''What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding the faces of the poor?" (Isaiah 3:15)
"The worker is worth their wages" (Luke 10:7)
Across New England, tens of thousands of janitors work hard each day to maintain clean environments that allow us to work, learn, and grow with dignity. Sadly, like so many in our communities, they suffer the scourge of low-wage work in return for their hard labor. As faith communities on the front lines of serving the needy, we see first-hand how this impacts our communities.
Companies in several industries have achieved ever-increasing profits at the expense of workers through the widespread practice of sub-contracting to the lowest bidder, forcing a race to the bottom, felt by workers already underpaid and overworked.
As faith leaders, we declare this bears false witness to the value janitors deliver daily, and it is fundamentally unsustainable for our communities. "Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk?" as St. Paul says (1 Cor 9:7). We all deserve to be able to sustain and participate in our families and communities. But the wageless recovery continues to keep this out of reach for too many.
We all have a stake in reversing this trend, and we could not have a bigger opportunity to do so than by supporting 15,000 of New England's janitors as they reach for a better quality of life. As faith leaders we call on the business community to honor these workers whom they rely on with a contract that truly includes them in the economic recovery with living wages and real benefits like affordable health coverage. We are committed to standing with our hard-working janitors to ensure this outcome, for the good of their families and our communities as a whole.
FATHER FLAVIN IS EPISCOPAL VICAR OF THE CENTRAL REGION OF ARCHDIOCESE OF BOSTON AND RABBI TOBA SPITZER LEADS CONGREGATION DORSHEI TZEDEK IN WEST NEWTON.
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