Catholic Social Teaching says that human beings should not be a means to an end and that the economy must serve the people, not the other way around. NETWORK believes in the right to a living wage, a safe work environment, and meaningful work. People have a right to take care of their families and contribute to society. The importance of work has never been more evident than during the recent economic downturn, when thousands of jobs were lost each month. The effects of the recession continue as unemployment rates remain unacceptably high.
NETWORK has a long history of fighting for a living wage for all workers. Currently, the average minimum wage ($7.25/hour) worker makes $14,500 per year. For a family of two or more that is well below the federal poverty line. According to Catholic Social Teaching, a living wage is integral to our understanding of work. Wages must allow a worker to provide for themselves and their families. In the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, Congress enacted a progressive increase from $5.85 per hour to $8.25 per hour over a period of time. Although this modest increase helped millions of working poor families, there is much to be done to raise the federal minimum wage so that those working can provide for themselves and their families. To learn more about the federal minimum wage, visit our partners at the National Employment Law Project.
In addition to our work for fair wages and job creation, NETWORK actively supports a stronger emphasis on green jobs, which will help both our nation's unemployment problems and the environment, and for paid sick leave. We are also actively involved in work on unemployment insurance, equal pay for women and men, and efforts to combat wage theft.