Staying mum at the negotiating table

ASHLEY NGUYEN TTN Carolyn Parkes works in housekeeping at St. Joseph’s University but only gets called in when she is needed. Parkes did not negotiate her pay when she was hired.

Carolyn Parkes said she might consider negotiating her pay in the future, but for now, the mother of three said making whatever she can until she can find something better is her only option.

Parkes, who is from North Philadelphia, is employed by St. Joseph’s University’s housekeeping department. Parkes operates on a “flex” schedule, meaning she is on-call and can’t depend on a steady number of hours each week.

“It was OK at the time because it was worth the pay,” Parkes said of her current job. “I make more there than I was making at my other job doing housekeeping.”

Citing the better pay as reasoning for not negotiating for a higher pay, Parkes said she works hard with hopes that her bosses will eventually take notice and offer her a more stable paycheck.

“It seems like if we keep doing what we’re doing, then it will get better,” she said. “Sometimes you’ve got to bend a little to get a little. You can try harder and harder, but things are so tight, you’re only going to get so much.”

To make ends meet, Parkes also babysits, but with four grandchildren, her hands are already full.

“I’m already struggling,” Parkes said, “but I just go with the flow. That’s all you can do.”

Ashley Nguyen can be reached at

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