Reporting Sandra McNeill
ANN ARBOR (WWJ) – A controversial nun is bringing her message Tuesday night to the public at U of M’s Ross School of Business.
Sister Simone Campbell, who leads the Catholic social justice lobby called NETWORK, says people don’t realize that the average age of those making minimum wage is 28 and many are struggling to feed their children.
“A lot of people think it’s just teenagers so they don’t really need living wages to live on – but the fact is these folks are raising families,” she said.
She says Americans deserve a living wage and the minimum wage should be higher.
Sr. Campbell is not without her critics.
“The Vatican said we were promoting radical feminist themes in working too much with the poor,” said Sr. Campbell. “I’m not sure what I’m saying is radical feminist themes they never talk to me … so I don’t know what they are doing. But, yes, we do work a lot with the poor, that is our mission.”
Campbell says the numbers show that in the past 30 years – those on the lower rung of the ladder have lost seven percent of their income while the rich get increasingly richer.
Campbell wants to bring the topic of economic disparity out in the open. “Not talking about money is isolating us from each other, and allowing the growth in disproportionate wealth on the part of the few whose wealth is growing. They are doing it because they are bad they are doing it because they can.”
Campbell supports a change in policy similar to the times before 1979 when she says the wages of the rich and poor increased at the same rate.
“Productivity of the American worker has grown dramatically over the last 30 years – but wages have been basically stagnant – that doesn’t seem fair,” said Campbell.
“When you keep putting bandaids on people’s wounds don’t you think you should try to figure out why they are being wounded? Shouldn’t we try to change the policies?” she asked.
Campbell’s speech is 7 p.m. at the Blau Auditorium, at the Ross School of Business.