Letters: All Workers Deserve A Decent Wage

January 29, 2007

I am a college student who is also working part time in a retail setting. I work because I have to - both to support myself as well as pay for my education. Yet I am paid far under what anyone could call a livable wage. My experience shows that many people, even after graduating college, are unable to find a decent paying job. Many people with Bachelor degrees are only making $9-$10/hour which is not enough to support oneself independently, much less raise a family.

"The Worker" article, "Wages Are Less than the Minimum" showed that in 2004, the basic budget for a family of four was $43,704/year. This is 54% higher than the average worker's income, which was $28,236/year or $16/hour. If the average worker is making less than what is needed to sustain a basic standard of living, how are people earning close to Illinois' minimum wage of $6.50/hour supposed to survive?

Millions of people are condemned to minimum wage and/or part-time jobs. We simply cannot survive. Some are forced to work two or three part-time jobs. We have to rely on our families to help support us. In addition to low wages, part-time workers do not get the same benefits as full-time workers. Many are unable to afford health insurance.

The capitalists try to blame the part-time, low-wage workers themselves for their horrible conditions. The capitalists claim that our jobs are "low skill." But our jobs are a vital part of the economy and we are the ones doing the work of society. The corporations we work for make gigantic profits while we get poverty-level wages.

The superexploitation of part-time and low-wage workers is unacceptable. All workers deserve a wage that they can live on.