Low-wage jobs provide hardships, uncertainty

A study of low-wage workers in Syracuse reveals unstable and unpredictable work lives on many levels, says Jeanette Zoeckler, a public health project manager at Upstate’s CNY Occupational Health Clinical Centers.

“Imagine working two or three jobs just to put food on the table, having no transportation other than buses to get to those jobs and no security that their job or the wages agreed upon will be available tomorrow. Low-wage workers face these hardships and this uncertainty on a daily basis,” she says.

Zoeckler and colleagues queried 275 Syracuse adults working in jobs that did not allow them to make ends meet without the help of a government program to subsidize basic household needs. Survey questions dealt with working conditions, access to health care, wages and hours, and more. Participants were also asked what they would change in their workplace. Top answers were the need for respect and less discrimination in the workplace.

The data collected in the survey will be used for longer-term goals meant to improve conditions for workers with low-wage jobs. For a copy of the study contact the center at 315-432-8899, extension 103.

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