Valley families push for higher minimum wage

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by Tanya Mendis

Bio | Email | Follow: @tanyamendis

azfamily.com

Posted on February 28, 2014 at 6:01 PM

Updated Sunday, Mar 2 at 12:35 PM

PHOENIX -- When Rochelle Jordan looks at her 5-month-old daughter, she wishes for more than the minimum. But right now, the minimum is what she makes at her Valley fast-food job.

“After I get done with rent, electric, lights, babysitter, I’m broke. I have no money,” Jordan said.

Jordan works 20 to 30 hours a week at a local Taco Bell. Her last paycheck: $257.

3TV reporter Tanya Mendis sat down with the single mother at her two-bedroom apartment, which she shares with her cousin to make ends meet.

“At apartments, you have to make three times the rent,” Jordan explained. “With $7.90, I’m not gonna make three times the rent.”

The cousins babysit for each other and often alter schedules to save on day care costs. Jordan doesn't have a car and instead relies on friends, family and public transportation to get around.

Jordan dreams about going back to school or getting a second job, but then reality kicks in.

“How can I get another job? Who’s going to take care of my baby?” Jordan asked. “I can barely afford day care now.”

Jordan is one of a growing number of workers across the country fighting for minimum wage increases.

On Friday, Valley workers met with a U.S. Department of Labor offical to discuss what a proposed increase to minimum wage would mean for them and their families.

Laura Fortman, Principal Deputy Administrator for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, visited the offices of Living United for Change in Arizona. LUCHA is a grassroots organization which advocates for fair wage and social justice.

At $7.90 an hour, Arizona’s minimum wage is higher than the national average.

President Barack Obama recently signed an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10. He is now pushing for increases for workers across the board.

Jordan said she enjoys her job at Taco Bell despite the low wages.

“I like that I get to deal with other people, different cultures," she said.

But she still wishes she could give her daughter more.

“She means everything to me," Jordan said.

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