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My personal Wal-Mart nightmare: You won’t believe what life is like working there
Salon ^ | May 8, 2014 | Pam Ramos

Posted on 05/17/2014 8:54:15 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

When I woke up to see the news, I could hardly believe it: President Obama is planning a visit to the Mountain View Wal-Mart where I work.

But the excitement quickly passed when I found out the store would be shutting down hours in advance of his visit. I wouldn’t be able to tell the president what it’s like to work at Wal-Mart and what it’s like to struggle on low wages, without the hours I need. I am living at the center of the income inequality that he speaks about so often, and I wanted to talk to him about how to change this problem.

My situation is not unlike that of many of the 825,000 Wal-Mart associates – and many other Americans – who are working hard, but just can’t keep up. Most of us aren’t even paid $25,000 a year even though we work at the largest employer in the country and one that makes $16 billion in profits.

I wanted to tell the president what it’s like working – and living – like this.

Things have always been tight. After four years working at Wal-Mart in Mountain View, I am bringing home about $400 every two weeks (I’d like to get more hours, but I’m lucky if I work 32 hours a week). That’s not enough to pay for bills, gas and food. All I can afford to eat for lunch is a cup of coffee and a bag of potato chips. I’ve always done everything possible to stretch paychecks and scrape by. Sometimes it means not getting enough to eat.

But then I got some bad news that made stretching my budget impossible.

Two months ago, I started feeling ill. My doctor told me I needed to take a week off to have a series of medical tests. Every day for a week I went to the hospital and had to pay $30, $60 or $100 in co-pays for each appointment, test and X-ray.

With these additional expenses and without a paycheck for the week I was out, it pushed me over the edge. I didn’t have enough money to pay the rent.

Right now, I don’t have a place to call home.

I sleep on the floor of my son’s living room because I can’t afford my own place. All of my belongings are in my car. I don’t know where to send my mail.

I used to think, “At least I have my health and my family.” But my doctor thinks I may have colon cancer, and with all of the money I still owe the hospital, I’m not sure how to finish the tests and get treatment. Even though I do have insurance through Wal-Mart, the co-pays are more than I can afford with only $400 every two weeks.

I wanted to tell the president I am scared. I am scared for my health. I am scared for the future for my grandkids. And I am scared and sad about the direction that companies like Wal-Mart are taking our country.

I don’t wish the struggle I’m facing onto anyone. But sadly, my situation isn’t unique. I know that I am one of many living in the Wal-Mart economy who has no financial stability. We expect to work until our deaths because we don’t have any retirement savings and are concerned about the future in front of our children and grandchildren.

There are so many of us who have it so hard – trying to live paycheck to paycheck. While the president is here visiting my store, I want him to look inside at what is really happening at Wal-Mart.

I want the president to help us and tell Wal-Mart to pay us enough to cover the bills and take care of our families. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask from such a profitable company, a company that sets the standard for jobs in this country. And I hope it’s not too much to ask from a president who believes that income inequality is the defining challenge of our time.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: economy; incomeinequality; obama; retail; walmart; workforce
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Pam Ramos has worked for four years at the Walmart in Mountain View, California. President Obama is visiting this Walmart on Friday. Ramos is also a member of OUR Walmart, the worker organization calling on Walmart to publicly commit to paying workers $25,000 a year, providing full-time work and ending illegal retaliation.
1 posted on 05/17/2014 8:54:15 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Step #1 — Minimum wage: $50/hr!!
Step #2 — Single Payer Healthcare” make it totally free!!
Step #3 ...


2 posted on 05/17/2014 8:56:42 PM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Fegelein! Fegelein! Fegelein!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I want the president to help us and tell Wal-Mart to pay us enough to cover the bills and take care of our families.

Why? Because she's entitled to have her family cared for by Walmart?

3 posted on 05/17/2014 8:57:46 PM PDT by Jane Long (While Marxists continue the fundamental transformation of the USA, progressive RINOs assist!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I realize that the Obama-created economy is so bad that any job is better than nothing. However, Walmart jobs are NOT a career, and do not pay career-level wages. They are not a job you should expect to be able to live off of.


4 posted on 05/17/2014 8:57:58 PM PDT by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Absolutely no recognition that Obama created this dismal economy.


5 posted on 05/17/2014 9:00:33 PM PDT by kaehurowing (FIGHT BULLYING, UNINSTALL FIREFOX)
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To: Jane Long

Bingo! These are the people who gave us this president.


