It is no longer enough to say that you are “for jobs” or “for job creation”.  Communities also need to look deeper into what kinds of jobs are being created and what the net result on the community will be. Low paying retail jobs offered by out-of-state corporations may actually have a negative net impact on the community if the purpose of those jobs is to help funnel money out of the local economy into overseas manufacturing and out of state corporations. The effect is even more negative if those jobs pay so poorly that the employees have to rely on tax dollars to provide health care, food stamps and other government and non-government support to provide a living.

To provide a net gain for a community, the jobs offered must provide a livable wage. To ensure livable wages we need strong unions and legislation to protect the rights of workers to collectively bargain. We need legislation that provides a livable baseline wage for hourly workers and puts limits on what can be demanded from salaried employees. And we need legislation that provides protection for workers against unsafe work conditions, discrimination, and loss of income through job loss beyond their control.

Other considerations must also be balanced against the promise of “jobs”.  Environmental pollution, noise, traffic, strain on established infrastructure, tax abatements that harm local schools, and damage to established and locally owned businesses must all be taken into consideration.

Drive around Central Ohio, or anywhere in America for that matter, and look at the number of decaying communities surrounding a closed shopping mall to see the results of over-dependence on minimum wage jobs in businesses that send the bulk of the money they collect out of the area.


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