Debating Wages

Unit Activity

A worker’s wage is credited not as a gift, but as something due.
Romans 4:4

In 1938 the US Congress passed (and President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed) the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), establishing child labor laws, a minimum hourly wage, and maximum workweek. Have the young people review the US Department of Labor’s Minimum Wage Chart. Then have them find out the minimum wage in your state. How does it compare with the federal minimum wage? Discuss the importance of minimum wages, keeping in mind that a minimum wage is the lowest hourly wage an employer may legally pay workers, and the need for just wages.

Set up a debate involving members of your group with the topic: Should the minimum wage be a just wage? To take sides, participants will need to research the pros and cons of the issue. At the end of the debate, note that the US Bishops have long supported a just economy through decent work and decent wages.

Just Wage and the Federal Minimum Wage, February 2014 (PDF)
from the USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development

Selected Quotations from Catholic Social Thought on the Rights and Responsibilities of Workers and Labor Unions (PDF)
from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Photo by frankieleon

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