6 posted on 05/17/2014 9:01:43 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $2M for Cruz and/or Palin's next run, what will you do?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“I want the president to help us and tell Wal-Mart to pay us enough to cover the bills and take care of our families.” ... The fading plea of a dying Republic, being aborted by little barry bastard boy’s regime working for someone, but not we the people. The republicants and democrips are the codependency enablers of the abortion process. I’m sorry, but this woman’s plea sounds too much like a setup for the bastard from the oval orifice.


7 posted on 05/17/2014 9:03:16 PM PDT by MHGinTN
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“...I am bringing home about $400 every two weeks (I’d like to get more hours, but I’m lucky if I work 32 hours a week).”

I used to work two fulltime jobs while attending graduate school. What’s your excuse, honey?

“All I can afford to eat for lunch is a cup of coffee and a bag of potato chips.”

I used to eat rice with uncooked onion and Korean Korean teriyaki sauce for flavoring. You can get a 50 pound bag of rice and that will feed you for weeks. In other words, SHUT UP!


8 posted on 05/17/2014 9:03:34 PM PDT by vladimir998
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

They are really slow to come around. Have you ever seen the economy this dead?


9 posted on 05/17/2014 9:04:14 PM PDT by FreeperCell
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I wasn’t aware that WalMart had press gangs that roamed the land - kidnapping folks and forcing them to work in the store.


10 posted on 05/17/2014 9:04:32 PM PDT by ASOC (What are you doing now that Mexico has become OUR Chechnya?)
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To: Little Pig

Except for assistant store manager and above. There are not that many of those compared to cashiers, stockers, janitors and the like. A store manager makes rather decent money (average of $137,778 in US) and an assistant is in the mid five figures.


11 posted on 05/17/2014 9:05:12 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $2M for Cruz and/or Palin's next run, what will you do?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Wal*Mart can only be underpaying you if the going rate for your skills is more than what they’re paying you. If that’s the case, whether because Wal*Mart is “greedy” or because you’re underemployed in your present position, get a job that uses your superior skills and pays the market rate for them. If you’re only capable of doing the same work all the other Wal*Mart people are doing for that wage, then that’s all you’re worth. Sorry to break it to you like this. If Wal*Mart wants a certain batch of tasks done, and there are tons of people capable of doing it, and they’re willing to work for $6/hr, that’s what that job is worth. You can’t expect them to pay you $20 to do the same job they can get 500 other people to do for $6.


12 posted on 05/17/2014 9:05:34 PM PDT by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
WOW! Pam Ramos is a slave? She cannot leave Walmart and find a better paying job? I a sure Salon or Slate or The Huffington Post would be willing to pay such a great writer a hell of a lot more than $25,000 a year.
What? they are not looking for fiction writers? Damn.

My Brother in law has worked for Walmart for a long time, loves his job and makes quiet a bit more than 25,000.
So I gotta call BullChitt on Ms Ramos’ tale of woe.

13 posted on 05/17/2014 9:05:35 PM PDT by Tupelo (I feel more like Philip Nolan every day)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Well, I think she deserves to fly around on Air Force One with 0, for the remainder of his term. I think she deserves all of the future royalties of all of his current and future books. I think she deserves to vacation with Mooch, for the next two years. How about that? Will that help? Will that make it even?


14 posted on 05/17/2014 9:06:06 PM PDT by Jane Long (While Marxists continue the fundamental transformation of the USA, progressive RINOs assist!)
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To: FreeperCell

Not in my lifetime, and I’m 54.


15 posted on 05/17/2014 9:06:44 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $2M for Cruz and/or Palin's next run, what will you do?)
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To: Little Pig
I realize that the Obama-created economy is so bad that any job is better than nothing. However, Walmart jobs are NOT a career, and do not pay career-level wages. They are not a job you should expect to be able to live off of.

What are you, crazy? Don't you realize that every job that was considered entry level training jobs are now to be considered full time, full pay, full benefit jobs! And that would put the pay for jobs that actually require a skillset born of education and training in the $100,000 per year scale, so that means that a Doctor should be making a minimum $500,000 per year. Anyone without a brain like this whiner could see how that would work. NOT

16 posted on 05/17/2014 9:06:57 PM PDT by Mastador1 (I'll take a bad dog over a good politician any day!)
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To: vladimir998

A lot of immigrants used to have their 2 or 3 kids in a two room apartment and eating wholesome, but bare quality, food and both parents each worked 60 hours a week to create a life for their kids.


17 posted on 05/17/2014 9:08:21 PM PDT by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
One wonders if Ms. Ramos may have had some "assistance" in writing this.

