Do you believe that all Vermonters who work deserve to be treated with dignity, including being paid a fair wage? The Vermont Interfaith Action (VIA) Clergy Caucus does! The VIA Clergy Caucus includes Catholics, Episcopalians, Jews, Muslims, Presbyterians, United Church of Christ (including our own Rev. Peter Cook), and Unitarian Universalists. Although they come from different teachings and faith traditions, they looked at a broad economic framework and arrived at five tenets that will help Vermont move towards a Moral Economy: a just economy that respects the dignity of every human being.
One of the tenets is to pay fair wages that provide an adequate standard of living for a worker and her dependents. An adequate standard of living includes: food; clothing; shelter; physical safety; food security; and basic health, preventative, and mental health care. To work toward this, the clergy recommends: time off for family care; protection from exploitation by employers; policies that invest in housing, transportation, and the long-term well-being of all Vermonters; and tax policies that shift more of the burden from the middle class to the wealthiest.
This Moral Economy framework was introduced throughout Vermont from November 17 to 20. There was a series of gatherings in Burlington, East Arlington, Middlebury, White River Junction, Danville, Rutland, Brattleboro, and Montpelier. These gatherings were attended by 240 people, 52 of whom were legislators, as well as by the current Secretary of Administration (who prepares the state budget) and by the Conference Minister of the United Church of Christ and the Bishop of the Vermont Episcopal Diocese.
Interested? You can read all five tenets and supporting verses from the Hebrew Scriptures, New Testament and Quran, along with policy recommendations regarding Collection and Allocation of Resources and Wages and Benefits in their document “Movement Towards a Moral Economy”.