Workers rally for better pay on Capitol Hill. April 22, 2015/Washington, D.C.
Photo from Rick Reinhardt for Good Jobs Nation

Homeless and working in the Senate

On Wednesday, federal contract workers in Washington, D.C., went on strike demanding union rights and a minimum wage of $15 an hour. One of those workers was 63-year-old Charles Gladden who works in the Senate cafeteria. He has been homeless for the past five years.

In an interview with The Washington Post on Wednesday, Gladden said his weekly take-home pay is $360; and he gives most of that to his three daughters and grandchildren. Though Gladden makes more than $10.10 – the required minimum wage for federal contract workers – he says that is not enough for him and his fellow workers on Capitol Hill. 

Gladden also suffers financially because of complications from chronic diabetes, which often leads to lengthy hospital stays, some lasting weeks at a time. He says he also struggles to find a safe place to store his insulin when living on the streets.

Charles Gladden spoke with msnbc about his experiences being homeless in the nation’s capital. He also shared what he would like to say to the senators he serves every day in the Senate cafeteria who are likely unaware of his struggles.

The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, 4/24/15, 7:18 PM ET

Homeless and working in the Senate

63-year-old Charles Gladden is a contract worker in the U.S. Senate kitchen and he has been homeless for the past five years. In his own words Gladden tells us what he wishes he could say to the Senators he serves every day on Capitol Hill.

Minimum Wage, Washington and Washington DC

Homeless and working in the Senate