Billy Villa, Custodian
I’m talking about those of us who work for large employers but are making meager wages. I’ve been a custodian at University of Colorado Boulder for about 2 years now, yet I cannot afford to live in the city I work in. I commute at least an hour a day because the rents in Boulder are just too high.
I’m almost sixty and I have to live with my brother and his wife, because I cannot afford to live on my own. Each month, I am just one paycheck away from being broke. That’s why I’ve been looking for a second job to help me pay my bills.People think that working for the state you get a good wage and great benefits, but that’s not true. I’m one of the nearly 3000 state workers who make less than a living wage and struggle to make ends meet.
Each month, I volunteer at a food bank. Sometimes when we have extra food I bring it in to share with my coworkers here at CU. Sometimes it’s a bag of peppers, other times it’s potatoes or pasta. The bag is always gone by the end of the day, because people I work with need help to feed their families.
Right now, we’re asking the University to take care of all its employees by paying us a living wage of $15/hour. There are many custodians, groundskeepers and student workers who need this help. CU Boulder is a leader among universities and I believe it can set the standard for Colorado by raising its minimum wage to $15/hour.
Reprinted with permission from Colorado State Employees Fight for $15.