Opinion: Surviving on just above the minimum wage

My name is Josh Griffin and I’ve worked at the McDonald’s on the Tolland Turnpike in Manchester for more than two years. Eventually, I’d like to go back to school to study graphic design, but making less than $10 an hour, just a bit above the minimum wage, I can’t afford to get the training I need to launch a career in graphic design. In fact, money is so tight that I am sometimes forced to go to a food pantry when I can’t afford groceries.

With a spotlight shining on what’s been happening to fast food workers, everybody has our backs. Elected officials like President Barack Obama and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, and most Americans, all agree that the system is broken. The rich stay rich as the rest of struggle. Connecticut’s current minimum wage, $8.70, is not enough to live on. Low wages hurt our economy.

Not only are our wages too low to live on, but we also know we are being cheated. Every day fast food companies steal workers’ wages in lots of ways: having us work off the clock or not paying us for our overtime to name just a few.

I have experienced wage theft frequently on the job. There have been days where I have not been given a break, but when I see my check at the end of the week, that half an hour of pay was stolen from me. It’s also the little stuff, like when the managers ask me to hand out orders once I’ve already clocked out. I am working for free for McDonald’s during that time. Things like this happen almost every day to my coworkers and me. I know workers who work at multiple locations under the same owner working more than 40 hours a week between both stores, and are afraid of demanding overtime for fear of losing their needed hours.

Josh Griffin works at McDonald’s in Manchester.

See the complete story at CT News Junkie.


4 responses to “Opinion: Surviving on just above the minimum wage”

  1. John Hamlin

    There’s an army of plaintiffs lawyers ready to take on the most tenuous wage and hour claims against employers. Mr Griffin should seek out one of them and get redress for any legitimate claims. The system as it is set up already has a solution for wage theft.

  2. the donut hole

    another brainwashed [person]. sad.

    (This comment has been edited to comply with our policy against name calling.)

  3. LWitherspoon

    @Josh Griffin
    I’m sorry to hear of your difficulties and admire your drive to improve your earning potential through education.
    I hope you’ve considered taking advantage of one of the many free online courses and tutorials related to graphic design. The cost is zero and the hours are completely flexible. There are also inexpensive books designed to serve as a tutorial for someone who has zero experience. I believe that if you devote yourself to learning as much as you can from these free and low-cost resources, you will eventually be able to land an entry-level job which offers the opportunity to learn more and eventually you will move on to bigger and better things.
    Here is one guide to free resources online:
    I’m sure there are many other free online educational resources related to graphic design.
    Good luck and don’t ever give up.

  4. piberman

    Low wages have never been enough to “live on”. If McDonalds isn’t your cup of tea move on. The American Dream is secured by getting better jobs, sometimes holding two jobs, getting better schooling at night and never quitting. When I started out as a lumber stevedore on the Brooklyn docks many decades ago the union wage was $1.35 an hour. No one ever came to work late nor ever left early. And if you got hurt on the job and needed time off there were no sick days. Many of my co-workers were literally “fresh off the boat” speaking little English. Guys actually managed to support their families on that wage. But they couldn’t afford a car, a real vacation, good medical care for their kids and literally lived from paycheck to paycheck. Keeping the landlord happy. And they usually died working on the job. As a youngster “working my way up” I never knew anyone who had actually lived long enough to retire. Or anyone who actually had a real savings account. And I never ever heard any of my co-workers working on the docks amidst bitter winter winds ever complain that life was “unfair” or suggest that “government should do something”. They were real glad to have a job, especially a union job. No matter how unfairly they were treated or how tough the “yard boss”. And when the War started these tough guys often not educated beyond 6th grade volunteered. By the millions all across America. And never complained afterwards. They loved America – the land of opportunity. And didn’t complain about life being “unfair” or being treated “unfairly”.

    Today’s generation is different. They have high expectation and demands for the “good life’. And they complain. They can’t possibly imagine the sheer hardship of what it was like just decades ago starting up from the bottom. Without government or anyone else to provide real assistance. No work, no eat was a great motivater. On those cold winter days my buddies and I sure would have liked a MacDonald’s fast food job. But we were grateful for the job we had. After all every morning there were guys showing up at the “line up” looking for work. That was a really great motivator. Someone else right you looking for work. So when you got hurt on the job you kept working. It was the “Ameican Way”.

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