Related: 'Dropping out' of the middle class
Interview: Cincinnati worker sacrifices pay, hours for colleague
Tuesday, May 31st, 2011
Robert Richardson, a janitor in Cincinnati, details the sacrifices he and his co-workers are enduring during the recession. With low paying, part-time jobs, Richardson says the poor financial times are creating struggles for teenagers and young adults.
Robert Richardson is a janitor in Cincinnati.
At the One Nation rally interviewed by Workshop reporter Kat Aaron:
He and his co-workers were recently offered more hours of work — if one worker was let go.
We were all working part time. And the thing was, to increase our hours we had to let a body go. And since she was the first — "last one hired first one fired" — that was the policy. And so we all decided to stick together and just keep the same pay that we already had to keep her job.
What did that mean for you financially?
Financially, it meant that I won't be making as much as I could have been making, but it also meant that somebody else could actually live and not have to go through this part of the recession that we're dealing with.
In Cincinnati, have you noticed changes in the city more broadly, in your neighborhood or community in the last couple years?
Yes. A lot more abandoned buildings and a lot more places are getting shut down daily. So, yes, I have. A lot of change.
If you could send a message to President Obama or to members of Congress, what would you like them to understand about what's going on in Cincinnati?
That we just need more jobs, basically. If there's any way we could do that could it please be done now? That's it.
The unemployment rate is really high among teenagers, young adults. What's the work situation for your friends?
A lot of my friends are having a hard time finding jobs and having an even harder time at school right now. Because they're trying to actually get a job and actually go to school, and it’s very hard to even find a job. Yeah, it’s a very, very high rate of unemployment for teenagers and young adults.
And so what do people do? If they can't find work?
A lot of them take that fall back plan and actually move back home. I mean it's sad to say, but that's what they actually end up doing, is moving back home, and trying to actually live with their parents.