It somehow has that special "community organized" tone, n'est ce pas?

.

18 posted on 05/17/2014 9:08:57 PM PDT by Seaplaner (Never give in. Never give in. Never...except to convictions of honour and good sense. W. Churchill)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“I sleep on the floor of my son’s living room because I can’t afford my own place.”

Your son won’t let you sleep on a couch or fold-out bed? You’re old enough to have an adult son, but haven’t managed to get a decent job in decades?

“All of my belongings are in my car.”

You can’t move those items into your son’s home? I could never imagine allowing my mother to live like that. I would work three jobs if necessary to take care of a family member. What is with these people?

“I don’t know where to send my mail.”

How about your son’s place? How about the Wal-Mart store (it might work). I have my mail sent to where I work all the time.


19 posted on 05/17/2014 9:09:06 PM PDT by vladimir998
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I wonder how you say “Gibs me dat” in Spanish?


20 posted on 05/17/2014 9:10:13 PM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

This was probably written in the White House. Pitiful.


21 posted on 05/17/2014 9:11:06 PM PDT by keat
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To: ClearCase_guy

Profit!!!


22 posted on 05/17/2014 9:11:14 PM PDT by RichInOC (Palin 2016: The Perfect Storm.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Another Gimme Type wanting something for nothing

I doubt Ramos would work any harder or longer for the $25k

In fact, I’d bet she would start slacking off (if not doing so already)

Get a higher paying job, Ramos, if you aren’t happy


23 posted on 05/17/2014 9:11:27 PM PDT by A_Former_Democrat (Shame on Sam The Sham . . . Michael ScAM)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

1. You are worth exactly what you are getting paid at any given moment. If you think you should be getting more you should go where your work has more value. Or do better at the job you have.

2. Obama and people like him are directly responsible for much of your lack of opportunity to move to a better job.

3. Opportunity is just that; a chance to do better and work harder, not a guaranty of more money. Stop reasoning like a child.


24 posted on 05/17/2014 9:11:38 PM PDT by servo1969
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The Walmart store under discussion is right in the middle of SillyCon Valley. This is one of the very few places in USA today where there are still some jobs for people.

Many of the local jobs there pay high wages. What a worker needs is a saleable skill. Working at Walmart is fine but obviously does not pay engineering or computer programming wages.

So, what to do? Well, for starters, your Walmart employment location is just a couple miles from Foothill College. Foothill College is one of the very best community colleges in the entire United States (as you might expect, given its primary service area is Palo Alto and Stanford University). Foothill has dozens of good study courses that will lead you to much higher earnings than Walmart can or will ever pay you.

Its really that simple. Incidentally, Foothill (and its sister college a couple miles away, De Anza, and all the California Community Colleges ... and you have several more in your area!) charge the lowest fees in America. And, you probably qualify for a Board of Governors Fee Waiver (a simple one page application form).... whereby you can study for free, or nearly so (they might still charge you the parking and health fees, but really...even without a fee waiver, they’re GIVING IT AWAY!)

Check it out.
Here’s Foothill’s info:

http://foothill.edu/images/build/img1.jpg

Here’s DeAnza’s info:

http://deanza.edu/

I very much respect you are working, and Walmart is NOT the worst employer in the world. DO a good job there, be proud of yourself, but find a study course on the side and start building your VALUE in the employment MARKETPLACE.

(Complaining about “income inequality” is BS. The people who earn more are the people who have more skills than you presently appear to have, albeit I DO respect your work at Walmart, we all know that stocking merchandise or running a cash register is just not a road to riches, is all. It is wonderful you are doing the job. Now, make yourself qualified to do a higher-paid job. You have the tools to do it, just hop over to El Monte Road or Stevens Creek Road and sign up for some good courses .... in fields you think you might enjoy, and fields which PAY A LOT MORE!)

You have the resources right there .... and you won’t find a more beautiful college anywhere than Foothill, inidentally.
Go for it, buddy!
Go for it!


25 posted on 05/17/2014 9:11:56 PM PDT by faithhopecharity ((Brilliant, Profound Tag Line Goes Here, just as soon as I can think of one..))
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To: vladimir998

My first job was in field service in power plants...long hours, jobs all over the west. You couldn’t maintain a home because you were always on the road.

A colleague was so cheap he’d buy cases of peanut butter and saltines at discount prices and live on that...and bank the per diem food allowance. He’s probably a multimillionaire today.

Public whining is so unbecoming. What a shame that nobody is ashamed anymore of saying anything in public. Not many years ago, the author of this essay would have been so ashamed that she wouldn’t be seen in public after publishing it.


