Dear Next President, 10/3/2016
In being a Courtesy Clerk at the Kroger grocery store, I have learned that just because I may do a very good job and work very hard, I’m not going to be rewarded with that as the basis of my revenue. I’m paid the Federal Minimum Wage established by the United States. Many Kroger Courtesy Clerks feel the same way that I do. We feel like we aren’t being paid enough for the tasks that we have to complete, we aren’t being respected, and we aren’t being acknowledged regardless of how we feel. I strongly encourage a raise in the Federal Minimum Wage of the United States because it would greatly increase the tolerance of the people who are paid according to it and it would encourage more people to earn positions that are paid the Minimum Wage.
Dating back to May of 2016, I applied for the Bagger position at Kroger. The woman who hired me was very encouraging and supportive about me getting the job, but looking back at it today, I can’t help but feel like she was putting on a facade to try to get me to work there before I realized it would turn out to be my worst nightmare. All Minimum Wage workers period have many tasks that we have to complete which makes it especially hard for me on the days when I have to work after school since I’m already so exhausted. We must bring in carts from outside for at least an hour, which is very physically demanding and certain people struggle with this task due to problems with their back. I had to get a back brace because of the great pain it was causing me, It also doesn’t help that I’m only given 15 minutes breaks and sometimes my boss wouldn’t even give me my break because we were so busy. I couldn’t really do anything about it because she had claimed it was a responsibility of my job. I have also been disrespected by customers and even staff members, which is absolutely unacceptable, especially for the rigorous tasks I perform.
According to The New York Times reporter, Michael Gonchar who published an article on minimum wage employees, other people across the US feel the same way I do about minimum wage. 26 year old single mother, Rita Diaz has been working two jobs just trying to support her children and herself. She’s had to miss out on educational opportunities because of her priorities. At her minimum wage paying position at Popeye's fast food restaurant, she would only be paid $8 an hour. That alone wouldn’t be enough to pay for rent, let alone necessities for her family. Rita also didn’t have a car, so she would have to pay for carpool. Diaz stated, “I need to make a decision to buy clothes, or pay the rent or pay my phone bill. If my hourly pay was raised from $8 to $9, life would be easier.” Rita is making the exact same point as I am. We would love to be paid more because it would really help us out and encourage us to become more lenient when problems arise.
However, If the US’ Minimum Wage is increased, businesses would have to pay more to their workers. Businesses wouldn’t be making as much money as they would have been making before, so some adjustments would have to be made. Some businesses could potentially fail if they aren’t financially prepared for this increase and that could cause a change in the economy, which could create some major problems, but if all goes well, some good results could present themselves. The economy could actually grow and that would create more jobs and more employed people could earn more money which could really benefit themselves and the US. With the increase of money, the taxes could even be raised a little bit, but not too high because nobody wants that. The government could really benefit from a tax raise since it could help pay off some of the US’ debt.
So future president, what will you do since I’ve expressed myself and the voices of many others suffering at the will of $7.25 an hour? Will you increase the minimum wage and make many people’s lives better? Or will you choose to ignore this letter and proceed with your very busy schedule? Either are understandable, but you know what I’m getting at and an opportunity to discuss with you further what changes could possibly be made would really be great. Thank you for your time.