“When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned.” – Romans 4:4 (NLT)
This is one of the issues near to my heart, spearheaded by (in my personal opinion) one of the greatest American Presidents.
President Roosevelt knew the importance of preventing the financial abuses of workers, because he truly understood that the health and longevity of the nation depended on the economic successes of the workers. One of his enduring legacies was the Fair Labor Standards Act (1938). The Fair Labor Standards Act (1938) was built on the idea that anyone working in minimum wage jobs would be able to keep roof over their heads, as well as maintain the ability to feed and clothe themselves and their families.
Granted, President Roosevelt grew up in a family who had a strong foundation in how they treat others. He recalled what his father taught him: “Take care of your morals first, your health next, and finally your studies.”
Therefore, when pushing forward with the Act, President Roosevelt said: “Do not let any calamity-howling executive with an income of $1,000 a day, …tell you…that a wage of $11 a week is going to have a disastrous effect on all American industry.”
The principle of minimum wage remains important today. Independent data and records show how costs of living increased over the years, whereas the minimum wage has remained relatively stagnant. Millions of people in America live below poverty lines, with single parent households, seniors, and people with disabilities being the most vulnerable and struggling in the mire of poverty.
Unfortunately, a loophole in the Act currently allows businesses to employ people with disabilities for far below the minimum wage – also called subminimum wage. While few states, notably Alaska, Oregon, and Texas are in the process of – or have eliminated – subminimum wage, many people with disabilities continue to be exploited for their labor. This loophole needs to be removed and the exploitation of all workers – abled and nondisabled alike – ended.
As Christians, we all need to honor God in what we do, say and think. Some might think that people working minimum wage jobs don’t deserve to be able to afford housing, food, clothing and other essentials needed for life.
When I first began discussing this issue, I was shocked to receive numerous responses that went along the lines of: “Why should anyone take responsibility to provide you your wages? If you don’t like the pay, get another job!” However, labor exploitation is nothing new. God Himself warned against it.
“You must pay them their wages each day before sunset because they are poor and are counting on it. If you don’t, they might cry out to the LORD against you, and it would be counted against you as sin.” -Deuteronomy 24:15 (NLT)
““Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts.” – Malachi 3:5 (ESV)
Do you not honor the LORD? Let’s draw near to Him and repent of our deeds and work together to support and uphold the wages of workers.
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