A.S. champions living wage

In a unanimous show of support for San Diego low-wage laborers, a resolution endorsing livable wages for area workers was unanimously passed by the A.S. Council on Dec. 4, 2002.

The Resolution Endorsing a Living Wage in San Diego calls for a livable wage, quality job development and benefits for local laborers. It contends that “”low-wage and middle-income workers are finding it harder to get by in San Diego, where the costs for basic needs are rising beyond affordability.””

The resolution also states that “”the ASUCSD believes that living-wage jobs build strong families and healthy communities, and … it is beneficial to the health and welfare of all in San Diego that workers have a livable wage, benefits and respect.””

“”Living in San Diego, you’ve got a high cost of living,”” said A.S. Vice President Internal Kevin Hsu, who submitted the resolution. “”If you have people [whose wages allow them] to take care of themselves, they’ll be able to better contribute to the economy.””

The resolution also questions government subsidization of low-wage, state-contracted jobs, asserting that “”our tax dollars should not create or subsidize poverty jobs.””

According to Hsu, the resolution was inspired by a recent study released by the Center on Policy Initiatives, a San Diego-based think tank dedicated to promoting higher standards of living for poor and moderate-income families.

The study, titled “”Making Ends Meet,”” found that to meet basic family needs, a single parent with an infant would need to earn $14.08 an hour, a single parent with two school-age children would need to earn $19.47 an hour, a two-parent family with one infant would need to earn a combined $18.50 an hour, and a two parent family with a preschool and a school-age child would need to earn a combined $24.46 an hour, all based on full-time jobs.

The current minimum wage in California is $6.75 per hour.

As a result, the study concludes that “”many jobs created by the San Diego economy do not pay the wages needed to meet a family’s basic need”” and urges policy makers and advocates to address this issue.

“”We wanted to voice our support for it,”” said Hsu.

The A.S. Council has addressed the issue of a living wage in the past. According to Hsu, the council passed a similar resolution in 2001 amidst the campus group Students for Economic Justice’s “”Justice for Janitors”” campaign, which called for an end to the exploitation of non-union, contractor-employed janitors at UCSD.