We have heard much discussion in our politics about the 1 percent and the rest of us. (Actually, a lot of attention has also been drawn to the .01 percent.). So,it is not surprising to see workers striking for higher pay. In particular,I would like to focus on a story about federal contract workers who feed our Congress members, clean and do other jobs and are struggling to support themselves and their families.
DC Strike Drives Home The Point: More Than The Minimum For Federal Workers
As Laura Clawson reported at Daily Kos, several hundred government contract workers in Washington held a strike Thursday to protest their low wages. Led by Good Jobs Nation, they are calling for a higher minimum wage and allow the workers to unionize.
Five members from the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) joined government contract workers who shared their struggles to make ends meet on their hourly salaries to call for a higher minimum wage and allow the workers to unionize.
Joseph Geevarghese, director of Good Jobs Nation, said:
“In red states, and blue states alike, Americans voted to pass ballot measures to raise wages and improve working conditions. Brothers and sisters, our president kicked off the national movement to raise wages when he signed the executive order to raise wages for low wage workers. Before the ink on the order was dry, CEOs from companies like the GAP, IKEA and Disney followed the president’s example and raised pay for their workers. Not only that, but the mayors of cities such as New York, Chicago and Philadelphia followed the executive order to raise wages for their contract workers.”
“Is $10.10 enough to raise your family? Is $10.10 enough to chase the American Dream?”
Thomas Jones, a worker in the Capitol said,
I’m a contract worker for the US Capitol. I cook meals for congressmen, lobbyists, and the workers upstairs. but the workers in the basement live in poverty. i’m going on six years [at this job] and struggling to get by on $12 an hour. I have a dream of getting married and raising a family. I’ve done all the right things. Mr President, we are calling for good jobs and a union.
Poverty is a great problem in this country. I believe that people deserve a living wage for a day of work. Many people, including myself, have struggled in this economy.
Also, we should not forget that poverty leads to many other problems -- substance abuse, depression, violence, and crime. I agree with the saying in the Talmud that of all the evils of this world, poverty is the worst as it breeds all others.
We have to decide as a nation if we want all of our citizens to live with dignity or if we really shall have two Americas, with the poorer America growing in size while the wealthier America grows in riches and power. In the end, the future is up to us.
To quote Hillel, "If I am not for myself, who will be. If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?"
We must never underestimate our power to act for the good in this world. It is perhaps the greatest power that we have as human beings in this nation and this world.
Bonus click: I recently found a story on how the .01 percent now control 22 percent of our wealth
. Let's remember that the inequality of the Roaring 20s and the speculation of that era lead to the Great Depression. I hope that we prove wiser than our forebears.