Posts Tagged ‘interview’

Putting our values to work, pt. 2: Greg deGroot-Maggetti on living wages

January 21, 2015

“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

This Monday I shared the first half of my conversation about living wages with Greg deGroot-Maggetti. (Read it! First!) In that conversation Greg discussed the difference between a minimum and a living wage–the latter starts by asking what it actually costs to live in a community–and the ethical and financial reasons we should commit to a living wage. Today I’m sharing the second half of our conversation. In what follows Greg discusses living wages as a way to restore good jobs, support healthy local economies, and even save us all money in the long term. But first, he faces my HARD QUESTIONS.

[JB] Doesn’t living wage place an unfair burden on employers? Why should employers bear the duty of providing her workers with enough to lead a dignified life? Shouldn’t we all, as a community or province or country share this duty?

[GdM] Well, my most basic response might be that that’s the ethical foundation of a working relationship: a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. (more…)

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Putting our values to work: discussing living wages with Greg deGroot-Maggetti

January 14, 2015

LWThis fall, House of Friendship joined a growing number of “living wage” employers in Ontario—and Canada, and the world. This announcement followed HOF’s earlier commitment to be a 4:1 Wagemark employer, meaning that nobody working at HOF makes more than four times more than anyone else.

These are important symbolic and material commitments, in that they hold up another way of thinking about and ‘doing business,’ and because they mean all HOF employees should have enough. HOF executive director John Neufeld put it this way:

“Signing on to Living Wage Waterloo Region is part of ‘walking the talk’. We’re committed to a vision where ‘all can belong and thrive’. This means having a living wage. We can think of no better way of honouring this vision and staff in our 75th year of service than by supporting a living wage.”

In different ways, a living wage embodies HOF’s five core values of compassion, inclusion, justice, dignity and hope.

I sat down recently with Greg deGroot-Maggetti, who is Mennonite Central Committee’s People in Poverty Program Coordinator. Greg is also Chair of Living Wage Waterloo Region, co-chair of the 25-in-5 Network for Poverty Reduction, a regular contributor to the excellently rigorous Strategy at Work blog and a very skilled busker—look for him Saturday mornings at the Kitchener Market with his kids!

I wanted to talk with Greg about the growing living wage movement. We did; and, on the strength of his experiences and knowledge, we also talked about the nature of democracy and the importance of local civic engagement, putting our values to work despite an increasingly degraded labour market, and acting for good despite the world being the way the world often is.

Today is part one of our conversation–stay tuned for part two, next Wednesday. (more…)

Challenge and Encouragement – The Role of Peer Health and Shelter to Housing

May 8, 2014

Yesterday we posted about the upcoming Kindred Spirit BBQ happening today, Thursday at 5:30 at Kitchener City Hall.

Now I am happy to share an interview that Doug Rankin conducted with Clarence, an active community member working and walking beside people experiencing homelessness.  Clarence has his own lived experience to share, and a strong focus on the importance of community.  He will also be one of the two peopled recognized for their contributions locally.

What did you do as a Peer Health Worker at the Men’s Hostel?

I built relationships with people, and then supported them by listening and helping them solve problems. I would let them know what resources are available in the community so they had some points for accessing health care, housing, employment, food, clothing, and a lot of other resources. I was very positive and supportive of the men and would provide a lot of encouragement to them. And I was there to support them when they were ready move forward and make bigger changes. (more…)