Movie Analysis: Waging A Living

PART I (5 Points)

  1. Did the film challenge any of your ideas or perceptions about people who live in poverty, who accept welfare or other types of government assistance, or about people the people who you might serve as a social worker?

 

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  1. Was there one character with whom you felt empathy or compassion for (someone who you could identify with)? Who was that? What did you find compelling about his/her situation? What would you advise him/her to do to improve his/her economic situation? If there was no one please explain why not.

 

 

  1. If you had the opportunity to advise employers, labor (union) leaders, social service providers, policy makers, or community stakeholders in your community, what questions would you ask these groups to do to help low-wage workers and their families? You may want to focus on employment issues, health care, affordable housing, education, or helping families build financial assets.

Employers:                                                                                                                                         

Labor Leaders:                                                                                                                                   

Social Services Providers:                                                                                                                 

Policy Makers (Legislators):                                                                                                             

Community Stakeholders:                                                                                                                 

 

 

 

 

PART II (5 points)

As we see in Waging A Living, whether or not a wage is adequate depends a lot on where you live. How much does it really cost to live in your community?

There are many ways to calculate a “Living Wage,” i.e., the wage needed for someone to be self-sufficient in your community. For calculating formulas, use one of the websites listed below and fill in the grid below with the average cost for each item.

https://www.epi.org/resources/budget/

http://livingwage.mit.edu/

CALCULATE A LIVING WAGE FOR YOUR COMMUNITY:

Fill in the monthly costs in your community for each item on the grid. Include any items that you think are essential and have added to the grid. Add all the costs and divide by the numbers of hours per month that an average worker would work to find the hourly living wage for your community.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN DEFINE– be specific:

  • Single Person (age, gender, educational level)
  • Family (most formulas assume a family of four (2 adults, 2 children), but you might want to define a family as including a single parent and children, or as a couple with children and an elderly relative, or use your family as the standard, etc.)
Cost Including in Living Wage
Item/expenses Single Person Family of 4
Food    
Toiletries    
Housing    
Utilities    
Health Care    
Transportation    
Insurance    
Child Care /Education    
Clothing    
Laundry    
Taxes    
Other Essentials (education, fees, cell phone, etc.)    
     
     
     
Total per month    
Total per year    
Total per hour (divide monthly total by 160 hrs. (or 40 hrs. per week full-time)    

 

When the grid is complete compare your results to briefly explain:

  • Are there any “non-essential” expense not added to the budget above? If yes what are they and why didn’t you include them?
  • the minimum wage in your community. Note: The Federal Minimum Wage is $7.25/hour, but several states have passed their own legislation raising this amount. What is the minimum wage in your area?
  • What are the wages for currently available (entry level) jobs in your community?
  • What are the wages of the largest employer(s) or in particular industry sectors in your community (Amazon, Hopkins, etc.…)?
  • Compare your results to the total that a full-time minimum wage worker earns and to national and local poverty levels. The Economic Policy Institute offers an online, state-by-state basic family budget calculator that makes such comparisons easy: https://www.epi.org/resources/budget/budget-map/

 

PART III (5 Points)

Expert Analysis:

Now that you have a final figure for the living wage what are your thoughts? Are you surprised at the amount they would need to earn just to get by? Why or why not? What types of jobs are available to people in your community that pay that kind of wage? How many of those jobs would someone without a high school diploma be qualified to do?

Finish the following sentences:

One new thing I learned was ____________.

As a social worker I will ________________.

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