Good news from the Let Justice Roll campaign:
Minimum wage hikes won in every state they were on the ballot, winning by a resounding 76 percent in Missouri, 73 percent in Montana, 69 percent in Nevada, 66 percent in Arizona, 56 percent in Ohio and 53 percent in Colorado (latest totals).
Let Justice Roll is a project of the National Council of Churches and is led by The Rev. Paul Sherry, former general minister and president of the United Church of Christ.
More on this tomorrow.
Update: UCC plays key role in minimum wage victories
Reprinted from United Church News
Written by J. Bennett Guess
|Wednesday, 08 November 2006|
|Mainline Protestant activism, led by a former UCC president, helped fuel successful minimum wage campaigns in six states on Nov. 7. |
“Across the country, churches played a key role in getting the initiatives on the ballot, getting people to know about the seriousness of the issue and getting people out to the polls,” said the Rev. Paul Sherry, who led the national “Let Justice Roll” effort that helped produce a clean sweep of voter-approved wage increases in Ohio, Colorado, Montana, Missouri, Arizona and Nevada.
“This has become the key values issue in the 2006 election,” Sherry said. “A job should keep you out of poverty, not keep you in it.”
Sherry, who served as president of the UCC from 1989 to 1999, took up anti-poverty work shortly after “retiring” seven years ago. He then began organizing full-time to build grassroots support for a minimum-wage increase and, in 2005, co-authored “A Just Living Wage: Good for Workers, Business and Our Future,” a 76-page manual to help churches better understand the issue.
“There’s a well of integrity and decency in this country,” Sherry said, “and when linked to the needs of poor workers, that well of decency expands.”
“Let Justice Roll,” which Sherry leads, is now a national nonpartisan partnership of more than 80 organizations working to raise the minimum wage at the state and federal level. Participating groups include the National Council of Churches, Interfaith Worker Justice, UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries, American Friends Service Committee, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and Union for Reform Judaism, among others.
Sherry said churches have not been the only groups involved in successfully boosting the minimum wage, “but we have been a significant actor.”
Sherry cites, as an example, the work of Euclid Avenue Congregational UCC in Cleveland where, earlier this year, 34 local church volunteers gathered 1,700 signatures to help get the initiative on Ohio’s November ballot.
The Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC’s current General Minister and President, said religious leaders are sending a message to politicians that overcoming poverty is a bipartisan concern.
“I hope politicians hear the clear message of this election day that overcoming poverty is a bipartisan issue in America,” Thomas said. “I'm thrilled that Republicans and Democrats joined together to say that the minimum wage should be a living wage, and I’m very proud that the UCC’s own Paul Sherry played such a key role in getting these initiatives passed.”
Edith Rasell, the UCC’s minister for labor relations and community economic development, described the approved initiatives as “a victory for justice.”
“It’s a victory for low-wage workers,” Rasell said. “It’s a victory for the many members of our congregations who have worked so hard to pass these initiatives.”
More information is available at www.letjusticeroll.org