I worked and went to school full time as a college student. I was a custodian at a local university and only made $8 an hour. I was hired by a private company and was told that no matter how long I worked for the company, I would never receive a raise.

Men and women who had worked there for years struggled to pay their bills. Even though my food and housing were paid for, I still struggled. I can only imagine how my co-workers with children at home felt. We didn’t receive any benefits, paid sick days or vacation time.

The minimum wage in Maine is $7.50; however, $15.82 is the living wage needed for a single adult. A recent report on jobs and the economy in Maine, conducted by the Alliance for a Just Society, shows that only 54 percent of single adults working in Maine make this living wage.

And there are other disparities: Only 51 percent of all single working women and only 45 percent of single working people of color make this living wage in our state. This means there are families working 40 hours a week and still not making enough to have the basics, such as health care, housing or food.

The people in this state need to stand together and voice the need for an adequate minimum wage.

Shannon Watts

Brewer