By Nicole Hodgkiss, Certified Nursing Assistant
I’ve been working as a CNA at a nursing home in Waterville, Maine for 6 years. I live in Winthrop with my sister, who works as a hair stylist. At my job, I take care of elderly people and residents that live on a psych unit. It’s important, exhausting work – emotionally and physically taxing. Yet, over 6 years I’ve received a total raise of a dollar. I now make $10.35 per hour. The wage I make as a CNA doesn’t recognize the skill or commitment that I bring to my work, and it’s obvious that there’s really no opportunity for me to move up the wage scale. It would be impossible for me to support myself on my own or even dream of raising a family on 10.35/hour. I’d like to go on in my medical training but I’m not sure how on a low-wage that I would be able to afford it. I know there are a lot of women in the same situation as me. For me and for my family, a minimum wage increase to $12 (or more) would be a shot at making ends meet. It would mean that my work, and my mom’s work (she too is a CNA) was recognized and valued.
Reprinted with permission from Mainers For Fair Wages.