The Coastal Packet: Maine faith leaders get involved

Saturday, September 10

Maine faith leaders get involved

Maine Beacon - At a gathering in front of St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland, pastors and rabbis representing ten different communities of faith urged support for a ‘Yes’ vote on Question 4 on the November ballot, the referendum to raise Maine’s minimum wage.

“Our call as Christians is to love and support our most vulnerable neighbors, and the current economic landscape – where wages have stagnated since the early 1970s – requires us to speak out on their behalf,” said Bishop Stephen Lane of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine. “This measured, incremental approach to achieving a moral economy will help our fellow citizens across the state. An economy where all work is justly valued benefits all Mainers.”

If passed, Question 4 will raise the minimum wage from $7.50 an hour to $9 in 2017 and then by a dollar each year to $12 in 2020. After that it will increase annually with the cost of living. The subminimum wage for service workers who receive tips will also gradually increase from $3.75 an hour to the adjusted minimum wage.

The initiative is endorsed by the Maine Council of Churches, which represents the Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Quaker, Roman Catholic, Swedenborgian, Unitarian Universalist, and United Church of Christ denominations, and also by individual congregations and faith leaders across the state.

“This year’s minimum wage referendum addresses the woeful inadequacy of the current minimum wage,” said Father Michael Seavey of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland. “These are not simply jobs for young people to have some extra spending money. They are not infrequently critical means of family survival.”

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