CCI Staffers #LivetheWage

 “I remember wanting more, wanting to do better and regretting the time I was missing with my children. But, in order to provide some of the basic needs, it took all three jobs to do it and you go into survival mode.”

CCI Action Fund staffer Sharon Zanders-Ackiss remembers a time in her life that was parallel to what many minimum wage earners are facing today.  Right now, someone who works full time on the minimum wage earns only $290 a week – after housing costs and taxes, that breaks down to just $77 a week to spend on food and transportation.

Imagine feeding your family and living your normal life on that budget. For many, it is not a world to be imagined, but a daily reality.

It’s time to raise the wage. Sign the petition to Raise the Wage, right now!

On September fourth the Raise the Wage Coalition (CCI Action Fund is a member) asked members of the state legislature and Congress to participate in the week-long Live the Wage Challenge.

Those who take the “challenge” commit to live on $77 for the week on food, transportation and recreational spending.

We asked our legislators to take the challenge, so we figured we should commit to walking in the shoes of a minimum wage earner as well.

“If you believe that someone can live off $7.25 hour, then you have never made that type of wage or maybe, like me, you may have forgotten what it was like.  Life is not a fair distributor of financial advantages.  There are many of us who have had to work hard to make ends meet.  But at what price does it cost?  Missing out on some of the most formative years of our children lives, relying on others to “fill” in for you?  Who’s raising our children while we go to job one, two and three?  And what financial support do we have if we get sick?  I had no benefits.   If you haven’t been there, try it.  One week is nothing compared to what seemed like a lifetime.”

We are living the wage for an extremely short time and then we can go back to our normal lives in terms of spending and budget, but we think it’s important to make a deeper commitment and be able to understand better what folks who live on the minimum wage go through, as we are working for a minimum wage increase in Iowa

Five CCI Action staff committed to take the “challenge” – Karla Bromwell, Sharon Zanders-Ackiss, Jess Mazour, Emily Harmon and Bridget Fagan.

This week (September 15-21) Karla and Sharon will be participating. Next week (September 22-28) Emily and Bridget will be participating; and Jess will be participating September 29-October 5.

You will be able to track our progress the whole time! Just check out the Storify page for a real time look at how we are handling the #LivetheWage challenge.

If YOU want to take the live the wage challenge, please let us know. We need to spread the word to our elected officials that Iowa families can’t live on $7.25 anymore.

Here is a bit more background on the Action Fund staffers who have committed to #LivetheWage:

Karla Bromwell is single and spends way too much money eating and drinking out.  She’s been the Membership and Database Coordinator at Iowa CCI since July 2013.

Sharon Zanders-Ackiss is married and has two children and six grandchildren. She has been employed with Iowa CCI since 1994.

Bridget Fagan is a life-long Iowan. She’s been a fair economy organizer at CCI/CCI Action since December 2012.

Emily Harmon has no kids, a boyfriend who always chides her spending habits, and a terrible addiction to spending too much money on coffee. She’s been working at Iowa CCI since April of this year.

Jess Mazour was born and raised in Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University.  She has been a Farm and Environment Organizer with Iowa CCI since May 2012.

It’s time to raise the wage. Sign the petition to Raise the Wage! Click LIKE and TWEET to spread the word to #RaisetheWage! 



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