For the Village of Cayuga Heights, being a Certified Living Wage Employer is a matter of respect and common sense. “People deserve respect,” said Village Clerk and Treasurer Joan Mangione. “It takes all of us to make this community as wonderful as it is.” Mangione said it was important for a municipality to set the right example.
The village has 20 full time employees and 17 who work part time. “We’re pretty busy,” Mangione said. The village department of public works maintains roads and does capital improvements, manages stormwater, trash pick up and food scrap recycling and operates the waste water plant. The village has a full time police department and other administrative departments.
“People need to have the ability to live” in the vicinity of where they work, Mangione said, noting that long commutes to work are a burden to the employee, the employer and the community.
Cayuga Heights was spurred to seek certification as a Living Wage Employer because the leaders saw other Tompkins County municipalities had done so. The village board of trustees passed the resolution with a unanimous vote. The village has a record of respecting worker rights, and has collective bargaining agreements with two unions (Teamsters and Police Benevolent Association).
Cayuga Heights joins the City of Ithaca, Tompkins County, and the Towns of Caroline, Danby, Enfield, and Ithaca as local governments showing leadership in employment.
The Tompkins County Worker’s Center welcomes any business or organization who would like to become a Living Wage Employer to apply to the Worker’s Center for certification to recognize their commitment to fair pay for workers. The Living Wage in Tompkins County presently is $14.34, as determined by the Alternatives Federal Credit Union Biennial Living Wage Study. If you have any questions about how your business (or employer) can get certified, contact TCWC at (607) 269-0409 or firstname.lastname@example.org.