Feb 06,2007 00:00
Bend Weekly News Sources
Says Searching for Work That Pays: 2007 Job Gap Study
When it comes to finding a good job in Central Oregon, the numbers just don't add up. For every job opening that pays a living wage in Oregon, there are as many as 20 job seekers. These are the findings of the annual study Searching for Work That Pays: 2007 Northwest Job Gap Study, released today by the Northwest Federation of Community Organizations (www.nwfco.org).
In Oregon, 84 percent of open jobs pay less than a living wage for a household of three, a single adult with two children. A living wage for this household is $23.40 an hour. Seventy-two percent of open jobs pay less than a living wage, $18.48 an hour, for a working adult with one child. Only 59 percent of open jobs pay a living wage, $11.38 an hour, for a single worker with no dependents.
"When families are unable to earn living wages, says the report, "many are forced to make impossible choices between adequate health care, balanced nutrition, and paying bills."
Or, in the case of Bend Area Transit (BAT) employees, they vote for union representation to improve their living standards, says Michael Funke, organizer for Central Oregon Jobs with Justice, a labor-community coalition of 20 unions and community groups and over 250 members.
"Many BAT workers have families to support," Funke notes. "But their wages top out at about $13 an hour--well below the living wage needed to support a family. That's one of the reasons a majority of BAT employees voted to join Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757, which represents public transit workers in communities across Oregon."