I scream, you scream, we all scream for a living wage & a Robin Hood Tax
Jeff Furman chairs Ben & Jerry’s board of directors, and he’s just written this article supporting two campaigns close to the TUC’s heart – for a living wage and for a Robin Hood Tax. Although his role is now more about maintaining the original radical roots of the premium US ice cream, since the brand was sold to multinational Unilever, and he makes clear he’s writing in a personal capacity, but it’s still a major endorsement from someone experienced in the private sector at a senior level, and that can’t hurt either campaign.
According to Jeff, Ben & Jerry’s pays all its staff at least $16 an hour plus health insurance and other benefits: already $1 an hour more than the fast food workers movement in the US is demanding, and more than twice the level of the current US federal minimum wage. He writes: “our experience has proven that fair wages are good for business and good for communities,” and that echoes the views of corporations like Costco, the retail store in direct competition with Walmart, which pays its workers $21 an hour.
His views on the need for a financial transactions tax are even more radical – and they come from someone who helped Ben & Jerry’s raise the finance to start up as a small business over thirty years ago. He argues that:
“While discouraging purely speculative short-term trading, such taxes would also generate significant revenue that could be used to make us economically more secure, for example through investments in infrastructure, climate, and health programs.”
OK, this is the brand that backed calls for gay marriage in its home state of Vermont by changing one of its ice creams from ‘Chubby Hubby’ to ‘Hubby Hubby’, and the state’s senior senator, the veteran Bernie Sanders, is already one of the strongest advocates of a Robin Hood Tax in the USA. But marketing a successful ice cream brand is a serious business, and Jeff Furber’s a serious advocate of living wages and just taxation.