In the wake of recent reports that found Subway had more wage violations than any other company, the attentive consumer may begin to wonder if this is simply a well calculated PR move, but from an employee’s perspective, this is great news for anyone who advocates for a minimum-wage increase.
I am a high school student and have been working at the local Subway in Lexington, TX, for almost a year now, and anyone who knows me will say that it has become a distinct part of my personality. The number of times my job comes up in casual conversation is alarming, but it happens so fast. There is not a single statement in the English language that I cannot directly link to an experience I had at Subway. The fast food chain has taken over my life from both a professional and social perspective.
The one thing we all have in common at Subway is the one thing we all lack: money. Some of us are looking to save money for college or just to have some so they have money to spend and put back in the economy, but the ones who stick with me are the ones who have a family to support and do it by working a minimum-wage job.
I have learned more about the national welfare system by working at Subway than I have in school or anywhere else.
Every adult that works with me at Subway is on food stamps. I know for a fact that two of them are enrolled in Medicaid. These three adults all work 40 hours a week, are married, and have children. On Wednesdays when our paychecks are supposed to be dropped off at the restaurant, the three of them gather in the lobby to wait together, each one of them praying that the checks get here before the bank closes their checking accounts don’t get overdrawn.
Why is working at Subway any less important than being a prison guard, teacher’s aid, or police dispatcher? Those jobs all pay around $10.00 an hour. Is working at Subway easier than any of those? Are those jobs overpaid too? But is $7.25 enough for my co-workers who have families to support?
$10.10 is a living wage. Every American worker deserves enough money to pay rent, buy food, and keep their house in order if they work a full-time job. This is a promise our country has made to every American, and a raise in the minimum wage upholds this promise.
Cody Church is a student at Lexington High School in Lexington, TX. He will be attending the University of Texas at Austin in the Fall and will major in Public Relations.