Lack of living wage

Friday, August 10, 2018 4:43PM
To the editor:

Fifty years are in the past and wages are still not a topic for discussion amongst many in business and politicians and candidates. Really? How many more decades and generations does our society expect people to just bow down and accept a lack of a livable wage?

While people work full weeks to not bring home enough money to adequately support themselves and their families our country keeps accepting those at the top to keep gaining more and more money. Some of those monies are our monies, money the government has deemed as necessary to fill the empty spaces in wealthy people’s pockets. Never mind the severe gaps in others’ pockets.

Fifty years ago people were afraid to fight for better wages as they did not want to lose their jobs. Well, one group of women lost their jobs within three years when their company closed. No decent pay then, no jobs period. Today our students are taking on heavy debt to gain that college degree for the dream of obtaining a good paying career job. In following my dream, my debt of the 1970s was several dollars a month paid every three months for ten years. Today students have hundreds of dollars a month to pay monthly for their loans. How do we expect them to want to keep chasing the education dream for a better life when they have a $1,500 a month debt and trying to find an affordable apartment. Affordable apartment sounds good and would be good without the exorbitant monthly college debt payment. They need automobiles and how do they seriously think about home purchase and matrimony? If there are two people together they can combine incomes but what of all the single people. They work low paying jobs until years later they might be able to afford more.

Not only business people, politicians and candidates now some of the candidates staff are saying we cannot consider a livable wage, just work on raising the minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage is good for many of our citizens, however, we are ignoring all those people who worked hard for years whether in a two year or a four year college while taking on a massive debt and they are taking low paying jobs in order to obtain a job. Not all students have to walk this path but too many travel the slippery road trying to get a decent job with a livable wage.

Just this month there was a several companies large job fair at their factories in Keene. I was told there are not people to fill those jobs and the companies do not want to pay fair wages. Fair wages to whom the businesses or the employees? No workers? Who is training for what we need? What happened to all the community college graduates? If workers need to be trained for companies’ specific needs what happened to paid internships which can be between companies and workers? Are jobs undesirable and people want better positions? Dialog needs to happen now, wages need to increase. Without a movement forward we will stay in this pit for more years and years, a resolution cannot happen without all parties at the table having a meaningful discussion with strategic planning.

Fixing our fraught educational system, jobs that entice people and sincere business dedication to correct our inadequate wage system are necessary to combat this issue. No longer can we expect and demand that workers spend their lives in inadequately paid work which does not address the high cost of their higher educational learning and the cost of being able to live here in beautiful New Hampshire. Working on raising the minimum wage is only one part of the equation and to work only on that piece is a discredit to those of us who strive for a brighter future for us and our families through education.

Kath Allen