Americans need fair wages, including Jessamine County

Published 2:22 pm Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Among the many hot topics in the county right now, is the urgency at city hall and the courthouse to pay government workers and first responders a decent wage. I have covered this topic in many recent articles and may have even mentioned it in a column or two since the beginning of my time here, a year and a half ago now.
Over the last several months, I have not only heard the discussion at local government meetings regarding the need to increase salaries in the county, but I have been approached by many people off the street who are tired of the cutbacks and sick of not making enough money. Again, this week I was approached by another person, and I found it ironic when I went to gather information our “Looking Back” feature on page 6 that 10 years ago in 2009 all the headlines on the front page of the Jessamine Journal were all about the recession.
My favorite, I must say, was one which read, “Governments effected, not crippled by recession.” The article goes on to say that Jessamine County officials, “say that the national economic recession has had an effect on their budgets, but nothing extensive enough to cause any panic while going through next year’s budgetary process.”
Hmmm, that seems a little backward from what actually happened and what sounds like is still happening today. Countywide and countrywide, Americans all over the world are standing up and trying to make their voice heard over the politicians who keep telling us the recession is over. Over for who? Corporate America owners who employees all the workers? Because last I checked, my wallet has yet to get any fatter.
I have to say, I feel the cutbacks and wage issues still 10 years later like many residents here in the county do. Like many first responders, city and county workers and all other employed individuals in the county, I think the president and corporate America would be shocked to see what the majority of us are still making and working through just trying to make an honest wage in today’s society. Like many, I struggled through the great recession right as my husband and I were starting our family and had just bought our first home. We’ve worked multiple jobs at once throughout the years just trying to make ends meet, and in fact, I don’t remember the last time just working one job was enough to feed our family and keep up with our bills. Does anyone in the county have this luxury? If you do, I’d love to hear from you and how you do it.
All I have known in my adult life is a constant battle between not making enough, and the stress that I never will, even though I feel like I am killing myself trying. So, believe me when I say, “I feel ya, Jessamine County.” Still, I know we are all looking around at one another asking the same silent question. When is it ever going to change? Or will it?
I am glad to see that the city and county are looking at ways to increase revenue for its workers. But when all of it is calculated, most of the city/county employees make the same if not more than I do at my current job, and I know the same goes for most of you all as well out on the streets busting your butt and trying your hardest. I think what this country needs is an increase in wages for all workers.
I must say, some corporations have it right and not all are holding out on blessing its hard workers with a decent wage. I just saw a sign yesterday saying Hobby Lobby was hiring full-time workers for $16 an hour, with full benefits and a Christmas bonus! Someone else recently told me that McDonald’s is hiring workers for $10 an hour. That’s only $1 less an hour than I made when I first landed a job here in the state two years ago.
Jessamine County government entities need to do better for its workers, but so do all the other companies employing residents and individuals in this county, state and country. If the recession is really over, why are so few Americans actually seeing anything change, including Jessamine County’s local residents?

Brittany Fuller is the community editor of The Jessamine Journal and Jessamine Life magazine. She can be reached at brittany.fuller@jessaminejournal.com.