26 posted on 05/17/2014 9:12:40 PM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

So, her *fundemental* problem is that she has a part time job that caps her at about 25-30* hours per week...and she doesn’t work anywhere else, so Walmart is to pay her - and others in completely different conditions - more because they don’t need her to work more?

*$400/ $8.00 minimum per hour/2 weeks = 25 hours/ week, plus hours to pay for taxes and deductions.


27 posted on 05/17/2014 9:12:55 PM PDT by lepton ("It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I sleep on the floor of my son’s living room because I can’t afford my own place

Darned son would not even let her sleep on the couch next we will learn she haste sleep on a old rug with a torn blanket for warmth


28 posted on 05/17/2014 9:13:18 PM PDT by mouser (Run the rats out its the only chance we have)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
well, its a hard situation but he's an adult, with a grown son.....are we to believe he can't do any other kind of work?....

I know nurses that work full time at the hospital and then pick up a few hrs across town...I know men that work 2 jobs....my father did...my husband too...

there must be something good about working for Walmart....like maybe you get a nice discount?...pretty clean environment....stable industry....

29 posted on 05/17/2014 9:13:54 PM PDT by cherry
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Since when is any business a welfare organization?


30 posted on 05/17/2014 9:14:11 PM PDT by SkyDancer (I Believe In The Law Until It Intereferes With Justice. And Pay Your Liberty Tax Citizen.)
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To: vladimir998

There hours were cut to 32 thanks to Obamacare.

Pray America wakes up


31 posted on 05/17/2014 9:14:17 PM PDT by bray (Palin 2016)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
RE :”I used to think, “At least I have my health and my family.” But my doctor thinks I may have colon cancer, and with all of the money I still owe the hospital, I’m not sure how to finish the tests and get treatment. Even though I do have insurance through Wal-Mart, the co-pays are more than I can afford with only $400 every two weeks.
I wanted to tell the president I am scared. I am scared for my health. I am scared for the future for my grandkids. And I am scared and sad about the direction that companies like Wal-Mart are taking our country. “

Why doesn't he just get online and sign up for Obamacare instead of this whining?

32 posted on 05/17/2014 9:14:25 PM PDT by sickoflibs (Obama : 'I never said that you can keep your doctor . Republicans lie about me ')
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To: Jonty30

“A lot of immigrants used to have their 2 or 3 kids in a two room apartment and eating wholesome, but bare quality, food and both parents each worked 60 hours a week to create a life for their kids.”

Exactly. There’s something wrong with this story. Where’s the father of her son? Are there other children who could take her in? If she has an adult son, doesn’t that mean that she has been an adult herself for 20 or more years most likely? What did she do in that time to improve her lot? Did she go to school? Did she learn a trade? One week of illness and a handful of medical tests rendered her homeless? She saved no money over the last 20 or 30 years? She had no family member who could have helped her with one month’s bills? Did she ask her church for help? I feel sorry for this lady, but mostly because she is so helpless in a world where you have to make your own way. She is simply not equipped to do that apparently.


33 posted on 05/17/2014 9:14:38 PM PDT by vladimir998
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Also curious if Senora Ramos gets any government assistance that she neglected to tell us about.

Including any welfare via EITC


34 posted on 05/17/2014 9:14:44 PM PDT by A_Former_Democrat (Shame on Sam The Sham . . . Michael ScAM)
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To: vladimir998
I went to college working two jobs, sometimes double shifts and still
took martial arts lessons and lived in a decent apartment.

Who the hell do some of these Americans think they are, thinking they
are entitled to have only one job and earn a respectable living!

She has time to work many jobs to make the income she desires. Heck,
if someone came into my office requesting more work because the other
job isn't enough hours, I would hire that person in a heartbeat.

That's what Americans call "Work Ethic" and I'll be damned if I feel
sorry for some lazy-assed person who wants somebody else to get the money for them!

Audacity, asking the President to force a company to pay them more money.
It 's the same President who is causing all the problems using Zerocare
to make companies cut worker wages, hours, and benefits.

So there lady. Get out of America, you are nothing but a lush!

35 posted on 05/17/2014 9:15:29 PM PDT by MaxMax (Pay Attention and you'll be pissed off too! FIRE BOEHNER, NOW!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

BULLSHITTE! What son would make his colon cancer mother sleep on the floor?


