Stories from Maine Workers
Over 159,000 Mainers, would directly benefit from increasing the minimum wage to $12 an hour. More than 70% are women, many of whom are mothers trying to provide for their families. These numbers include tens of thousands of highly-skilled EMTs, firefighters, and elderly and disabled care providers who are paid less than $12 an hour for doing absolutely essential work. Here are a few of the stories of Mainers living on the front lines of a low-wage economy:
No matter how I tried there was no way I could afford $900 to $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. At one point, I was evicted and had to stay in the homeless shelter for a while until we could get help with a down payment for an apartment. The whole time I was working full time. Read Katie's full story.
At my job, I take care of elderly people and residents that live on a psych unit. It’s important, exhausting work – emotionally and physically taxing. The wage I make as a CNA doesn’t recognize the skill or commitment that I bring to my work, and it’s obvious that there’s really no opportunity for me to move up the wage scale. Read Nicole's full story.
Despite working full time putting food on the tables in my restaurant, I, and many women working for tips in this state, struggle to put food on our own tables. And when your wage is totally unreliable, you can never save, you can never anticipate what you’ll make, you can never spend a little extra this week knowing that you’ll make it up with the next paycheck. Read Heather's full story.
I’ve worked retail jobs at big box stores on and off for many years. I currently work two part time jobs at close to minimum wage, plus I help my parents with their business. With these three jobs, I still don’t make enough to get by. To me, economic fairness means that no one gets left behind; that everyone has equal opportunities for job advancement, decent pay, adequate recognition for a job well-done, and decent benefits. Read Brandy's full story.
I was considered a dangerous woman by my country's government, so with my life in danger, I had to flee to Maine in 2007. I work as a home care worker. My job is to help people, and they need strong, good people who are alert and ready to help them. I work 48 hours a week, in a job that is hard and stressful, but I still don’t make enough to pay all my bills. Read Adelaide's full story.
Serving has been my career. But it has wreaked havoc on my back and knees, and I feel I have nothing to show for it. I have no retirement, no security. I have enjoyed my jobs, and I often made enough to get by, but now am wondering if it was all worth it. This referendum would give tipped workers stability, it would allow us the opportunity to save and prepare for slow seasons, which can come at unexpected times. Read Lonnie's full story.