45. Let the working man and the employer make free agreements, and in particular let them agree freely as to the wages; nevertheless, there underlies a dictate of natural justice more imperious and ancient than any bargain between man and man, namely, that wages ought not to be insufficient to support a frugal and well-behaved wage-earner. If through necessity or fear of a worse evil the workman accept harder conditions because an employer or contractor will afford him no better, he is made the victim of force and injustice. – Rerum Novarum
There’s no reason, other than sin (which is no reason at all), that Evilcorps like Walmart and a host of others who screw their employees (and even force them onto welfare so the taxpayer can make up what the Evilcorp refuse to pay) could not do this. And it is within the competence and duty of the State to see to it that they do. That is simple justice.
CCC 2431 The responsibility of the state. “Economic activity, especially the activity of a market economy, cannot be conducted in an institutional, juridical, or political vacuum. On the contrary, it presupposes sure guarantees of individual freedom and private property, as well as a stable currency and efficient public services. Hence the principal task of the state is to guarantee this security, so that those who work and produce can enjoy the fruits of their labors and thus feel encouraged to work efficiently and honestly. . . . Another task of the state is that of overseeing and directing the exercise of human rights in the economic sector. However, primary responsibility in this area belongs not to the state but to individuals and to the various groups and associations which make up society.”217
Businesses like First Green Bank demonstrate that treating workers justly can be done out of virtue and not merely out of deference to the Big Stick of the State. When they exercise that “primary responsibility” justly, as when I exercise primary responsibility for my car by not running lights and speeding, the state doesn’t need to whack anybody with the stick. Well done, First Green Bank. May you inspire many more companies to follow suit.