Hamilton’s living wage issue must wait until 2017 budget discussions

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By Kevin Werner

The City of Hamilton could be a leader within the community in the fight against poverty if it started to pay its 500 seasonal and temporary employees a living wage.

Poverty activists, business owners, a McMaster University professor and even students from a grade 5 class at Rousseau Elementary School in Ancaster, urged politicians to spend the additional $1 million to pay about 500 city and library employees a living wage.

“You would be setting the bar high for other businesses in Hamilton,” said Deirdre Pike of the Social Planning and Research Council.

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Josie Rudderham, co-owner of Cake and Loaf, which has become one of about 30 businesses in the city to provide a living wage to its employees, said it took about four years for the small business to introduce the policy. But the impact has been beneficial, she said.

Rudderham told councillors Dec. 7, nine more employees have been hired, there is less job turnover and her staff is more interested in their performance.

“There have been no negatives,” she said. “(Adopting a living wage) can make a difference. It’s an investment. It’s not just spending money.”

 

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Article and image course: Hamilton Community News

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