Sunday, December 26, 2010

Wyoming Women's Foundation wants stories by women struggling to reach economic self-sufficiency

I was talking to a part-time coworker a few days before Christmas. Her full-time job is as a waitress at a restaurant that we shall call ApplebeesPerkinsChilisTexasRoadhouseOutback, etc. She makes $2.13 an hour and looks to make more -- much more -- in tips. On the last day she worked during the “Season of Giving,” she made a buck in tips during the entire shift. For her eight hours, she made $17. This will pay for a half tank of gas, if current prices hold steady..

Tipped workers have their work cut out for them. Sure, on good nights they make more than the $7.25/hour federal minimum wage. If they don’t, their employer is supposed to make up the difference. Most don’t, because there is no enforcement.

Wyoming's legislatively-mandated minimum wage is $5.15/hour. We are tied with Georgia as the state with the lowest minimum wage. Good to see that Wyoming is trying to keep up with the Georgians. Or vice versa. At least Wyorgia has a minimum wage requirement. Five Southern states have none. They include Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina and Louisiana. The Feds can’t mandate that states adhere to a minimum wage. They would be told “it’s none of your cotton-pickin’ business what we pay our slaves employees.”

Such good company we keep.

The Wyoming Women’s Foundation is looking for stories from women struggling to make ends meet. Here’s the announcement:

The Wyoming Women’s Foundation announces the launch of a new project designed to help raise awareness of the barriers women face in achieving economic self-sufficiency in Wyoming.

We are seeking to learn about the life of workers who earn minimum wage in Wyoming. Are you earning minimum wage? (The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour).What kind of job do you have? Are you able to make ends meet with that wage? How? We will be asking how your wage impacts you life and that of your family.

We will also specifically be looking for information from Wyomingites who rely on tipped wages. Are your tipped wages enough to get you by and are you aware of the tipped offset? We encourage you to check the WYWF facebook page to share your story. If you would prefer your information remains anonymous and not posted publically, please email us at or call 307-250-0479. Your information will be kept confidential, unless you agree to let us share your story.

Please join the conversation! We want to hear from you so that we can maximize the number of women in Wyoming that have achieved economic self-sufficiency!

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