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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Seeing The Work-Family Debate From A Single Mom’s View

(The Atlantic Magazine)

There’s been a lot of talk about high-powered women not being able to “have it all” after a recent Atlantic Magazine article. But the poverty reporter for the Nation is asking whether we can get a living wage for a single mom working as a janitor.

The Nation’s Greg Kaufman profiled Adriana Vasquez, a janitor in Houston, who came to Washington last week to ask JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon why people cleaning his company’s building in Houston aren’t paid a living wage.

We heard about Vasquez from a tweet from The Nation reporter Katrina Vandenheuvel who wrote:

“NYT featured Anne Marie Slaughter’s good piece ‘Why Women Can’t Have It All’ – Now will they cover Ms. Vasquez?”


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  • comment

    This is such an important topic. Please have coverage. Low wages for REAL work, moms, parents, our children, our future. 

  • DHC

    There was more discussion by Robin about Anne Marie Slaughter in the interview with Kaufman about Adriana Vasquez than there was of Ms. Vasquez.  Perhaps Mr. Kaufman hung up on Robin there at the end.  I would have.  

  • Alfred

    The rich will do anything for the poor but get off their backs. 
    Karl Marx 

  • amos bramley

    Perhaps Ms. Vazque’s plight ‘ll inspire a new “reality” show–Janitor Olympics; where the winner reaps their due. There’s a huge market fer this kind o’ empathatic (huh?) subject….90 toilets in 4 minutes???–My single takes 10 minutes…”.Spreadin’ the disease”(Q’ryche)

  • Truth Seeker

    Pretty sad when the media and public go nuts  when the affluent and rich are having “problems” trying getting everything they want, but for the poor and middle class  – not so much. A rich company paying people less than $12/hr is just plain inhumane – so why can’t the media call out these companies and keep on message! Represent the interests of the 99%, NPR & PRI!!  Slaughter (and probably even Robin Young) don’t represent the 1% (Robin has the ear of millions, if not the “millions”). In an election year we need TO MAKE SURE that the poor and (ever growing) lower middle class are heard from on a daily basis. They are the ones government policies really affects (the rich can move their money outside the country).

  • Truth Seeker

    Please follow up on what Diamond will be willing to do for people like  Ms. Vasquez, don’t let him evade the issue. At every chance ask him about Vasquez and what he is going to do about it. He should be asked this in the morning, at noon, at dinner time when he is stuffing his face and  before he goes to bed dreaming of more millions to be made! I’m expecting you to follow up on this Robin (and hope your “colleagues” at ABC News do the same- you will ask them won’t you?).

  • paula

    These women living in poverty struggle terribly — way beyond anything Ms. Slaughter has experienced as an executive balancing work and a family.  try that on under $10,000.  Ms. Vasquez sounds like a wonderful spokesperson for working mothers living in poverty and I am so glad that Greg Kaufman is reporting on this travesty.

  • Robin Young is Phenom

    Hey my dad owns a janitorial business and employs about 15 people, including me for a while after I graduated college. And I agree with the blogger’s depiction of the work, I cleaned banks, medical buildings, and movie theaters. You strap on your gear and run like mad to finish up each and every day and it’s a thankless job and it’s funny because the janitors work harder than many of the people they are cleaning for.  And it’s funny when they speak down to you because they think they are better even though as a janitor you can see their work load and how much lighter it is than your own. We never get to sit down, we stand up the entire time, always getting dirty and watching the clock manically. 

    Anyway Robin, you may hate to have the last word on a topic, but personally I LOVE IT. You should do it more often! Actually just get rid of the guests and tell us what you think!

  • Susan Slinger

    Perhaps I missed it. I thought I heard Robin say there would be a poverty blog here. If there is one , I would like to know of it!!!

  • Alfred Jeffries

    And how much does WBUR or company that cleans its studios pay the janitors?

  • comment

    Call it many things… the story of the 99%, the vanishing middle class, the ever fading strength of the labor movement of the last century, globalization, the loss of that definition of the  American dream which gives everyone who puts in the time and effort an opportunity at a decent life, the dumbing down of America…will the pendulum swing? Will the power of money prevent us from having a level playing field? Will this great experiment called the United States of America succeed?

    The pain of real people, what an important story. Please cover the wage story more…please look at wages and working conditions in all of those box stores that have replaced the mom and pop community stores..all across this country…taking away a middle class income for the mom and pop who owned the store, taking away the contribution of the mom and pop store to its local community, taking away all of those indirect benefits to growing the local community, and replacing it all with low wage/poor benefit jobs.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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