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Position of the Reform Movement on Minimum Wage

Though the Torah recognizes that we cannot necessarily eliminate all poverty, we are taught that we must work to alleviate its impact. Making sure the poor are provided for is a responsibility for society as well as for the individual.

Position of the Reform Jewish Movement

The Reform Movement has policy that speaks directly to workers achieving livable wages. In 1965, the Union of Reform Judaism passed a resolution entitled "The Eradication and Amelioration of Poverty" which urged the government to adopt measures "which would assure every man willing and able to work at a wage which makes possible a decent standard of living."

At its December 1999 Biennial, the Union of Reform Judaism also passed a resolution entitled "Adopted Resolution on Living Wage Campaigns," which calls on congregations to get more involved in local living wage campaigns. The Union for Reform Judaism resolved to:

1. Support living wage ordinances and bills to bring wages to at least the poverty line, preferably higher;

2. Encourage our congregations across North America to become involved in living wage campaigns in their local communities;

3. Urge members of the community, including supporters of a living wage, to commit themselves to advocate for and help raise necessary funds to enable non-profits to pay living wages without curtailing their services; and

4. Call upon our congregations, and all arms of the Reform Movement, examine their employment and contracting practices to ensure they reflect the spirit of this resolution.

In May 1999, the Central Conference of American Rabbis passed a resolution entitled "Living Wage Campaigns." It resolved to:

1. Support living wage ordinances and bills to bring wages to the poverty line;

2. Encourage rabbis across North America to become involved in living wage campaigns in their local communities; and

3. Encourage rabbis, their congregations, and all arms of the Reform Movement, to examine their employment practices to insure they reflect the policies set forth in this resolution.