Friends Stay Warm   *   P.O. Box 86185   *   Portland, OR 97286   *   971-865-3530   

a project of the Chalice Oak Foundation, a 501c3 IRS tax-exempt organization                  

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FACTS about Seasonal and Service Workers*



Friends Stay Warm

      Supporting our farm, service and seasonal         workers in Oregon


Nine out of ten of the fastest-growing occupations in Oregon -- including cashiers, waiters, and short-order cooks -- pay $10 an hour or less on average.


A single parent in Oregon with two children needs to earn $23.40 an hour to cover basic expenses.  Less than 20% of the state's jobs meet those standards.


Federal trade policies have benefited international agribusiness at the expense of Oregon strawberry and blueberry growers who have stopped growing or have turned to machine picking, leaving thousands without work!  Meanwhile, farm workers are earning the same wages they earned 10 years ago.


The collapse of the housing market is only the latest manifestation of policies promoted by government and industry over the last 25 years to mask disturbingly stagnant and falling wages.  Nationwide, 82% of all hourly workers earn under $20 an hour, which at 1970's value of currency was considered the standard wage of the "middle class."


Low income families' budgets chronically fall short, leaving families unable to afford basic necessities -- for too many working parents, their expenses far exceed their income.  The federal government says that if you spend more than 9% of your income on clothing you will end up in financial disaster -- yet many families don't even have 9% of their income to spend on clothing.  The costs of preparing children for school can force low-income families to the brink of homelessness.





*These facts were compiled by Friends of Seasonal and Service Workers