The Cost of Living

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In honor of Labor Day,  I am compelled by today’s events to share the best coverage of the growing nationwide fast food worker strike:

And finally, for my own connection to this story. I’ve written about it in scattered pieces before, and its certainly no secret that I grew up poor. For a portion of my childhood my family struggled to live on minimum (or near minimum) wage. But the circumstances of my childhood poverty aren’t what pundits would have you believe.

Both of my parents went to college, and for several years before I was born and in very early in my life they lived a life pretty close to the classic picture of the American Dream: my dad worked a job with good benefits and a good salary, they owned their home, my mom even stayed at home with her kids.

Then they got divorced, and my mom, suddenly thrust into the role of sole provider for two very young children,  was forced to work at whatever job she could find to try to support her family. So as a 30-something college-educated mother, she took a low-wage retail store (and a Walmart-like discount store).

She eventually managed to go back to school (while working full time and raising two kids on her own), and has been working as a nurse for about 20 years, but there was a dark stretch of many years where we were one of the thousands (if not millions) of families struggling to survive on the poverty wages and lack of benefits that the wealthiest country in the world saddles some of their hardest working citizens with.

Minimum wage workers are just kids flipping burgers to earn money to take their sweetheart to the soda fountain, they are hard working Americans struggling to keep their heads above water.

Workers rights are basic human rights.

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