Ashland has some great living wage employers who are makers and builders who pay their employees living wages and offer medical and retirement packages.
They do well while doing good.
Their employees own homes and send their children to our schools. They support our stores and restaurants. They pay taxes and buy products in our community. These employers and workers are our back bone.
Without them, we’d be in even worse trouble due to the pandemic. Tourism businesses are suffering and so is the city as a result. Food and Beverage and Hotel Occupancy are down by 50%, according to the businesses. That means the taxes the city collects from those tourist related businesses are also down.
Living wage employers are the backbone of community. Employers like Blue Marble who design and manufacture educational toys for National Geographic. Blue Marble was started by two brothers who grew up in Ashland. They are raising their children here and support 50 living wage jobs on A Street. They’d like to expand and hire 50 more employees and pay them just as well, but can’t find the space in Ashland.
I think we need to help living wage employers and not make it so hard to grow that they have to leave like Brammo or Amy’s Kitchen who wanted to come but couldn’t afford it.
I think of Blackstone Audio, Bio-Skin, Darex, Organic Alcohol and others--all living wage employers hoping to keep Ashland as their home.
As Mayor, I will carefully and with deliberation find ways to get to yes without sacrificing the city’s charm nor its environment. Because like these employers, I live here and want it to be a good place for everyone.
Here are some sources on why living wage employers make sense for communities and how they’re doing it: