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Sunday, 26 April 2015 00:00

Homeless man shares office with senators, seeks higher wages behalf of all low-wage workers

Written by David Findley | Benchmark Reporter
Homeless man shares office with senators, seeks higher wages behalf of all low-wage workers Homeless man shares office with senators, seeks higher wages behalf of all low-wage workers

For almost a decade now, Charles Gladden has been working from the same building where most of influential people of the country also serve from.

Gladden, 63, works as a janitor at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, where senators and lobbyists also do their daily share of work, taking important decisions and whose voice are always heard by people of America. But the 8 years that Gladden has worked there, his voice has gone unheard, until now.

After his days of mopping floors, washing dishes and cleaning bathrooms for just $11 an hour, which rounds up to $360 a week, he heads out to the nearby subway station that he calls home.
“I work for the most powerful people in the country, and there I am sleeping at a subway stop,” he says.


Every day before sunrise, Gladden leaves his makeshift bed, along with the other homeless men and women who have no other choice but to decamp from the sidewalk next to Washington D.C.’s McPherson Square Metro Station.

After his arrival at the Capitol before most of the other employees, he takes what he refers to as a “birdbath” in the sink of the bathroom.
“I’m working around food. I can’t go in there smelling, and I can’t go in there dirty,” he explains.

Most others at the Capitol did not know of Gladden’s living condition until one day he speaks up as the circumstances called for it, on a one-day strike by federal contractors who wanted their wage to be raised to $15 per hour.

Gladden admits of his complicated financial condition even though his colleagues who make the same salary can afford accommodation. The primary reason for his living condition is he gives a lot of the money he makes to his children and grandchildren as they have financial struggles as well.

“I take care of them,” he said. “I don’t want to be a burden on my kids.”

As he is a patient of diabetes, it makes him miss work without pay from time to time. Even though his case is rare, he still thinks that low wage workers face problems everyday in the country.

“Our lawmakers, they don’t even realize what’s going on right beneath their feet,” he says. “They don’t have a clue. They scramble around for issues to talk about. All they have to do is stop and ask the common person on the street … or in the building; the people bringing them their food, people sweeping and cleaning their toilet.”

“If it happened to me it could happen to someone else,” he adds.

Link to original article from Benchmark Reporter Reporter

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