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Low-Wage America: Connie Roberts

Connie Roberts
Noah Adams, NPR
Connie Roberts

Sign outside the Green Country Inn in Brunswick, Md.
Noah Adams, NPR /
Sign outside the Green Country Inn in Brunswick, Md.

Connie Roberts works the overnight shift at the Green Country Diner in Brunswick, Md., open 24 hours a day. She's the only employee on the shift -- meaning she's the cook, the waitress and the cashier from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. The combination diner and inn are both owned by CSX Transportation, and rail workers often come in for a bite to eat and a clean room during scheduled layovers.

Sometimes she's busy, and sometimes it's a long, lonely night for Roberts. She's worked at the diner for four years and earns $7.35 an hour, plus tips, with no paid holidays, one week's vacation a year and no medical insurance. About half her earnings go to pay for the room at the same inn where she works.

She says she wants to open her own diner one day -- and spend more time with her grandchildren, hunting mushrooms in the mountains.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Noah Adams, long-time co-host of NPR's All Things Considered, brings more than three decades of radio experience to his current job as a contributing correspondent for NPR's National Desk., focusing on the low-wage workforce, farm issues, and the Katrina aftermath. Now based in Ohio, he travels extensively for his reporting assignments, a position he's held since 2003.