On September 15th, Pastor Brooks spoke before the Downtown Redevelopment Authority in Vancouver. Members of the authority are appointed by the city to oversee the management of the Hilton hotel. Some of the workers at the hotel are paid $8.93 an hour with family health benefits that cost up to $400 a month. These were remarks given by Pastor Brooks:
I want to speak to you briefly about why I am concerned about the wages paid to workers at the Vancouver Hilton. In the next couple of weeks, my wife and I are expecting our first child. Along with the excitement that this brings, we have also had a moment of reckoning. Over the past couple of months, I have had close friends quote to me outlandish sums of money for how much it costs to have a child and raise that child. My wife and I have had to have some serious conversations about how we are going to cover future expenses. We are currently on day 11 of our pledge to go 60 days without eating out.
I thought about our situation when I read that the highest paid housekeeper at the Hilton made just $21,117 while working more than 40 hours a week. I did some research and found that the living wage for one adult and one child in Vancouver is $31,714. For two adults and one child, it is $40,397. My wife and I are fortunate enough to make more than a living wage by this standard. I thus can’t imagine what it would be like to budget for a family on wages far below this standard of decency. I can’t imagine having a budget in which rent competes with whether my child will eat.
I would like to live in a city where the golden rule applies to wages. If we wouldn’t want someone to pay us less than a living wage, than we shouldn’t settle for others to be paid less. To make that happen, it might require a moment of reckoning. It might require some serious conversations. It will certainly require action. In the end, it requires taking the kind of action all of us would take if it were the welfare of our own children hanging in the balance.
 Pennsylvania State University, “Poverty in America: Living Wage Calculator,” http://www.livingwage.geog.psu.edu/places/5301174060