Wednesday, July 19, 2017 WSFC ABC hosted a Living Income Standards discussion at Financial Pathways of the Piedmont. The discussion was led by Alicia Cook, Community Engagement Coordinator of the North Carolina Justice Center and Public Ally for Financial Pathways of the Piedmont. Also on the discussion panel was Brian Kennedy of the North Carolina Justice Center Budget and Tax Center, Keyra Williams, Asset Building Coalition Program Coordinator, and Catherine Medlock-Walton of Working America.

The attendees were very engaged in the discussion while bringing their ideas and concerns of how to be sure all residents of Winston Salem can meet all their basic needs without the help of government assistance. Zagros Madjd-Sadjadi‏, professor of economics at Winston Sale State University insisted that Winston Salem was not economically prepared for a forced wage rate increase, while community member, Wanda Snow shared her insight as a low wage worker and the challenges she faces as a retiree.

Zagros Madjd-Sadjadi‏ WSSU Economics professor and Robert J. Feikema CEO/President of Family Services at the Living Income Standards Discussion.

Brian Kennedy, who authored the BTC data explained how the living wage is calculated and brought up some of the weaknesses he saw within the calculations. “Certain assumptions are made in this calculation…an employee works everyday except weekends, no holidays, no sick days…this makes the wage fluid rather than static” said Kennedy replying to an attendee.

(from left to right) Panelists Catherine Medlock-Walton (Working America). Keyra Williams (WSFC ABC/FPP), Brian Kennedy (NC Justice Center Budget and Tax Center), Alicia Cook ( NC Justice Center, Public Ally)

The take away from the meeting was not definite but it did provide insight of how opposing sides may respond. Alicia Cook was asked to consider additional discussions as the topic of Living Income continues to grow in Winston Salem. WSFC ABC will continue to work on the voluntary living income standards and will use the information provided at the Living Income Standard Discussion.

A Standard Worthy of North Carolina Workers

The Living Income Standard Brochure

BTC Brief June 2017 by Brian Kennedy