$(document).ready(function() { $(window).scroll(function() { if ($('body').height() <= ($(window).height() + $(window).scrollTop()+500)) { $('#upnext').css('display','block'); }else { $('#upnext').css('display','none'); } }); });
Not-for-Profit, Award-Winning Community News and Views for Windham County, Vermont • Since 2006
Voices / Letters from readers

New program touts $15/hour wage as library employees earn less

RE: “Can a new program put cash in the pockets of those who need it most?” [News, Jul. 17]:

I am employed in the Brooks Memorial Library by the Town of Brattleboro. Although it is not required for my position, I do have a master’s degree and 11 years of professional experience. I earn $13 an hour.

It was both stinging and disheartening to read about the Work Today program, which proposes a wage of $15 an hour for program participants.

My comments here are directed not so much at the Work Today program, which has laudable goals (I, too, wish for everyone to be able to rise up) but more so at Brattleboro town officials and voters. The article simply brought a longstanding problem to the surface.

Brooks Memorial Library employees consistently earn below living wages. Perhaps this is because library work has traditionally been seen as “women’s work,” or perhaps it is because the town does not value the library and its services; steady annual increases in circulation and usage would indicate otherwise.

Regardless of the reasons, an opportunity exists now to correct this inequity.

Town Manager Peter Ewell has “estimated the town has ended each of the last fiscal years with surpluses of more than $400,000 to $900,000,” according to the article.

Please consider having the Human Resources staff review employee pay scales, and utilize a portion of this surplus to budget for fair wages.

May the town of Brattleboro extend the same dignity, sense of purpose, meaningful work, and wages to all town employees.

Or, in the words of Emilie Kornheiser, “If we’re modeling for people and building a program that’s about the dignity of work, the purpose of work, meaningful work, and we’re interested in getting money in people’s pockets, and we’re interested in building a community where everyone is served by the economy and everyone can benefit from the economy, then I think $15 is the bare minimum we can set up for them.”

I think $15 is the bare minimum we can set for town employees, too!

Julia Von Ranson
Brattleboro

Like what we do? Help us keep doing it!

We rely on the donations and financial support of our readers to help make The Commons available to all. Please join us today.

What do you think? Leave us a comment

Editor’s note: Our terms of service require you to use your real names. We will remove anonymous or pseudonymous comments that come to our attention. We rely on our readers’ personal integrity to stand behind what they say; please do not write anything to someone that you wouldn’t say to his or her face without your needing to wear a ski mask while saying it. Thanks for doing your part to make your responses forceful, thoughtful, provocative, and civil. We also consider your comments for the letters column in the print newspaper.

Comments

We are currently reconfiguring our comments software. Please check back if you’d like to read or leave comments on this story. —The editors

Originally published in The Commons issue #523 (Wednesday, August 14, 2019). This story appeared on page D3.

Share this story

Related stories

More by Julia Von Ranson