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Just Economics is a grassroots, community organization. We educate, advocate, and organize for equitable economic conditions, increased union representation, and a fair share for all in the prosperity of our region, regardless of race, gender, or citizenship status.
Just Economics (JE) has three primary program areas:
1) The Asheville-Buncombe Living Wage Campaign- A "living wage" is the amount that an individual should be paid to meet his or her basic needs, without the need for public or private assistance. For example, the living wage for a single individual living in the Asheville area for 2008 is $11.35/hour for a single individual. Over the past two years, Just Economics has spearheaded the Asheville-Buncombe Living Wage Campaign, which resulted in the passage of a living wage ordinance by Asheville's City Council in May of 2007. The ordinance, which ensures that city employees are paid a living wage, is a significant first step in the struggle for economic justice in our region. We are now working to pass broader, City-wide living wage ordinances in Asheville, which will affect a much broader swath of workers in our community who, despite their hard work, live in poverty.
2) Living Wage Employer Certification Program- Just Economics has recently launched this new program, which identifies and promotes employers in Asheville that are paying a Living Wage. This program aims to reward existing Living Wage businesses in our community, encourage non-living wage compliant business and organizations to increase their wages, and connect businesses to the growing market of consumers in our community that seek out socially responsible businesses/organizations offering workers fair wages and working conditions. Additionally, Living Wage Certification will help bolster community dialog and consciousness around the living wage issue, as we have seen on other issues such as organic food, environmental sustainability, etc.
3) Community Education and Leadership Development- In addition to our campaigns and community action, Just Economics also works to educate ourselves and those in our community on economic issues affecting our lives. Just Economics members lead workshops and trainings for churches and community groups on income inequality, economic trends in our region, and the Living Wage Campaign to build consciousness and animate people to collective action for positive change in our community. We are committed especially to building leadership among those most affected by the issues we are working together to change--low-income people and people of color. In the fall of 2008, we plan on launching a leadership development program, Voices for Economic Justice.
- Sarah Osmer
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