Worker’s Story

Nicole Mason, 25, Killeen

$7.50 per hour in fast food establishment

I’m a single mother of two boys, living paycheck to paycheck just barely getting by working full time and only getting part time benefits….which is nothing. If I work myself to the ground it means less time with my kids and no time to go back to school to become a nurse. It’s like an endless cycle: I work to live and live to work, no time for anything else. I’ve been on food stamps for some time now, and that just gets me by thank goodness but that’s all it does. To make ends meet I’ve had to move back in with my parents, stopped driving because I couldn’t afford car insurance and gas at times. I work long endless hours, no breaks, so I can get a decent check. Raising the minimum wage to slightly above the cost of living can go a long way. It would give me and others time to go to school, put money aside, save for a better future and make a better future for not only ourselves, for everyone around us. It will be like a domino effect, but instead of us falling and failing on one another we will be rising and raising the bar for each and every one of us. I would be able to save, have a car again and go back to school, because I wouldn’t have to work as much and I could concentrate on school a lot more. Just thinking about that now, I can imagine it and it saddens me… if only.