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The Low Paid And Living Wage Movement: To Get The Labor’s Right

2169 words - 9 pages

In capitalistic economy, there is a big problem when economy grows up; it is the gap between Rich and Poor. The gap is always through all ages, but it is getting bigger and bigger nowadays. In the past, it was possible to escape from poverty by studying or working hard, but not now. Wealth brings more wealth, and poverty continues to recur. According to National Poverty Center, in the United States, 14.3 percent of all persons lived in poverty (Poverty Facts). If we add up numbers of the poverty of other countries, the number will be huge. In the United States, many of the poverty have jobs and get assistances from the federal, but they still live in there. What is the problem not to escape ...view middle of the document...

This seems to be a fairly general rule: if you want to stack Cheerios boxes or vacuum hotel rooms in chemically fascist America, you have to be willing to squat down and pee in front of a health worker (who has no doubt had to do the same thing herself.) (Ehrenreich 14).
Drug tests trample on the pride of job seekers. Low-wage people have to endure unfair situation. Also, in her book, Nickel and Dimed, a waitress, Gail, is on the verge of being homeless because she cannot afford the deposit and first month’s rent required to lease an apartment. Another waiter, Joan, lives in her van parked behind a shopping center at night and showers in other co-worker’s motel room (26). This problem frequently happens among low-wage people. People earn minimum wages, but hidden cost of living is a lot: rent, gasoline, and food. Further, some employers do not provide them break rooms, and sometimes there are no break times. Barbara says, “The break room summarizes the whole situation: there is none, because there are no breaks at Jerry’s. Actually, there are tree folding chairs at a table immediately adjacent to the bath” (30). It happened when she moved and worked in other states. Even though the low-wage can get break time, they cannot use it. Lindgren, who worked for many years as a waitress at San Francisco’s landmark French restaurant, Fleur de Lys, said that as a server living primarily on tips, he didn’t really want to take a break. It was nothing like a computer job, where you can stop, take a break, and then just start where you left off (Haddock). It is because they have relied on tips to live. For them, earning money is more important than taking break time in reality. Originally, break time and break room are made to improve work efficiency, but these are gone. Even, they cannot receive health insurances that companies offer them basically. Therefore, low-wage people usually look for public benefits to get some help like welfare, food stamps, and health care. Every Job cannot have same wages and good benefits, but low-wage people’s reality is far from a normal standard line.
To solve problems of the low-paid, we will have to change worker’s wage first because sometimes low-paid workers’ wages are below a minimum wage. As a result, they have to worry about the basics, such as food, clothing, and shelter, and they are unstable in their lives. For that reason, the living wage movement has occurred to solve this problem. First, we have to know about difference between the living wage and the minimum wage. The living wage is a term used to describe the minimum hourly wage necessary for an individual to meet basic needs, including shelter (housing) and other incidentals such as clothing and nutrition, for an extended period of time or a lifetime (Living wage, Wikipedia). Another definition is that a person who works full time year-round should be able to support a family at least at the poverty line (Clawson). This concept, living wage, differs from...

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