A north-central Iowa woman testified during a U.S. Senate Committee hearing on the minimum wage today in Washington D.C.
Two years ago, Alicia McCrary left an abusive relationship and moved to Northwood, Iowa with her four sons (an 11-year-old, twin 10-year-olds, and a 5-year-old). She supports her family with a part time job in the fast food industry, where she makes $7.65 an hour. “I earn about 450 dollars a month from my job…not even enough when raising growing boys and hungry boys,” McCrary said. “My fixed expenses are almost 600 dollars a month, so you can see how tight my budget is.”
During her testimony to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, McCrary said her federal assistance was reduced when she received a 40-cent raise. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin chairs the committee and is a co-sponsor of a bill to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour.
McCrary said she finds it difficult to explain to her children that she can’t always afford what is costs for them to participate in school activities, such as band or sports. “I have to pay $20 (a month), per child, so they can bring home computers to do homework. We don’t have (a computer) at home, so this choice is the only one I can make,” McCrary said. McCrary said she can’t work more hours, because she doesn’t own a car and the bus service to her job from her home in Northwood is limited.
(Reporting by Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City)