Waging A Living

More than 30 million Americans ­ one in four workers ­ are stuck in jobs that pay less than the federal poverty level for a family of four. Waging A Living chronicles the day-to-day battles of four low-wage earners struggling to make work pay their bills. Shot over a three-year period in the northeast and California, this observational documentary captures the dreams, frustrations and accomplishments of a diverse group of people who strain to live from paycheck to paycheck. By presenting an unvarnished look at the barriers that these workers must overcome to lift their families out of poverty, Waging a Living offers a sobering view of the elusive American Dream.
The people profiled are:
Jean Reynolds, a 51-year-old certified nursing assistant in New Jersey who is supporting her three children and two grandchildren.
Jerry Longoria, a 42-year-old security guard whose $12 per hour job barely covers his modest living expenses and his rent ion a single room occupancy hotel in a blighted neighborhood in San Francisco.
Barbara Brooks, a 36-year-old single mother of five living in Freeport, New York. A college student, worker and mother, she makes $8.25 per hour.
Mary Venittelli, a 41-year-old mother of three living in southern New Jersey. She had a very comfortable middle class life until she started going through a bitter divorce. The only job she could find was a waitress position paying $2.13 per hour plus tips.

This timely documentary is produced and directed by Roger Weisberg, the winner of hundreds of awards including two Academy Award nominations.

Related Subjects: 

American Sociological Association, 2009
Selected by ALA Video Round Table "Notable Videos for Adults" 2006
Silver Chris Award, Columbus International Film and Video Festival, 2005
Top Award, New Jersey International Film Festival, 2005
CINE Gold Eagle, 2005
Indiefest, Chicago, 2005
Kansas International Film Festival, 2005
Tiburon Film Festival, 2005
Cinequest Film Festival, 2005
and many others.


"An insightful look at the working poor..." Booklist

"An excellent work which gives the viewer a great deal of wide scale information laced in between the skillful representation of four noble and self-sacrificing Americans working to escape poverty. The timing of the transitions of segments from one person's life to the next is exquisite. This documentary is highly recommended for its accurate and fair portrayal of the crisis of low income households. The makers of this film are to be congratulated for presenting a work which offers optimism, and does not merely leave the audience in despair. This documentary would be welcome viewing for audiences high school aged and up."
Michael J. Coffta, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania for EMRO

"An eye-opening, often heartbreaking documentary about America's working poor. Neither hectoring nor sanctimonious,the film plays like an illustrated version of Barbara Ehrenreich's recent best seller Nickel and Dimed and has an editing style that is brisk and unexploitative." The New York Times
" Roger Weisberg's documentary look at four low-wage workers and the daunting challenges they face is a harrowing journey through the endless humiliations of American poverty. Amazingly, despite his subjects desperation, Weisberg keeps sentimentality to a minimum focusing matter-of-factly on the worker's struggles to keep their heads above water."
New York Magazine

Waging A Living


Type Price
Streaming Access (1-year) $149.00
Streaming Access (3-year) $299.00
Streaming Access (Perpetual) $499.00
DVD $195.00
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