Low wage workers: $15/hr is a “living” wage

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – If the House votes in favor and Governor Patrick approves, the minimum wage in Massachusetts will jump from $8 an hour to $11 an hour in three years. However, some workers say it’s not enough.

Only a few more hurdles before the Massachusetts minimum wage rises to $11 an hour in 2017, but some people don’t believe that will lift low wage workers out of poverty.

Kerry Brown, who works at Walmart, told 22News, “$11 an hour in 2017 would be like $8 an hour now.” Workers want $15 an hour, a “living” wage so people don’t have to make tough choices.

“Sometimes we have to make choices whether or not we are going to pay our rent or put food on the table,” Kindalay Cummings Akers told 22News.

Many people told 22News the fast food industry isn’t the only workplace with low wages. They said retail workers, home care assistants and taxi drivers also live on an $8-12 hourly pay.

Brown said, “We in the retail industry are the backbone of the American economy at this point, and many of us in Walmart for example are living on less than $25,000 a year.”

In the post-recession era, some said higher education doesn’t always guarantee high-paying jobs.

Raymond Akers said, “They gotta pay for college. They gotta apply for the loans for college and they have to pay the money back. If they don’t get the job with the high pay they need, it’s going to be rough for them.”

With an $11 an hour minimum wage, there is a concern, that business owners will not be able to afford to hire people.

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