Wants agreement on waterfront wages

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDOctober 25, 2013 

Whatcom County is beautiful, but not all is well when many average citizens have serious economic problems. In Whatcom County 15.7 percent of us live in poverty; 50 percen of us do not have affordable housing; 22 percent receive food stamps and until recently 25,202 of us lacked health insurance. Too many people endure the national fast food/retail model that employs good folks part-time with minimum wages and avoids paying benefits. This results in heavy use of the food bank and food stamps. Low- and moderate-income families struggle to pay for rent and food. Many parents work extra jobs and have little time and energy to participate in raising their children.

There is a solution that does not rely on the social safety net, which is to create more guaranteed full-time living-wage jobs. The Green/Blue Coalition offers a community benefits agreement between employees and the developers to be included in the waterfront district development that ensures a living-wage, full-time employment and benefits. A written agreement, no more, no less than any other profession doing business on the Waterfront to make it truly beautiful.

Aileen Satushek

Bellingham

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