Walmart

Living Wages for Thee…

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The workers who clean Baltimore's Camden Yards baseball stadium are planning a hunger strike to protest their $7 per hour wages. The stadium is the largest employer of the city's homeless day laborers. The kicker, though, is that the Maryland legislature recently passed a "living wage" bill, setting the minimum at $11.30 per hour. But while the bill covers any business with state contracts in the Baltimore area, the state government is exempt, and Camden is owned by the state of Maryland.

Such double standards aren't new to the living wage debate. The labor activist group ACORN is largely credited with jump-starting the national living wage movement. But ACORN itself has a notoriously shabby record when it comes to paying its own workers. In fact, not only did the group once sue the state of California to exempt itself from the very living wage it helped the state to pass, ACORN actually used free market critiques of the minimum wage in its brief (ACORN argued that if it had to pay existing workers more, it wouldn't be able to hire more workers).

As for Maryland, this would be the same state that attempted to pass legislation directed solely at Wal-Mart because of the allegedly low wages and benefits Wal-Mart pays its workers. Average starting wage at Wal-Mart: Just under $10 per hour. Average Camden clean-up worker pay: $7 per hour.