Archive for Saturday, July 30, 2016

Bonner Springs teens talk equal pay at Democratic National Convention

July 30, 2016

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— Two Bonner Springs teens addressed the Democratic National Convention, recalling how they had been fired in June after asking why one had been paid 25 cents an hour less than the other for the same job at the same restaurant.

Jensen Walcott and Jake Reed, both 17, took their story of wage discrimination to the convention in Philadelphia on Thursday, The Kansas City Star reported.

“Last month I was just applying for a job, and now we’re here,” Reed said Wednesday when they arrived in Philadelphia. “It’s absolutely ridiculous. We’re so baffled.”

Issues arose this month after Walcott and Reed found summer jobs at a pizza restaurant in Kansas City, Kan. When Jensen asked why she was going to earn $8 an hour while Reed was set to earn $8.25 for the same job with the same amount of work experience, a female manager fired both of the 17-year-olds. The friends from suburban Bonner Springs were told it was against company policy to discuss wages.

“As far as we could tell, we had the same knowledge of pizza,” Reed said.

Walcott said she never learned the reason for the wage difference.

“I may have lost my job,” Walcott said, “but I am proud that I spoke up for myself. And I am glad Jake stood with me too.”

A campaign speechwriter helped the two teenagers draft their brief remarks delivered well before Clinton’s speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination, Walcott said.

“I don’t think anyone should be discriminated against,” Walcott said. “Whether it’s race, or gender, or sexual orientation, or disability, or anything like that.”

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