This press release was received at 10:11 p.m.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Mann, Public Affairs Liaison
ON MLK DAY, KONOP PROPOSES LIVING WAGE RESOLUTION FOR LUCAS COUNTY
Policy would reflect Dr. King's commitment to economic justice, ensure fair wages for working men and women
Today, marking what would have been Dr. King's 80th birthday, County Commissioner Ben Konop will propose a living wage resolution designed to help ensure citizens receive an honest day's wage for an honest day's work. Konop's proposal would cover the wages of workers who are employed by businesses entering into contracts with Lucas County or getting tax incentives or loans through the county.
Under the living wage program, a worker in Lucas County covered by the resolution would have to earn at least $8.38 an hour based on the calculator developed by Dr. Amy Glasmeier and the Pennyslvania State University.
"This initiative is based in fairness and social justice, so I think it's appropriate to propose it on Martin Luther King Day," stated Commissioner Konop. "This is not going to put anyone out of business, but what it will do is help ensure that workers receive decent pay for a day's hard work," added Konop.
Though Dr. King is primarily remembered for his groundbreaking work in the civil rights movement, he focused much of his later career on the pursuit of economic justice for all Americans. In the years before his assassination, he worked tirelessly on the Poor People's Campaign and called for an economic bill of rights. In fact Dr. King was in Memphis supporting a sanitation workers' strike for better wages when he was assassinated in 1968.
Commissioner Konop will be available for this afternoon, after he takes part in the MLK Unity Celebration at Savage Hall. Please contact Lucas County Public Affairs Liaison David Mann at 419-410-4215 to coordinate.
As Comm. Pete Gerken will be able to explain, County Commissioners have no authority under the Ohio Revised Code to implement or set a policy that requires a living wage. One of Gerken's first ideas upon becoming a commissioner was to institute a living wage requirement in Lucas County, as he had supported for the City of Toledo. As I explained to him at the time, commissioners cannot do this. My position was backed up by the County Prosecutor's Office which agreed, and so informed Gerken.
No county in Ohio has the ability to institute a living wage requirement, because the Ohio Revised Code gives counties no such authority.
Being an attorney, you'd think he'd check such things ahead of time. And, considering the public 'smack down' Gerken gave Konop in this letter to the editor (third letter in the link), I'm expecting Gerken to have a bit of fun in the way he 'educates' his fellow commissioner on this topic.