Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Job Gap: Idaho Women, Latinos, Native Americans, People of Color Hit Hardest

Posted By on Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Saying that a history of fiscal policies "have perpetuated low pay in jobs and industries where women and people of color are most likely to work," a new study out today points out the growing gap between the have's and have-not's. The study by the Alliance for a Just Society, entitled "Equity in the Balance," says it "details the percentage of women and people of color who don't make a living wage in Idaho."

Among the reports findings:

- Native Americans, Latinos and all workers of color were less likely to earn a living wage in Idaho.
- The widest gap between workers of color and all workers is for households with two working adults and two children.
- Only 43 percent of female workers earn a living wage for a single adult
- Only 11 percent of female workers earn enough to support two adults and two children with only one adult working.

Among those interviewed in the report is Mayra De Alba of Heyburn, who lives at home with her parents and two brothers. She and her parents work in Idaho's potato fields. She says he is supposed to earn $9 an hour, but sometimes doesn't get paid unless one of her father's friends, who speaks English, threatens to report the employer.

"My friends have referred me to jobs—usually as a dishwasher or busser at a restaurant, where I could at least get my foot in the door — and I have even had interviews, but it never works out. I speak Spanish and not much English, so the language barrier is part of it. But, it’s even harder without a driver’s license. Even though I know that I can get a ride and I tell employers that, they end up hiring someone else. A few times, I’ve even shown up for work at a new job and had them tell me they found someone else. It’s very discouraging."

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