“I value my job. I take pride in my job,” said one striking worker, Melanie, while walking the worn picket-path in front of Cheshire Homes. Unfortunately, she’s finding proof now that her employer doesn’t value her.
After a month on strike, 35 staff members at Cheshire are still out in the cold.
“I feel lucky that I love going to work everyday. I like all my coworkers, and I feel like I make a real difference in the resident’s lives here,” Melanie said. “But I’ve had to seriously think about quitting my job.”
Raising her seven-year-old daughter alone, Melanie describes herself as “working poor.”
“I want to give my daughter all the advantages that I had growing up,” she said. “But with the wages we get paid here, I’ve had to work two jobs. I’ve had to work seven days-a-week. I’ve had to make a lot of sacrifices to make ends meet.”
Melanie and her coworkers know that Cheshire Homes received nearly $100,000 to increase the wages of the underpaid employees—but they’ve had to hit the picket lines to see any of the money owed to them.
“That’s what hurts the most,” said Melanie. “We shouldn’t have to fight so hard for something that is rightfully ours.”
Melanie and her coworkers continue their four-hour daily shifts on the picket line, after four weeks in the freezing weather. “We work hard to make other people’s lives better,” she said. “Who is supposed to care about the quality of our lives?”