Support women in Maine- increase minimum wage

"I've worked at this particular location at near-minimum wage for 2 years. Only part-time, though — so I can be home with my two young children during the day so my husband can work full time. Despite the pay, I'm happy to be there. The hours and schedule are flexible, and I've met some amazing people. Without my husband's career, however, it wouldn't be possible for me to work there. If you account for the travel and food, I don't contribute much financially. Without Joshua's career, We'd be obligated to seek state help, and I'd be working double-triple the hours to make ends meet. Like so many other Mainers, We live on a budget — more so during the winter. My job is one I'm grateful to have; even if the pay is modest. We balance and make do for ourselves, and our children. Growing up, I was always told to work hard and get the career I wanted. Go to college, earn a career that you're proud of. But, What's completely flawed about that is the implication that a minimum wage job isn't something to be proud of."-Sarah Giles

“I’ve worked at this particular location at near-minimum wage for 2 years. Only part-time, though — so I can be home with my two young children during the day so my husband can work full time. Despite the pay, I’m happy to be there. The hours and schedule are flexible, and I’ve met some amazing people. Without my husband’s career, however, it wouldn’t be possible for me to work there. If you account for the travel and food, I don’t contribute much financially. Without Joshua’s career, We’d be obligated to seek state help, and I’d be working double-triple the hours to make ends meet.
Like so many other Mainers, We live on a budget — more so during the winter. My job is one I’m grateful to have; even if the pay is modest. We balance and make do for ourselves, and our children.
Growing up, I was always told to work hard and get the career I wanted. Go to college, earn a career that you’re proud of. But, What’s completely flawed about that is the implication that a minimum wage job isn’t something to be proud of.”-Sarah Giles

By Katie Logue, Auburn

There are so many ways that the economy is rigged against women and families and I have seen the impacts first-hand.

A few years ago, I was a single mom struggling to make ends meet, making slightly more than the minimum wage ($8 per hour) and trying to support myself and my 6-year-old after my marriage failed.

My son and I were on food stamps and MaineCare, even though I was working full time. No matter how hard I tried to find appropriate housing, there was no way I could afford $900-$1,000 a month for rent.

I had a car payment for a car that wasn’t even safe but was my only way to get to work. Even after I finally saved enough to get an apartment, it was impossible to keep up with the bills.

At one point, after being evicted, I was living in a homeless shelter while working full time to save enough to get another apartment.

I know that I am not the only one who has struggled to support my family on poverty wages. I also know that this issue affects women much more than men.

The majority of minimum-wage workers are women, many of us supporting families. Here in Maine, women still earn, on average, just 84 percent of what our male counterparts earn.

It is time for a change. In January, the Legislature will consider citizen-initiated legislation to increase Maine’s minimum wage. Lawmakers and voters should stand with Maine women and support it.

First appeared in the Sun Journal.

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