Last Sunday, if you missed worship, Hannah Cartright led us in the Affirmation of Faith. It was one of the “do-something” Affirmations, as opposed to the “say-something” Affirmations that are more commonly our style.
She introduced us to P.O.W.E.R.’s current campaign to turn out unlikely voters to support more workers receiving livable wages and full and fair funding for our schools when they arrive at the polls.
On the May ballot, there’s an amendment to the city’s charter that would extend the 21st Century wage minimums to all the employers (and their employees!) who are subcontractors with the City. There is already legislation that sets minimum compensation expectations for any contractor with the City of Philadelphia. However, that does not extend to subcontractors those firms may job work out to. For example, U.S. Airways, because it operates at the city’s airport is required to pay 150% of minimum wage. But if it subcontracts out the baggage handling operations, those subcontractors have been exempted from meeting the city’s compensation expectations. If May’s ballot measure passes, all the employees at the airport will be covered. As would any employee of a subcontractor for a business that works for the city. It’s the promise of a significant pay increase for some of the most humble jobs in our city.
P.O.W.E.R. is also trying to make a fair and full funding formula the number one issue in next fall’s gubernatorial elections. For that to happen, voters need to be educated about the issue, and the possibilities that state funding can make for schools statewide. An educated electorate can then begin to ask and expect the candidates, and later the office-holder to meet the state’s constitutional requirement to fund public education across this state– fully and fairly.
As Christians in church, as a show of our faith, in worship last Sunday, we were asked to promise that we would vote, if we understand and support the upcoming electoral possibilities for jobs and education, and finally if we’d join with others in our own church and with people from congregations across this city in an effort to really turn out educated, inspired, motivated voters in the upcoming elections.
Here’s the results of our pledging last Sunday:
- 45 pledge cards were returned (many more were in worship!);
- 28 members pledged to vote and supported both issues affirmatively; 9 indicated they live in NJ/elsewhere or are not citizens, only 1 of those indicated they would volunteer in some form (anyone can help out with the canvassing– no matter where you live; you go to church in Philadelphia!); 2 said they might vote but support both issues; the remaining 6 appear confused by the cards;
- 18 said they would either phone bank or make calls from home;
- 8 are interested in canvassing (most did not specify a date preference, 3 indicated a preference for 4/13, 1 said 4/6 was better).
It’s a start! But we’re going to need more help. And do more work.
After worship this Sunday, there will be a training to explain all this more fully. So if you missed last Sunday. Or if you just weren’t sure. Or need to know more. Here’s your chance.
It could be a great exercise of faith in action and citizens making a difference. For families who have enough to live on. And schools that have enough to educate our children.
We hope you will join us!