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Hugh Abel: "Whether it's low wages or the big corporate bailouts, workers these days are getting shafted."

July 30, 2010


I'm 58-years old and I remember a time when one person could support a family by working one job. That time is gone.

I've worked in security for 27 years. In the last five years I've had the same pay--$10.50 an hour. I live paycheck to paycheck and I get most of my healthcare--I suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease--through the Veterans Administration.

I protect a 12-story office building in Indianapolis that has a variety of tenants. Almost all of them--99 percent of them--are great people. I know all their faces and I talk with a lot of them.

Sometimes it gets rough living check to check. If I need a new tire for my car, that's not in the budget. If I need an oil change, that's not in the budget. When anything unplanned happens, I have to get a payday loan--which can set me back. For every 100 dollars I borrow, I pay back 115 dollars. I've heard of worse loans but it's still a "Catch 22" for me.

I really don't do much outside of work. I can't afford to go anywhere because I can't afford to burn the gasoline. The one luxury I permit myself is the Indianapolis Air Show. They have everything--WWI memorabilia, WWII--even veterans from the USS Indianapolis. There's a flyover by a B2 bomber too. Incredible. But we don't have any personal days or sick days at work and so for the air show I have to take the day off and lose eight hours from my check. I can do it because I plan ahead for it.

I think it's time for a change. I remember being able to afford to go places--the stock car races and such--and now you can't. Whether it's low wages or the big corporate bailouts, workers these days are getting shafted. It's time for a change.