Updated: October 1, 2012 5:17PM
This coming weekend we celebrate Labor Day. These are the few days set aside each year to honor those in our country who spend their days doing the demanding, hands-on kind of work that keeps our economy moving.
We count on them to “deliver the goods.” They also work for less money — often at the minimum pay level of $8.65 per hour. If they work a 40-hour week, they will realize an annual income of about $16,500.
When heads of households must turn to working more than one job to make ends meet, we all lose out. Not only do minimum-wage earners lack time for their families, or to invest in their community life, they also lack the funds to pay for their basic needs. They frequently have to take second or third jobs, just to survive. That also has the effect of displacing others who are seeking work.
Increasing Illinois’ minimum wage to $10.65 across four years would give an additional $3.8 billion to directly affected families who will, in turn, spend those extra earnings.
I call on my legislator, state Sen. Susan Garrett, to advocate for working families by voting for Senate Bill 1565, which proposes an increase that would gradually move the Illinois minimum wage from the current $8.25 per hour to $10.65 per hour in 2014.
Roger Dart, Deerfield
Imagine being diagnosed with a disease that would likely take your life in a year or less. Unfortunately, this is the reality for those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer as 74 percent of patients die within one year of diagnosis.
Sadly, the disease has a five-year survival rate in the single digits of just 6 percent, the lowest among major cancers.
What is worse is that there has been little progress in detecting and treating pancreatic cancer. Since the passage of the National Cancer Act over 40 years ago, the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer has only improved from 2 to 6 percent. By comparison, the five-year survival rate for all cancers currently stands at an impressive 67 percent.
Pancreatic cancer is unique and requires specific action. The disease is so deadly because there are no early detection methods to diagnose the disease in its early stages and there are no effective treatment options to treat the disease once it’s been diagnosed.
Fortunately, there is hope. Congress is currently debating the Pancreatic
Cancer Research & Education Act (Senate Bill 362/House Resolution 733), which would require the National Cancer Institute to create a long-term and comprehensive strategic plan to address pancreatic cancer with the goal of improving early detection methods and developing new treatment options. If Congress gets behind this bill, pancreatic cancer patients will finally have more options, and ultimately more hope.
Devra Eisen, Highwood