Liberal congressmen call on Wal-Mart to pay $25,000 starting salary

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The event was organized in support of the OurWalmart campaign and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), now part of the AFL-CIO.

Walmart worker Gail Todd of Washington, D.C., talked tearfully about her struggles to support her children on $10.40 per hour, which comes out to between $14,000 and $16,000 per year, and her inability to help her daughter attend a four-year college. 

“As a parent I shouldn’t have to chose between paying our light bill and my child’s class graduation fees, between feed my kids or pay my rent. That’s crazy,” Todd said. 

Worker Anthony Goytia of Los Angeles said getting $25,000 a year instead of erratic hours at $9.60 per hour would mean he wouldn’t have to ride his bicycle four hours a day to get to work, that he wouldn’t have to rely on food stamps and Women, Infant and Children fund to feed his children.

“I shouldn’t have to result to donating plasma … to be able put money in my pocket to put food on the table,” he said. 

Schakowsky argued that passing Obama's minimum wage proposal, or a Miller bill to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, would ultimately put pressure on Wal-Mart to raise the wages of workers like Goytia and Todd as well. 

Wal-Mart spokesman Kory Lundberg said the company has many associate positions that pay more than $25,000 per year and that an average 430 people are promoted at Wal-Mart per day.

“We also have entry-level positions and we are proud of that,” he said, adding that those at entry-level have many training opportunities. 

Asked why Wal-Mart doesn’t adopt a $25,000 starting salary, Lundberg said “we are going to offer competitive wages wherever we operate.”