November 25, 2013
By Stephanie West
Harrisburg, Pa., — As thousands of Walmart workers prepare for a busy Black Friday shopping season, the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO applauds their courage and stands in solidarity with these brave workers and their families who have been demonstrating for a fair wage and better working conditions.
"Walmart is the symbol of rising economic inequality in America. The large corporation made $17 billion in profits this year, but pays its employees poverty wages: 825,000 of their employees make less than $25,000 a year, trapping them and their families in a state of economic insecurity," Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale said. "A job shouldn't trap workers in poverty. It should lift them out of it," said Bloomingdale.
"If Walmart raised wages, it would increase its employees' purchasing power, create more jobs and improve the economy. Instead, Walmart workers are forced to rely on billions in annual government assistance to survive while the wealth of the six Walmart heirs is greater than the combined wealth of 42% of American families," Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder said. "It's not good for our community or our economy that the Walton family and Walmart's well-paid corporate executives are padding their pockets while hundreds of thousands of Walmart workers are struggling to support their families," Snyder said.
"Working families of Pennsylvania recognize that low labor standards somewhere affect labor standards everywhere and strongly support the [striking] workers' request to earn a living wage. The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO is calling on the corporate giant to pay all its workers at least $25,000 annually to provide their families a chance to escape low wages and a life of poverty. The company can certainly afford it," Bloomingdale added.