36 posted on 05/17/2014 9:16:28 PM PDT by longfellow (Bill Maher, the 21st hijacker.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Hey Pam. You should be proud of your white privilege. See how well that’s workin’ for ya? No wonder they wouldn’t let you near the lyin’king his-self.


37 posted on 05/17/2014 9:16:29 PM PDT by rktman (Ethnicity: Nascarian. Race: Daytonafivehundrian)
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To: Tupelo

In Obama’s economy, you believe people can get better jobs?

Hahahahahhahhahaha.

You’re funny.

Not that I disagree with you on your general point.


38 posted on 05/17/2014 9:16:42 PM PDT by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults)
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To: cherry

I worked three jobs for several years during my first marriage so that my wife could stay home with the kids.


39 posted on 05/17/2014 9:17:03 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $2M for Cruz and/or Palin's next run, what will you do?)
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To: bray

“There hours were cut to 32 thanks to Obamacare.”

I assumed that too. I worked 260 hours in September. I worked 216 in March. She worked 128 hours. She could get a part time job (if she can find one of course).


40 posted on 05/17/2014 9:17:47 PM PDT by vladimir998
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To: SkyDancer; 2ndDivisionVet
"Since when is any business a welfare organization?"

When Democrats are in power via Executive Action...

41 posted on 05/17/2014 9:18:36 PM PDT by Mad Dawgg (If you're going to deny my 1st Amendment rights then I must proceed to the 2nd one...)
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To: Jonty30; Tupelo

Depends on where you live. There’re all kinds of good jobs here.

http://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=&l=76208


42 posted on 05/17/2014 9:19:28 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $2M for Cruz and/or Palin's next run, what will you do?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Well Pam, I'm pretty sure obama would be delighted to hear your story.

It means his plan is working perfectly.

And you still worship him!

43 posted on 05/17/2014 9:19:50 PM PDT by null and void (When was the last time you heard anyone say: "It's a free country"?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I’m told of a cashier at a nearby WalMart who has worked for more than 20 years, and invested in the stock. They say she has more than a million saved for retirement just in Walmart stock. Which means she earns some really good dividends as well.


44 posted on 05/17/2014 9:20:20 PM PDT by DeaconBenjamin (A trillion here, a trillion there, soon you're NOT talking real money)
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To: Seaplaner

“One wonders if Ms. Ramos may have had some “assistance” in writing this.
It somehow has that special “community organized” tone, n’est ce pas?”

You noticed that too.


45 posted on 05/17/2014 9:20:43 PM PDT by Attention Surplus Disorder (At no time was the Obama administration aware of what the Obama administration was doing)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Did her brain fall out? How bad can it be if her brain didn’t fall out? Most of the jobs I’ve had, your brain falls out. It’s bad, but where do you think generals come from? There were times when my brain went flying out and I thought, “You know, I’d kill for an easy Walmart job where your brain doesn’t fly out.”


46 posted on 05/17/2014 9:21:25 PM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

If Walmart divided all of its profit between its 800,000+ employees, it would amount to less than $20,000 more per employee. That’s a lot of money if you’re making $25,000, but shareholders, the people who actually invested to make those jobs to start with, would get squat, and Walmart would be unable to do essential things like build new distribution centers that allow it to improve it’s operations to keep pace with its competitors. It would be like a farmer eating his seed corn.


47 posted on 05/17/2014 9:22:20 PM PDT by CitizenUSA (America for Americans first!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

One of the hard lessons to learn in life is that a person will NEVER be paid what they are worth or what they bring into the business. Rather there are two values that provide the upper and lower range of the pay that you will receive.

The lower value is what a person is willing to work for. If the individual is unwilling to work for X dollars, then they will not take the job.

The upper value is what it costs to replace the individual. If the job requires limited skills, there are a LOT of people who can qualify for that job, and the price for that job is thus reduced.


48 posted on 05/17/2014 9:23:33 PM PDT by taxcontrol
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

And at SouthbayLabor.org it says:

Walmart employee Pamela Ramos, who works at the Mountain View Walmart the President visited, is living in her car because low wages and medical bills keep her from covering the rent.


49 posted on 05/17/2014 9:23:39 PM PDT by sockmonkey (Of course I didn't read the article. After all, this is Free Republic.)
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To: DeaconBenjamin

Doug McMillon

President and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

http://corporate.walmart.com/our-story/leadership/executive-management/doug-mcmillon/

“Doug is a longtime champion of Walmart’s customer, its associates and the company’s culture. In 1984, he started out as an hourly summer associate in a Walmart distribution center. “


50 posted on 05/17/2014 9:25:13 PM PDT by digger48
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