*Pam Ramos was excited to hear that president Barack Obama would be visiting the Walmart store she has worked at for the past four years in Mountain View, a city in the Santa Clara County section of northern California. The president was in Silicon Valley to engage in fundraisers for the DNC, and would also visit Walmart to speak on the important of energy efficiency; especially since the store has a goal of powering its facilities with 100 percent renewable energy according to The San Jose Mercury News.
But Ramos’ excitement died and she knew her already slim chances to get a word with Obama went with it when she learned the store would shut down a few hours in advance to prepare.
Just like the family having company and running around to clean areas they’d neglected for months, Walmart didn’t want any disgruntled employees around to mess up the best foot they planned to put forward.
While it may have been totally unrealistic for an employee to have the president’s ear at any point of his visit to her employer, I have come to know that when someone wants something bad enough…
Could happen. But it didn’t.
Ramos didn’t just want to complain, she knows there are many Americans in her same position of wage inequality. She was hoping to be able to offer some solutions.
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.
Unfortunately, during his visit to their store, the president didn’t get to hear about the 825K Walmart employees who work full-time yet bring home only $400 every two weeks.
Exactly who was he speaking to from that podium in the middle of the Walmart store?
POTUS didn’t get to shake the hands of, nor look into the eyes of, Pam Ramos and her colleagues who work for the country’s largest employer – and brings in $16 billion in profits – yet offers such crappy health benefits that workers have co-pays that end up eating sizable chunks of their paycheck; especially if they have health challenges, like Ramos.
Mr. Obama missed getting a glimpse at Ramos at lunchtime, as she sat alone at a side table munching on her lunch which consists of a bag of chips and a cup of coffee, because that’s all she can afford.
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.
Thank you, Pam Ramos. To read more of this story visit Salon.com .