Low-pay workers of all ages, stripes

Regarding the letter, “Minimum pay not meant to be ‘living’”; I agree, to a degree. Minimum wage has been in the news quite a lot due to workers standing up and saying we need more money. When I started working in 1975, my wage was $1.70 because I was training. My employer kept it at that for months because he could. That is happening now. Employers are keeping workers at the minimum wage because they can. The employees know they are replaceable and are treated as such.

When you think minimum wage workers you see a young worker just entering the workforce. Someone with a summer job or a loser who wasted away life chances. In reality, the minimum wage workers are people who lost their long-term jobs when the company closed. There are single parents who are trying to make a life for their kids. There are the senior citizens whose retirement income doesn’t pay the bills. There are the returning veterans whose military training doesn’t adapt to civilian life. There are the people who need a second job to survive. The majority of people I see in my line of work are not the kids but the adults trying to survive. I have talked to people who have worked for a large box store for three years and still make minimum wage. These are good people whose employer says we can’t afford raises again.

Next time you go to the fast food restaurant or convenience store or to a retail store or get your oil changed look to an employee. Make eye contact and see if you can figure out what their story is. Most employees I know who make minimum wage can’t just quit and go back to school they have obligations and need the income to support their families. Minimum wage isn’t a livable wage. No one could afford living expenses on that.

Kimberly Spjut

Marysville

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