What Happens When You Start Earning a Living Wage

Gothamist has really terrific profiles of five of the 1,400 workers at Resorts World Casino who saw their pay double from $10-$12/hour to $20 or more, plus benefits after their union struck a new contract deal for them. Here’s Jeannine Nixon, who works at the casino as a customer relations representative:

A lot has changed now with me being in Local 6. I’m able to see all the specialists and in particular have a major surgery that was long overdue. I was having trouble eating and drinking, and they diagnosed me with achalasia. They told me that they needed to repair my esophagus and after that I’d be able to eat and drink properly, but then I was told I needed esophagectomy. Now I have better coverage and a thoracic surgeon from Cornell — one of the best — they went in and looked and that’s what I’m facing now. But with the contract, I don’t have to go pay those high co-payments. I count it as a blessing that I receive the service that I am receiving now. And if I didn’t make what I make now, I probably wouldn’t be following up with my medical care.

I raise my son by myself. He’s five. Now I’m able to put him in different programs, when before there were no programs available to him. He starts private school in August. I’m grateful for the [wage] increase, it is really important. Now I can afford to pay my bills, I can afford to pay my rent. I don’t need to borrow or need additional resources to do that.

To be honest with you, at the end of the day, I have pride knowing that I can pay my own bills. It’d be nice to get some resources from my son’s father, but that was my decision to raise him. Now I’m able to pay my bills and know that I don’t have to look anywhere else. It’s an overwhelming feeling, and I still pinch myself and ask, “Is this really happening?” I get two paychecks a week. It’s like, you get a paycheck, and then you get another one! [Laughs]

The rest of the stories are also wonderful. Go on and read them.

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