Rosario de la Cruz, left, translates for Barbara Hunter, right, as she talked about the importance of the Fight for $15.
My name is Barbara Hunter. I’m a single mom of two. I work for the City of Riverside, and I am a proud union member of SEIU Local 721. I want to tell you why I support the National Fight for $15 and why I think we need it here in the Inland region and Southern California.
I make just a little more than $15 an hour, and it’s a struggle for me to make ends meet. Every week I have to make difficult choices about where to spend my hard earned money. The price of gas, milk, and healthcare – they all keep going up.
If I’m struggling as a City employee and union member, I know that many families in our community are too. And it’s not just about fast food workers either. Low wage jobs without benefits or pensions affect us all. If we as a community allow businesses and corporations to pay poverty-level wages, we can’t be surprised when people are working full-time and are unable to make ends meet.
Just imagine if $15 an hour was the law in California? Just for a moment…imagine it.
What more could you and your families do for yourselves? And it’s not just about buying things. Families that are earning a living wage can help reduce dependence on county social services, federal subsidies and other government assistance programs. Our local economy will grow too. We will be able to buy that milk and gas up our cars and maybe even afford to send our kids to a sports or art camp.
Our community will succeed when working families can move away from surviving paycheck to paycheck. As a community, we need to imagine that happening and work to make it a reality.
Please join me, and thousands of others, on April 15 as we march together in Los Angeles and New York, to demand $15 hour. We want our elected leaders to know we are united in stopping the disappearance of the middle class and in raising the wage level for all of us.
We are stronger when we work together with the same vision for our community.
Just imagine it…I can.
– Barbara Hunter, Riverside Public Utilities Field Service Assistant and SEIU 721 City of Riverside Chapter Secretary
Barbara Hunter gave her speech at a Family Resource Fair on March 11, 2015, at the Arlanza Family Health Clinic in Riverside. SEIU 721 joined several other community partners in hosting this free event for the community.
Click here or below to view a slideshow of the event.