The Living Wage: Taking Poverty Reduction Seriously in Hamilton

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LivingWage

In late February 1986, after freelancing for three years, I received my first full time job offer to be editor for a small Ontario nature magazine. The salary was only $18,000 ($36,000 in 2017 dollars), but I was still thrilled with the opportunity. Then two days later, I received a second offer for a corporate writer position I interviewed for with the CUMIS Group in Burlington, the insurance arm of Canada’s credit union system. The job offer included a salary of $23,700 ($47,000 in 2017) – five thousand dollars more. Not only was the salary bigger, but the job also came with a picnic basket of benefits unheard of today.

Three weeks vacation to start, plus three floater days to use at my discretion; extended health benefits including vision, drugs and dental; life insurance; up to 100 per cent coverage for training and continuing education; an employee home mortgage plan and an employee vehicle leasing program. As you can imagine, I waved goodbye to the editor position to join CUMIS. And thinking that it couldn’t get any better, the company soon introduced a work cycle where employees, over a two-week period, worked an extra half-hour a day for nine days, and the 10th day was taken off – essentially giving all of us an additional 13 days off a year. Living? Indeed we were, and living very well. We had nothing to complain about.

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Article and image source: Hamilton Magazine

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