Hugh Abel: “Whether it’s low wages or the big corporate bailouts, workers these days are getting shafted.”



I’m 58-years old and I remember a time when one person could support a family by working one job. That time is gone.

I’ve worked in security for 27 years. In the last five years I’ve had the same pay–$10.50 an hour. I live paycheck to paycheck and I get most of my healthcare–I suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease–through the Veterans Administration.

I protect a 12-story office building in Indianapolis that has a variety of tenants. Almost all of them–99 percent of them–are great people. I know all their faces and I talk with a lot of them.

Sometimes it gets rough living check to check. If I need a new tire for my car, that’s not in the budget. If I need an oil change, that’s not in the budget. When anything unplanned happens, I have to get a payday loan–which can set me back. For every 100 dollars I borrow, I pay back 115 dollars. I’ve heard of worse loans but it’s still a “Catch 22″ for me.

I really don’t do much outside of work. I can’t afford to go anywhere because I can’t afford to burn the gasoline. The one luxury I permit myself is the Indianapolis Air Show. They have everything–WWI memorabilia, WWII–even veterans from the USS Indianapolis. There’s a flyover by a B2 bomber too. Incredible. But we don’t have any personal days or sick days at work and so for the air show I have to take the day off and lose eight hours from my check. I can do it because I plan ahead for it.

I think it’s time for a change. I remember being able to afford to go places–the stock car races and such–and now you can’t. Whether it’s low wages or the big corporate bailouts, workers these days are getting shafted. It’s time for a change.

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