Mayor Megan Barry’s Office of Resilience has singled out “economic inclusion and equity” as the key to building “urban resilience,” but support from the Nashville Chamber of Commerce and the New American Economy for legal and illegal immigration complicates achieving the mayor’s goals.
According to Metro Nashville Social Services’ 2016 Community Needs Evaluation report, “the poverty rate in Davidson County remains higher than Tennessee and the U.S.” Low wages, educational attainment, unaffordable housing and wage gaps are among the reasons cited for the pervasive and continuing high rate of poverty.
Low wage work is equated with earning the federal minimum hourly wage of $7.25 used by Tennessee. According to the 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.8% of Tennessee’s 67,000 low wage workers are paid the minimum wage, while 2.1% earn below the minimum wage.
Nashville Workers Dignity organized in 2010 to represent “wage theft” from low wage immigrant hotel cleaners and have expanded their campaign to include construction workers. Low wage hotel workers are bootstrapping their demands for “economic justice” defined as “a minimum wage of $15 an hour, paid sick days and maternity time, and more than anything else, respect for hotel and cleaning workers,” to the explosive growth currently being experienced in Nashville.
Read the full story from The Tennessee Star (TN): Nashville Chamber of Commerce and NAE Support for Low-Skill Immigrant Labor Undermines Mayor Barry’s Office of Resilience And Its Goal of ‘Economic Inclusion’