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Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on White House Facilitating Walmart’s Public Relations Move

Walmart’s recent announcement of a plan to hire returning honorably discharged veterans is more about public relations than honoring our heroes. That this effort was valorized by President Obama and Vice President Biden reflects an acceptance of economic failure out of line with America’s history or future.

We owe it to our returning veterans to make sure they are treated as the heroes they are, rather than as symbols used to “greenwash” Walmart’s eroding brand. After facing enemies abroad, is an $8.81 an hour part-time job the best we can offer returning veterans?

Already, working families and our economy are struggling against an epidemic of low-paying, low-benefit, part-time work.  Instead of legitimizing that trend, we need to treat the talents of our veterans—and of all of America’s people—as a critical national resource.  

We need businesses in this country to step up and make family-sustaining jobs available to returning veterans. Previous generations of heroes returned from overseas service to critical jobs in manufacturing, construction and public service, jobs that enabled veterans to help build the nation and support families. With the right policies, including those in President Obama and Vice President Biden’s American Jobs Act, we can live up to the standards of our past and empower our veterans for the future.

Contact: Jeff Hauser, (202) 637-5018

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