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Surviving on Minimum Wage | IN Close

Jenny: More than ever, Seattle is a city of
income inequality. Gucci purses on one arm, and battered messenger
bags on the other. 20 year old autumn brown has been carrying
this one since high school.>>This is an Americano?
Do you need any room for cream?>>Jenny: Autumn, she’s one of the latte makers,
33 hours a week, and a full time student.>>Right now, I make $11 an hour.
>>Jenny: That’s Seattle’s new minimum wage. Is it enough to survive in this expensive
city?>>I rely a lot on shift meals, food from
work, just kind of food from work, so yes.>>Jenny: Autumn knows thousand stretch a
dollar. She doesn’t go out, cuts her own hair.
>>I’ve been pretty much doing the same thing since high school.
>>Jenny: Like the roughly 100,000 workers in Seattle who make less than $15 an hour,
housing takes the biggest bite out of autumn’s carefully crafted budget.
She shares a house on a busy road near northgate mall with two roommates and a roommate’s 3
year old son.>>It’s $2200 a month.
>>Jenny: That’s doable at $11 an hour.>>It just comes at the price of having so
much on my plate at one time, it’s really stressful, and if I make one mistake, I feel
like it could all just fall apart.>>Jenny: That may already be happening.
>>I drove into a fire hydrant, and now, I owe the city about $3,000.
��>>Jenny: Autumn doesn’t know where that money
is going to come from. Her biggest fear is that she’ll have to drop
out of college and won’t be able to become a web designer.
Imagine if she made the federal minimum wage, $7.25 an hour.
>>Just seems really unfair.>>Jenny: $77 a week.
That’s the national average of what minimum wage workers have to spend on transportation
and food and other life necessities. ��
$77 a week for bread, milk, cereal, oranges, toilet paper, razors, and laundry detergent.
>>And it’s like an alligator jaws that’s just getting wider and wider and people are
being caught in that crunch. 74 ��
>>Reporter: Diana pierce felt set with the real cost of basic needs.
Pierce, a senior lecturer at the university of Washington school of social work has created
an alternative method, which is being used in 37 states.
According to her self sufficiency standard, even Seattle’s minimum wage, the highest in
the country, isn’t a family wage.>>Two adults with a preschool and a school
age in Seattle each have to earn now well over $15 an hour, each of them working full
time year round, just to meet those basic needs, with no extras.
>>If you’re, you know, a low wage worker and you don’t have insurance, things could
snowball very quickly. Housing especially is a big issue.
>>Jenny: Meet Willie fowler. He lives in Everett building planes.
>>The job is like assembly, it’s for Boeing. And pretty much, I do assembly work put in
and gather parts. And I send them all down the line using heavy
power tools.>>Jenny: Fowler lives in Seattle’s queen
Anne neighborhood, in tent city, a homeless camp at Seattle Pacific university.
>>Currently, right now, I work at the tent. So I don’t make a lot of money at all, just
enough to get by. Now, I make 9 bucks.
>>Jenny: The first thing Willie noticed about Seattle when he moved here from Nevada, it’s
tough to get a permanent full time job. Willie was a medic in the military.
>>With my military experience and my background, coming here to Seattle, it wasn’t good enough.
And that was one of the things that I was just sucked about that.
>>Jenny: The second thing Willie noticed, in Seattle, landlords call the shots.
>>First, last month’s rent, a security deposit, a damage deposit, which is different from
the security deposit. If you got pets, they want a pet deposit.
This is where I sleep.>>Jenny: Four years ago, Willie was living
in an apartment with his wife and two stepsons and a baby on the way.
>>And then what really made it hard at the time was when I got let go.
And finally, we ended up getting evicted.>>We, meaning all of us together, pay when
families fall apart.>>Take this out.
>>Jenny: Fast forward to today. Willie is divorced, his baby girl lives with
her mother. Willie and his fiancee are saving up to leave
tent city and Seattle.>>Just recently found out that my significant
other is expecting another one.>>Jenny: Willie believes it will be easier
for him to support his new family some place where the job market isn’t so competitive.
>>I can’t imagine how people that run these businesses can sleep at night, knowing that
their employees are not able to pay their bills.
>>Already, what’s next for you? Anything else for you today?
>>Jenny: Michael McGovern moved to Seattle from Florida because he heard Seattle’s economy
was booming.>>Two egg sandwiches off the grill.
>>Jenny: It’s a bet that’s paid off for him.>>Due to the new contract signing, I saw
approximately a $3 an hour wage increase.>>Jenny: Michael works at Seattle co op in
Capitol Hill, where every employee already makes at least $15 an hour, because of this.
�� Central co op’s general manager took the message
of Martin luther king’s March on Washington to heart.
He also did the math.>>If we think about the $2 that Dr. King
and the other folks were asking for in ’63, and we adjust for inflation, that comes out
to about the $15.36 that we’re offering right now.
>>Jenny: He proposed to offering the highest grocery store wage to employees at the co
op and the others said okay.>>I think our store is one that others need
to hear. It is possible to be sustainable and keep
a thriving business going, and also make sure that you treat people well.
>>Jenny: The raise has allowed Michael and his wife the luxury of dreaming about their
future in Seattle.>>We moved out of an apartment, that was
a one bedroom apartment, and now, we have a house that will allow us to have a family.
And now, we can afford to plan, as opposed to just afford to live.
>>Do you want your receipt? Okay.
I’ll recycle that for you.

