paid neighbors, and telling local leaders a higher minimum wage is necessary to create economic recovery and help working families make ends meet.
Albuquerque’s minimum wage will increase from $7.50 to $8.50 an hour and will be automatically adjusted for inflation in subsequent years. In an effort supported by IWJ's affiliate in San Jose, the Interfaith Council on Economics and Justice, voters approved a measure to raise the minimum wage from $8 to $10 an hour. In Long Beach, the minimum wage for hotel workers was raised to $13 an hour; workers will be guaranteed five paid sick days a year as well.
Sixty percent of voters supported these ballot initiatives, and a national poll conducted by Lake Research discovered that 73 percent of likely U.S. voters support increasing the federal minimum wage to $10 an hour. If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation over the past 40 years, it would be $10.55 an hour.
In 2013, IWJ and our affiliates will continue their work to increase the minimum wage in states throughout the country. As the cost of housing and goods continues to rise across the country, working people need adequate wages to keep their families out of poverty.
Together we can push lawmakers to make raising the federal minimum wage a priority in 2013. Click here to sign the petition.