Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Chamber of Commerce

The Charlottesville-Albemarle Chamber of Commerce had a remarkable luncheon today. The topic for the annual legislative luncheon was poverty - actually the luncheon was titled "Improving Economic Opportunity in Our Community", but the topic was poverty - with a presentation by Buz Cox and Kathy Ralston, heads of social service in the city and county. Buz and Kathy presented a sobering appraisal of the plight of the working poor in our community, and used the hypothetical example of a couple, each making $11 an hour, with two young kids, and how they could not afford housing, transportation, food, and health care on this income, much less school supplies, clothing, insurance, recreation and all the other things that probably everyone reading this blog takes for granted.

Hats off to Kathy Train - Chair of the Chamber and Director of the United Way, and Tim Hulbert, Chamber President, for making this issue a priority. Having the Chamber roll up their sleeves on this is incredible. Discussion ensued about how businesses can join local governments in helping, especially with summer youth employment initiatives.

And the irony that this luncheon was held in Glenmore - an affluent, gated community - must have been obvious to everyone present.

2 Comments:

Blogger - PoliticalNoise said...

Mayor Brown wrote: Buz and Kathy presented a sobering appraisal of the plight of the working poor in our community, and used the hypothetical example of a couple, each making $11 an hour

It's a lot worse than a couple making only $11.00/hour. Take a visit to the Virginia Employment Commission website (specifically the ALEX section) and do a local area search for the jobs posted as available for this area.

You'll find that most employers prefer to pay only around $8.00/hr. And this is not for a kid working an after school job- this is for someone they'd like to work full time. For this area $11 dollars an hour would be considered an almost decent wage.

I'm constantly amazed at what employers expect for what they're willing to pay. For example: Adams & Garth (a staffing agency in town) has a listing for a shipping/recieving clerk. The pay is 10/hr. And the employer would prefer someone with a College degree.

What's the world coming to when someone who only wants to pay you $10/hr also wants a person with a degree. The average person with a degree is going to have college loans to pay back, and at 10/hr you can forget about that happening.

1:58 PM  
Blogger - PoliticalNoise said...

In regards to this quote from your blog post: Buz and Kathy presented a sobering appraisal of the plight of the working poor in our community, and used the hypothetical example of a couple, each making $11 an hour, with two young kids, and how they could not afford housing, transportation, food, and health care on this income, much less school supplies, clothing, insurance, recreation and all the other things that probably everyone reading this blog takes for granted.

Hats off to Kathy Train - Chair of the Chamber and Director of the United Way, and Tim Hulbert, Chamber President, for making this issue a priority. Having the Chamber roll up their sleeves on this is incredible.


In Thursday's Daily Progress- October 12, 2006 the article quotes the City of Charlottesville's current Living wage as $9.72 cents and that's a "recently raised" amount.

That's well below the 11/hr in the presentation. And actually seems to make 11/hr seem a little generous.

What does the city council plan on doing to bring the city's payroll out of the "working poor" pay ranges?

1:08 PM  

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