Religious Task Force for a Living Wage Coordinator, Edie Reagan, Wins MLK Annual Peacemaker Award

The Community Dispute Resolution Center gave it’s ninth annual Peacemaker Award to Edie Reagan at the MLK Community Breakfast on Saturday, January 13, 2007. The Award is presented to an individual or group whose work embodies the non-violent change strategies exemplified by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ms. Reagan serves as the Justice and Peace Coordinator for Catholic Charities, and coordinates the Religious Task Force for a Living Wage (a project of the Workers’ Center and of Catholic Charities).

She has been the key organizer of numerous community events and educational presentations and has dedicated her life to the causes of non-violence and social justice.

In the words of one of her co-workers, “Edie is a dedicated agent for social change.” She truly answered Dr. King’s call to action when he said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ”’What are you doing for others?'”
From Winter 2006-07 Newsletter

A Living Wage Is a Moral Value by Edie Reagan

You may have spotted these words on numerous bumpers driving around Tompkins County (and beyond!), in the course of your travels. What you may not know is that this green and white bumper sticker was designed by a local group of dynamic individuals, whose religious faith has impelled them to work for a living wage.

Among the fundamental principles shared by all faiths, are the importance of paying workers fairly for their labor and the right of workers to perform their responsibilities with dignity. Across the country, people of faith are on the forefront of efforts that are lifting workers out of poverty. Here in Tompkins County, the Religious Task Force for a Living Wage has been a strong and steady leader in this campaign.

For the past five years, members of the task force have gathered each month, to search out ways to engage local faith communities in work for economic justice. Coming from a diversity of spiritual traditions, including Quaker, Lutheran, Reform and Conservative Jewish, Catholic, Unitarian, Methodist and Presbyterian, they are united in their commitment to seek a living wage for all workers, because of their faith-rooted belief in the inherent worth of every person.

The Religious Task Force has been involved in a multitude of living wage efforts over the years. Members have promoted petitions calling for a minimum wage increase and spoken before the Ithaca City School District Board of Education, advocating for higher wages for school paraprofessionals. The group met with our local Innkeepers Association, to discuss the need for paying hotel workers a living wage, and sent a letter to Ithaca’s incoming Wal-Mart manager, signed by twenty-nine local religious leaders, expressing the moral demand for just pay and fair labor practices. The task force has also helped to organize many briefings for area religious leaders on economic justice issues, such as welfare reform, healthcare reform, immigration legislation and economic hardship in Tompkins County.

If you are a person whose spiritual beliefs stir within you a passion for justice, please consider adding your insight and energy to the force of this action-focused group. The Religious Task Force for a Living Wage meets on the first Thursday of each month, 9:30 to 11:00 AM, at the Catholic Charities office (324 West Buffalo Street, Ithaca). For more information, contact Edie Reagan, Director of Justice and Peace Ministry at Catholic Charities (272-5062 x12 or

Mission Statement of the Religious Task Force for a Living Wage

“The worker is worthy of a just wage.” This statement articulates a truth close to the heart of all great faiths. Every human being is a reflection of the divine, endowed with an imperishable worth and dignity.

As people of faith, basic principles of economic justice move us to work for the day when all workers will be paid a living wage, have quality, affordable health care, and be treated withy dignity. To that end, the Religious Task Force for a Living Wage educates, organizes and conducts outreach among people of faith, calling on all people to respond to the need for economic justice in our community. We support the Workers’ Center in its efforts to bring about these goals.

The Religious Task Force for a Living Wage is a project
coordinated by Justice and Peace Ministry of Catholic Charities and the Workers’ Center.