It is the season of twinkling lights and glittering evergreens, festive parties and holiday bonuses. But not for José Gutiérrez.
He works as a busboy in Manhattan, clearing plates and wiping tables at an Italian restaurant for about $450 a week when the tips are good. It is not enough to keep groceries in the refrigerator, he said, barely enough to cover the rent.
So his heart sank when his 6-year-old daughter handed him her Christmas list. He knew he wouldn’t be joining the throngs of shoppers crowding into toy stores, filling shopping bags with their children’s dreams.
Mr. Gutiérrez has not had a raise in five years and has never received a holiday bonus. On Saturday morning, he was lining up for rice, eggs and other groceries at a food pantry in the South Bronx. The growing economy has yet to buoy his family.
Perhaps you’ve heard the good news from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, which recently reported strong gains in hiring and a sharp jump in hourly wages. Or maybe you’ve read that associates at big law firms in New York are taking home hefty bonuses of $15,000 to $100,000 this year. All of it has overshadowed the continuing struggles of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers during this holiday season.
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