A new survey of the nation’s mayors finds that chief executives of cities are concerned about the plight of the poor and what might happen to the economically disadvantaged due to a lack of employment opportunities.
The annual report, conducted by the Boston University Initiative on Cities, found that a bipartisan sample of more than 100 mayors from 41 states are worried about economic challenges ranging from unequal transit access to racial wealth gaps. But a top concern is the lack of middle-class jobs for residents without a college degree as well as a lack of living wage jobs.
A summary of the document states, “Mayor rank poverty, rather than income inequality or the shrinking middle class, as their most pressing economic concern. This focus is shared by both Democrat and Republican mayors, although Democrats were 15 percentage points more likely to be concerned with poverty.”
Almost a quarter of respondents listed helping the poor as their top concern. In addition, almost half of surveyed mayors selected those living in or near poverty as the most excluded group in their city. Expanding affordable housing and implementing universal pre-school were listed as policy objectives.
As has been written repeatedly in this space, more needs to be done to help low-wage workers. Working full-time is no guarantee of being able to support oneself or a family, giving the stagnant state of wages for many. That’s why the Teamsters and other unions have been involved in the Fight for $15 to raise pay.
It’s time for workers to look to local government and unions to help raise pay standards in the workplace. Everyday Americans who work hard should be able to make ends meet. Only then will the U.S. be a nation that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.