Fat and Not Afraid

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Raise the Wage

January 22, 2014

Let's get a few things out of the way; I'm 29, mom of two, university educated, (I have a BA and an additional certificate) and am working for barely above minimum wage roughly 40 hours a week at two part-time jobs. I've worked part time most of my life at minimum wage, so let's pretend I know what I'm talking about.

This graphic came up on my FB feed yesterday and some good discussion ensued:

The day before I had the pleasure of needing to go find this article and share it as well, highlighting how us Gen Y or Gen X folks, I forget which one I am in my old age, ha ha, are not actually lazy and unmotivated, the economy is actually crap and the jobs we need just aren't there. Part time is the best you can hope for, which means no job security, no benefits, no paid vacation and of course, minimum wage. In Ontario the minimum is currently $10.25, one of the highest in the country, but when you compare how the minimum wage has grown next to inflation, or university tuition, and you'll quickly see the enormous problem.

The money isn't there. The jobs aren't there. So what are we supposed to do? The degrees we were promised would bring us the Good Jobs aren't worth the paper they're written on; I've never even bothered to frame or hang mine, despite the ridiculous amount of money I paid for them,

nevermind all the years of effort, time and travel. When I went to teacher's college I was told I'd have to wait 3 to 5 years for a full time teaching position; in the meantime I'd be expected to work as a waitress or at another evening job so I could be available during the day *just in case* a school called me and needed a substitute. Maybe I'd get really lucky and someone would go off on maternity leave and I'd get a year contract. Ten years later and the wait for a full time teacher's position is nearly 7 years. This is in part because retired teachers are coming back and doing substitute work, and partially because there just aren't enough positions for all the people who wanted to be teachers, including myself.

 The minimum wage has lagged behind inflation and tuition and if we ever want to see the gap between the rich and the poor close we need to raise the wage. It also wouldn't hurt at ALL to freeze tuition again, or hell, just make post secondary school free like it is in Ireland and many Scandinavian countries. Raising the wage makes sense on a social justice level, an economic level and a health level; people with money and job security eat better, are less stressed and depressed, and they have the spare income to do things like save for a house or buy a car or just go out to the movies once in a while. It would help the economy a LOT for people to have disposable income and not be living paycheque to paycheque, which 60% of Canadians are. Big corporations like Walmart and Tim Hortons can afford to pay their workers more without raising their prices. The corporate ideology of MORE needs to die in a fire; profits before people isn't sustainable and it sure as hell isn't fair.


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