The General Assembly applauded Rev. Dr. Paul Sherry whose untiring work in "Let Justice Roll" and its Minimum Wage Campaign received a significant boost from yesterday's election. The National Council of Churches adopted the following celebratory statement.
Eliminating poverty is the great moral challenge of our era! This conviction has been central to the work of the National Council of Churches of Christ in recent years, including the Council's strong support for raising the minimum wage. Through its "Let Justice Roll Living Wage Campaign," the council, together with others, has advocated for an increase in the federal minimum wage (currently $5.15 and hour) and -- successfully! -- for an increase in the state minimum wage in such places as Arkansas, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Michigan.
Thus, it is with a real sense of joy and thanksgiving that we, the delegates to the NCC's 2006 General Assembly, note the results of yesterday's election. Voters in six more states -- Arizona, Ohio, Missouri, Montana, Nevada and Colorado -- approved an increase in the minimum wage, acknowledging that such public policy is good for business as well as workers.
There is still much work to do. The federal minimum wage has not been raised since 1997 and now buys less than it did in 1950. Full-time workers earning $5.15 an hour simply cannot provide a decent livelihood for their families. It may well be, however, that 2006 will provide to be a turning point in this struggle. And for this we say: Thanks be to God!