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47 thoughts on “Surviving on Minimum Wage | IN Close

  1. Living in a tint. Barely able to survive on the income they have now. WHY WOUKD YOU NOT DO EVERYTHING IN YOUR POWER TO NOT HAVE A CHILD. This is the most selfish thing I could ever imagine… no child should be born into these circumstances. Everyone wants to talk about fair…how is this fair for the child?

  2. Willie needs to invest in some condoms 🤣😂🤣😂🤣 makes for an easier life! How the heck you gon' knock someone up whilst homeless?? And who's the woman who let him? Or is it a ploy to get government housing?🤣🤣


  4. What I don't understand is, people who learn something such as Web Design but don't actually work in the field while they're studying, doing some kind of small freelance side work or whatever. Just gaining experience. It's much harder to find a job once you graduate if you don't have a head start. Anything related to Art, you are already competing with people who have no college education but are skilled autodidacts and know what they're doing.

  5. Willy divorces his first wife and has a kid from her, THEN lives in a tent with his NEW fiance, gets HER pregnant and now has 2 kids to pay child support on when he can't even support himself. What is the matter with people. NO COMMON SENSE what so ever!

  6. 16.00/hour has just been approved and now businesses are shutting the doors or cutting back hours of operation. Why not address the high cost of housing/living?

  7. I’m Muslim and I don’t live with non Muslims , they are poor and dirty and we have clean meals and furniture

  8. Everytime I hear the "amazing " job report in the US, I find it funny they never mention the kind of job, how many jobs people need to work to make ends meet, and what kind of wages……

  9. Learn to cut your own hair/make your own hygiene products/laundry products/do the 52-week challenge/cut down on things that you don't need as far as TV cable/

  10. why work a minimum wage job tho? there are plenty of higher paying jobs out there that don’t require certifications. plus why not work in a more rural area? there are plenty of jobs and cheaper rent in rural areas just go on indeed. use hotpads or zillow for rentals. if you complain about “social isolation” or “rednecks” then you are your own problem. now if you have kids thats a different story tho.

  11. Busters,a country that spent so much money in military and things without sense and no suport the population its a bad country..

  12. Employer's are wanting more from their employees but won't pay more! Hiring positions from my experiences start paying @ $13

  13. No skills worth higher than minimum wage then no pay higher than minimum wage.. get yourself a trade or education then you rate more..

  14. if you are a brain surgeon or janitor does not matter, if what you do for a living is in good supply, you will not be paid well. if there is a shortage of what you do, you will be paid better. a middle class is impossible without a labor shortage.

  15. I live in Ohio and nobody here pays $2200 a month for rent, basically there’s cheaper places you can live besides Washington.

  16. how about surviving on SSI. of 1025.00 monthly. Not complaining but my condo association dues are monthly of 418.00 for nothing. Than mortgage, car, insurance, credit, and what everyone must pay like electr, TV. phone, internet,. Nothing is left. !! But I am considering myself as lucky having a roof over my head.

  17. How can that kid be expected to pay $3,000?? Give her a break she can't do it it was an accident. Is there a go fund me page to help this kid out

  18. I know how she feels. My husband works in wv at Wendy's makes 8.75 hour . I can't work if I do we lose our medical not good with my heart.

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