Ok, I’m not going to comment on this Department of Labor blog post, but I wish you would.
What is the problem here? Is it the minimum wage? Is it lack of education? Is it life choices? Will $15.00 an hour fix whatever the problem is?
Why I’m Fighting for Higher Wages
Worker Voice by Alicia Roberson on September 15, 2015 •
I work at Dollar Tree, and while I make more than the state minimum wage of $8.15, it is only ten cents more. My last paycheck was $178.
I recently had the chance to sit down with other workers and talk with Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and SEIU Healthcare Michigan President Marge Robinson. We were there to explain why as people largely making the minimum wage, people working too few hours, people with rent, gas and other bills to pay, we need higher pay. Together, we shared how hard it is to pay for transportation, to pay the rent, to just make ends meet… and how we met each other protesting for higher wages and a voice in our workplaces.
Renita, a woman who works as a home healthcare giver said that she hopes that pay will go up so that when she needs it, someone can earn enough to take care of her, too. When it was my turn to speak, I got choked up because the reality of low wages and the struggle in my daily life had just hit home.
Two days before our conversation, I was evicted from my home. That morning, I was living in my car. As a mother of three, there’s not much worse than sleeping in your car. Or thinking about whether you can put clothes on your child’s back. Or food on the table.
My low wages mean I have to make choices about one or the other every day. No one should have to do that. It’s very hard when your child is hungry and you cannot feed him. Have you ever heard the cry of a hungry child? It’s terrifying. As the school year starts, I can’t afford new clothes or school supplies for my kids.
After our conversation Mayor Duggan offered to help me find housing, and I believe the fact that Mr. Perez came to Detroit to listen to us shows that our Fight for $15 is having an impact. But I do hope that he and others hear that we need the fight to move along faster, because we can’t survive on minimum wage. I’m going to continue to speak up for better wages… until my voice is heard. Alicia Roberson lives and works in Detroit, Michigan.