Retail Workers Speak: Why Albany Needs to Raise the Minimum Wage

Posted by yana 0 Comments

My name is Bintou Kamara, and I’m a Retail Action Project member from the Bronx.  This week, I went to Albany to lobby my state senators to raise the minimum wage in New York State. Here’s why:

I worked as a retail sales associate at OMG Jeans, a popular chain store in New York City. I only made $7.25 an hour in a very busy store catering to tourists. I was on my feet eight hours a day running around helping customers, restocking shelves, folding clothes, and cleaning fitting rooms and the back of the store.

Because my biggest paychecks only reached $200 every two weeks, I knew that if I stayed at this job, I wouldn’t be able to pay for any college tuition or get an apartment – even with roommates.  I didn’t even have a cell phone because I couldn’t afford it. I had to buy my Metrocards each week – I could never even afford a monthly card to get to work and back. I would skip lunch when I went to work, because I always ran out of money before my next paycheck. My co-workers would sometimes cook food and bring it for everyone, because none of us had enough buy lunch at work.

This is why we need to raise the minimum wage. I deserve to be able to go school, buy a monthly Metrocard, and pay my rent if we work hard.  Unless leaders in Albany stand with retail workers and raise the minimum wage, hard working people will stay in this situation without being able to go to school, take care of their families, or have  a decent life in New York.

Sign here to let Albany know that we need to raise the minimum wage in New York now!

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