Shanna Tippen was another hourly worker at the bottom of the nation’s economy, looking forward to a 25 cent bump in the Arkansas minimum wage that would make it easier for her to buy diapers for her grandson.When I wrote about her in the Post last month, she said the minimum wage hike would bring her a bit of financial relief, but it wouldn’t lift her above the poverty line.
She called me the other day to say she didn’t get to enjoy the 25-cent hike for long. After the story came out, she says she was fired from her job for talking to the Post.
I spend a lot of time writing about people at the low end of the economy, and I see up close how narrowly they get by day-to-day. In this case, writing about Tippen’s plight may have made her situation worse.
Tippen says she was fired by her boss, hotel manager Herry Patel. Earlier that day, Patel had called the Post to express frustration that he had been quoted giving his opinion about the minimum wage hike. (He objected to it.)
It was soon after, Tippen says, that Patel found her in the lobby and fired her.
“He said I was stupid and dumb for talking to [the Post],” Tippen said. “He cussed me and asked me why you wrote the article. I said, ‘Because he’s a reporter; that’s what he does.’ He said, ‘it was wrong for me to talk to you.'”
So unless there’s an Arkansas law that forbids people from getting fired for talking to a Washington Post reporter, Ms. Tippen is basically screwed. It used to be that collective bargaining and unions would give a worker a fighting chance against situations like this.
Those days were effectively over before I left elementary school and St. Ronnie rid the Shining City on the Hill of air traffic controllers.
Oh well, her fault for being poor, right? If she was a worthy human being, she would have worked her way up to hotel franchise owner.