A Living Wage For All Municipal Employees

While I was running for mayor of Huntsville in 2004:

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Mr. Jim Casey Advances Economic Development:
“A Living Wage For All Municipal Employees And Employees Of All City Business Partners”

Presented here is the full text of my remarks at the forum held at Oakwood college on Monday evening, July 19, 2004. Opening remarks by candidates were limited to only two minutes, and so although I would have liked to have said a lot more, time would simply not permit.

Questions did follow after all mayoral candidates spoke, and I was able to make the point that when you economically empower those people who are at or near poverty, you in fact set off a mechanism that improves the well-being of the entire community as a myriad of problems are solved.

When more discretionary income is available to the residents of blighted neighborhoods, they can afford to buy paint, and to make other home repairs, making the neighborhood more attractive, improving property values, and promoting a safer environment. More money for families means more time spent with kids, who in turn learn not to be behaviour problems in the schools, and in turn everyone is better enabled to get full benefit from the education system…and test scores go up.

When more discretionary income is available, residents in one area of town are willing and able to spend that money on the shops and stores that are closest to home. When the revenues of the business owner increases, then he too can put on a coat of paint, get new stock and replenish his inventory.

All the advances that come by ensuring a fair living wage for municipal employees will also create the job competition that will help raise the wage standard all over town. The whole city benefits, more people will be better off, the overall standard of living will rise, and crime rates and violence will continue to fall.

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Presented here is the full text of my opening remarks:

I remember, not so long ago, being at a city council meeting, when a man who worked for the city came to ask the city council for help. His sincerity was obvious. He was concerned for city liability because the (work) trucks were unsafe. He wanted to provide a good service to the folks in Huntsville, but there were never replacements when someone would call in sick. He was a hard worker, who put in extra hours when the routes got longer.

Glenn Watson at the Huntsville 2005 sesquicentennial celebration.Glenn Watson at the Huntsville 2005 sesquicentennial celebration.

Glenn Watson got pissed off and told him to quit if he didn’t like it, because he was afraid of an employee strike. Councilman Dr. Showers tried to intercede on the workers behalf, and Loretta Spencer called Richard Showers “uppity.” Uppity. Uppity because a man who had a family, and who didn’t even mind being “utilized” wanted a straight answer about working conditions so he could be a better employee.

His wages, for all his trouble, and his concern, and his attempts to appropriately use an open door system … his wages were $6.18 an hour. For barely $12,000 a year. That hard working man, the one who provides the basic services that keep this city running, services that if ever interrupted would bring this city to a grinding halt like no snow storm ever has…he is supposed to work full time for $6.18 an hour, and that is supposed to support him, his wife, and his children.

Ladies and gentlemen, slavery is over. When Mr. Jim Casey is elected mayor of Huntsville, my first priority will be to ensure a fair living wage for all city employees, and to require the same for the all employees of anyone who does business with this city.

That is my commitment to you, and all I ask in return is your vote.

I am Mr. Jim Casey.

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©2004, 2014 – Jim Casey
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