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Beth Shulman is the former vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and author of the book The Betrayal of Work: How Low-Wage Jobs Fail 30 Million Americans. She says that as a nation, we can start making different choices that ensure the American dream is a reality for everyone.

First, citizens should urge Congress and the Senate to approve an increase in the federal minimum wage, Beth says. Some states—such as Illinois, Florida, Hawaii and California—have already passed laws to raise their minimum wage above the federal rate of $5.15.

Second, employers should ensure that every American has health insurance, Beth says. She also points out that 75 percent of all low-wage workers do not get any paid vacation or sick days per year. "They have to choose between taking care of a sick child … and losing their job," she says.
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FROM: Inside the Lives of People Living on Minimum Wage
Published on April 14, 2006

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