Lucila Ramirez, 55, has been cleaning the bathrooms and tables at Washington, D.C.’s Union Station for 21 years. Despite her long record of service, Ramirez says she makes only $8.75 per hour, and receives no benefits or sick days.
“I work in a federal building doing work on behalf of the government and if I was paid a living wage, I wouldn’t have to go looking for a second job in order to support my family,” Ramirez, 55, told The Huffington Post in Spanish via an interpreter.
Ramirez is one of nearly 2 million private-sector employees working on behalf of the government making less than $12 per hour or about $24,000 per year for a full-time worker, according a study from Demos, a public policy research organization. To put that into perspective, more low-wage employees work for taxpayers than Walmart and McDonald's combined. Though technically employed by private firms, the workers are paid by the government through means like funding for contractors, loans from the Small Business Administration and federal health care spending, the report found.