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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 10, 2014 at 7:05 AM

Addressing the burdens that often accompany minimum wage work

I was excited to see someone finally address the $15 an hour minimum wage debate and discuss low-wage workers aside from fast-food workers [“Minimum-wage proposal a $15 paradox for the poor,” Local News, Feb. 25].

Don’t get me wrong, I have worked in fast food and I have nothing but respect and care for people in that field. But I hadn’t heard anything about my colleagues in the shelters and community mental-health agencies around town until columnist Danny Westneat brought up this issue.

Many of us work for poverty wages with the added burdens of brutally high student loans. Many of us are starting families. Quite a few have been in the field a long time and have expensive chronic health issues ourselves. We love our work and our clients. We don’t want to leave. But many of us are forced to because we just can’t afford to stay.

Maybe next time Westneat can interview a “Seattle treasure” who actually works with vulnerable people for poverty-level wages. Then he might get a more creative and respectful answer than false dichotomy of paying workers decently or striping a lifesaving service away from our city’s most disadvantaged neighbors.

Jennifer Schladweiler, Seattle

Comments | More in minimum wage | Topics: Danny Westneat, Jennifer Schladweiler, Minimum Wage

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