Stories from Maine Workers

Over 120,000 Mainers, would directly benefit from increasing the minimum wage. More than 70% are women, many of whom are mothers trying to provide for their families. Here are a few of the stories of Mainers living on the front lines of a low-wage economy:

Katie Logue – Auburn, Maine

No matter how I tried there was no way I could afford $900 to $1,000 a month for rent.  I had a car payment for a car that wasn’t even safe but was my only way to get to work. At one point, I was evicted and had to stay in the homeless shelter for a while until we could get help with a down payment for an apartment.  The whole time I was working full time. Read Katie's full story.

Katie Logue – Auburn, Maine
Adelaide Baramburiye Manirakiza – Westbrook, Maine

I was considered a dangerous woman by my country's government, so with my life in danger, I had to flee to Maine in 2007. I work as a home care worker. My job is to help people, and they need strong, good people who are alert and ready to help them. I work 48 hours a week, in a job that is hard and stressful, but I still don’t make enough to pay all my bills. Read Adelaide's full story.

Adelaide Baramburiye Manirakiza – Westbrook, Maine
Heather McIntosh – Portland, Maine

Despite working full time putting food on the tables in my restaurant, I, and many women working for tips in this state, struggle to put food on our own tables. And when your wage is totally unreliable, you can never save, you can never anticipate what you’ll make, you can never spend a little extra this week knowing that you’ll make it up with the next paycheck. Read Heather's full story.

Heather McIntosh – Portland, Maine
Brandy Staples – Phippsburg, Maine

I’ve worked retail jobs at big box stores on and off for many years. I currently work two part time jobs at close to minimum wage, plus I help my parents with their business. With these three jobs, I still don’t make enough to get by. To me, economic fairness means that no one gets left behind; that everyone has equal opportunities for job advancement, decent pay, adequate recognition for a job well-done, and decent benefits. Read Brandy's full story.

Brandy Staples – Phippsburg, Maine
Tabatha Whalen – Portland, Maine

I am a mother of two and a cashier at a convenience store, where I work for a little more than $8 an hour. I have spent all my life working minimum wage jobs and struggling to keep a roof over my family’s head. At one point, I was working two minimum wage jobs while homeless, having to keep one uniform on underneath the other, because I had barely any time between when one shift ended and the other began. Read Tabatha's full story.

Tabatha Whalen – Portland, Maine
Philemon Dushimire – Orono, Maine

I came to Maine five years ago after fleeing from my native country of Burundi where I had worked as a judge for the local government. Even though I have a law degree from my home country, I had to start over in Maine. I now work two jobs as a direct support professional for mentally challenged individuals. I work 80 hours a week, but even then it sometimes feels hard to keep my head above water. I want to go back to school, but but it is difficult to find extra time to devote to studies. Read Philmon's full story.

Philemon Dushimire – Orono, Maine

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