“I am a cook in the United States Senate, but I need food stamps to feed my family.” That’s the gist of Bertrand Olotara’s story, one of the many cooks and janitors working for the United States Senate, who have walked out of their jobs due to their low wages. Olotara, for instance, is allegedly paid $12 per hour to cook for “some of the most powerful people on Earth,” according to a searing editorial Olotara wrote in The Guardian on Wednesday.
“I am walking off my job because I want the presidential hopefuls to know that I live in poverty,” writes Olotara. “Many senators canvas the country giving speeches about creating ‘opportunity’ for workers and helping our kids achieve the ‘American dream’ – most don’t seem to notice or care that workers in their own building are struggling to survive.”
Olotara and his co-workers, joined by Sen. Bernie Sanders walked out Wednesday to ask for federal contractors to award employers that pay fair wages of $15 per hour with benefits and collective bargaining. Currently the federal minimum wage is at $7.25, although President Obama is trying to raise it to $10.10 per hour.
Olotara states that he is an employee with Compass Group, an ironically U.K.-based company , which earned £8.199 million in North American revenue in 2014 ($12.33 million USD).