I am a full time State Employee and union Member with 16 Years in Service. I am at Pay Grade 20 at a step rate of 7 with an Annual Salary of $49,257.00
I provide child support for two of my children at a rate of 33% of my net take home pay.
I am remarried and my wife and I have four children, two boys and two girls still living at home with us. My wife also works full time, in the resort industry.
We have had to move five times in the past six years because we can not afford to pay the sky rocketing cost of housing and utilities for our family.
Every week is a struggle for our family to adequately feed our children. This summer we are relying heavily on the Got Lunch Program to provide a meal for our kids. The most discouraging thing to me is my wife having to go and stand in line at our local food pantry to try and get something for our kids to eat.
We rely on scholarships to send two of our children to summer camp during the week through our local school so that my wife and I can continue to work throughout the s
ummer. During the school year our children receive free lunch because of our household size and our combined income.
Every year is a struggle for our family to be able to provide the necessary items such as clothing, shoes, back packs and other school supplies for our children to go back to school.
Our children qualify for Medicaid and we rely heavily on that to pick up the remainder of the cost of their medical costs after Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield pays a portion of it. This is true for our Dental Insurance as well. My oldest step daughter is in desperate need of braces and the dental insurance will only pay a maximum of $1,500 one time for a procedure that costs at least $4,500. We have had to tell our daughter year after year, month after month, that we can not come up with the money to fix her teeth, so that she is not afraid to smile in public anymore.
Because of the cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) formerly known as food stamps over the past several years our family no longer qualifies for this program or for Heating assistance through out the winter.
So a very small 2% raise for me means $0.50 per hour more for me to help house, feed, clothe and care for my entire family.
This is about $15.83 a week additional take home pay which buys our family a loaf of bread @ $2.50, A Gallon of Milk@ $2.96, A dozen eggs, @ $2.69, A pound of Bolgona @ $2.99, and almost a Pound of Cheese @ $4.99/lb. which only covers Breakfeast and Lunch for a family of 6 for one day.
This 2% Raise is a progressive raise where those that earn more receive more and a greater benefit. In future union contracts I would like to see a flat raise across the board where those who make less would benefit the most.
Thank you for taking the time to read more about my story, I am quite certain that there are more State Employees in the same boat as I, ever so slowly sinking.