Lionel Lightbourne has been a social worker in Liberty City for four years. He says he is a "fish in water" with his chosen profession. He speaks with passion about empowering families and children in need.
If he were single, he says his income would put him just above the poverty line. "But together with my wife," he says, "we will actually be in the middle class."
Tuesday morning was one of the few times fast-food workers publicly protested lower wages in Miami, joining the dozens of cities that hosted protesters back in December. The protest coincided with the release of a new study from FIU's Research Institute of Social and Economic Policy which, among other things, looks at the intersection of low-paying jobs and wage theft.
Workers wages and salaries grew 2.4 percent over the past 12 months. That's down from 2.6-percent growth half a year ago. Which not only means there has not been a lot of growth, but that what we have had is slowing.
On top of that, total compensation, which includes things like salaries plus health benefits and bonuses, has not been growing at a comparable rate.
As the wage growth slows, other costs of living like housing, food and transportation continues to rise at a much higher rate--putting more pressure on peoples’ pockets.