Much of the northeast is snowed in by Winter Storm Juno, but—as we've seen in the wake of other storms, like Hurricane Sandy—not all people are snowed in equally
. Low-wage workers, who have little or no paid time off, may lose a day of pay or be forced to find their way to work despite public transit and roads that have been shut down:
To prepare for “snowmageddon,” Ana Navarrete stocked up on diapers Monday afternoon. She and her ex-boyfriend, Pedro Blanco, perused the baby aisle of a CVS drug store, having left their 2-month-old son with a sitter.
As the snow piled up on Hillside Avenue, Navarrete thought about her imminent commute. She works nights, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., as a hotel maid on Long Island, about 25 miles east. She drives 60 minutes each way — much longer in the snow — for just $8.50 per hour, 25 cents below the state minimum wage.
“I have to go to work,” Navarrete said, reassured that Blanco, a landscaper, could stay with the baby overnight. “My boss is making me work tonight and tomorrow night. If I didn’t go in, I would lose my job.”
Navarrete is far from alone, even with paid leave laws in New York City, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. It's one more demonstration of how deeply inequality runs in the United States, that the snow day giving rise to thousands of discussions of best snow-day foods, hot chocolate jokes, and Netflix marathons among some people is forcing others to scramble for child care and make hard decisions about budgets and the risk of losing a day of pay or even a job.