Working New Mexico

Leila Zalueta

Working New Mexico member since December 2013

“If you’re making a living wage…you can spend more to support local businesses.”

I got laid off about a year ago, and I took the opportunity of being laid off to go back to school to get my master’s degree in social work at New Mexico Highlands University.

I got involved when I friended Working New Mexico on Facebook and signed a petition. Then I got a call, asking me how I felt about unemployment benefits and also the living wage. I believe the benefits should be extended, and I totally think the minimum wage needs to go up.

I’d like to see them raise the wage in Santa Fe County to the same as it is in the city, $10.51 an hour. We’re all paying the same prices; prices don’t drop just because you’re in the county. We share the same local economy; we deserve the living wage, too.

When you’re not paid enough, the stress affects every single day of your life. But if you’re making a living wage, it eases up the tension. You have a better quality of life, you can spend more time with your kids and family and friends. You’re able to contribute more, and you can spend more to support local businesses.

It makes me sick when people say, ‘Oh, they don’t need a raise, it’s just kids working those jobs.’ When you go to fast food restaurants, when you go to the grocery store, it’s not just teenagers who are serving you. These are obviously people of all ages who are working to support themselves, support their families. You can tell just by looking, that’s not even research.

I want to do whatever I can to help.

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