Occupy a Living Wage
On Tuesday, May 29th, Occupy Albany, N.Y. is holding a direct action day to address the need for a minimum wage increase. We will be meeting on the State Street side of the New York State Capital at 11:30. We plan to make a statement to Senator Skelos that his efforts to block this minor increase is shameful. In these hard times any increase can be a benefit to New York families.
There has not been a minimum wage increase in New York State in ten years. Ten years ago milk was $2.00 a gallon. Bread was approximately $1.50-2.50. When Bush took office gas was on average $1.46 a gallon. I could buy a decent box of cereal for$2.00 a box. In 2012 rent in New York state can range anywhere from $750 a month to $2,000 3,000 in New York City. A measley $7.50 is not enough to pay for food and rent. A person who works 40 hours a week at $7.50 an hour takes home about $240 a week after taxes. $960 a month is not enough money to cover the costs of food and shelter. If they have health care coverage taken out of their pay, their income can be as low as $880 a month. If they spend $60 a week on groceries they are left with $720 for rent only. Most apartments in Albany, N.Y. run at least $750 a month. These figures do not include child care, utilities, or a phone service! No wonder why so many people are on food stamps.
One day I met a middle aged women on the bus. She was in transport from one franchise store to the other. She worked two full time jobs as a cashier on her feet all day and all night. Her kids were all grown up and I could see she was lonely. This poor woman lived in a studio apartment at a hotel/motel chain.She found that motel living was less expensive for her. She did not need to pay a security deposit to move in and her cable, utilities and emergency phone was included. I ask all my readers to think about her. What if she was your mother and you need not have the means to help improve her life. She told me she ate mostly quick food she could microwave. She had a small refrigerator but, no stove. The hotel did have a laundry facility. Is this all a hard working American deserves?
No American citizen should have to work this many hours for this little pay. It is high time for things to change. We need to stop out sourcing all these jobs to Asia and we need to raise wages to a living wage. For more information about these issues see Democratize the Economy on facebook.
By Joanne Kathleen Farrell
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