Executive Director Becky Schigiel wrote this message in response to a Wisconsins State Journal editorial on livable wages.
We need to talk – about how we talk about wages.
I don’t fault the State Journal for calling out the co-op on walking its talk in your editorial on “Co-op shows the difficulty of livable wage,” Â As a member, I welcome the full conversation.Â How can we raise wages more quickly, sustain the stores, and welcome shoppers who work for less elsewhere? Â
We have grown accustomed to talking about wages as if they exist in isolation, only affecting one business.Â We all pay more for those goods somewhere â€“ trying to provide the basics that workers cannot afford.Â The human cost is paid by those who know they cannot work enough to make enough.
I am most concerned about the editorial’s tone. This was an unhelpful Aha, Gotcha! moment, nearly gleeful about proving that no one can really pay a living wage. See Do-Gooders, we told you so.
Where is the satisfaction in that? Rather, where is your dissatisfaction with a local economy that cannot support its workers?Â At stake is a much larger and very real cost of our collective shrug when faced with the poverty of working people, as if wages have nothing to do with it.