I’ve been a cook at Chipotle for three months. I work 2 jobs and do construction work under-the-table. So basically, I wear myself out. I’m looking to work one job, 8-10 hours a day, where I don’t have to worry if I’m going to have it or not next week. I’m trying to make a living wage. I don’t want a lot of money. I just want enough to live comfortably and shouldn’t have to burn myself out.
Last year a police car hit me and messed up my back and leg. At the time I was working at IHOP and Denny’s. Denny’s fired me when I was still unable to work after a couple weeks. IHOP fired me when I asked for two days off to take my GED. After that, I lost everything. I had to come home to my parent’s house to get back on my feet. Cause I refuse to starve. I’ve got talent. And that’s when I took the job down at the Inner Harbor.
I’ve been at the harbor for 3 months. I’m making peanuts, even though I work nearly 40 hours a week. I took a hell of a pay cut, but I need to survive. You can see the difference and I have a child to support. And little girls are expensive. It’s not what I deserve.
It’s basically unfair. The harbor is a big tourist attraction. You work hard. Some people are still making minimum wage. Dishwasher or not, you should be making a living wage of $12.25 or better. For the developers to be bringing in all this money, and we’re basically seeing nothing. They’ve got the money to pay us good, but they don’t want to. I don’t know why. It ain’t like they’re struggling. The harbor is probably bringing in millions of dollars a week and you’re telling me you can’t split that with the workers to help everyone live comfortably? And it ain’t like the work is easy. I feel as though we are getting pimped. I worked at a place that wasn’t a tourist attraction and I was getting paid more than I am now.
I’m not even making double digits. My wage is peanuts and it’s not enough to live off of. Y’all can pay us better than this. Y’all can treat us better than this. It’s not hard. The company’s got the cash. The employees got the endurance. So why can’t you pay us what we are worth?
When I came to the harbor, I thought I’ll be outta here in three to four months. I’m in my 3rd month now and I’m going to be here for a while still. I’ve got some change saved up, but not enough to pay for everything—the water bills, the gas, electricity, security deposit and first month’s rent.
But if we all raise our voice together, they ain’t got no other choice but to listen. Our voice will bring awareness and it will be heard and it’s gonna cause a chain reaction, and when that starts it can’t be stopped.