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Labor-backed 'Wake Up Wal-Mart' tour stops in St. Louis

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(KWMU photo/Matt Sepic)
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By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – Political leaders and labor activists held an anti-Wal-Mart rally today in St. Louis.

The gathering was part of a 19-state bus tour called Wake Up Wal-Mart.

Organizers say the retail chain is part of the reason many American jobs have moved overseas.

Jim Dougherty of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union in St. Louis said Wal-Mart is notorious for low pay in its stores.

"At Wal-Mart, the average associate gets paid poverty-level wages," Dougherty said. "At Wal-Mart, they still refuse to adopt a zero-tolerance policy on child labor. That must change."

However the company said it prohibits its suppliers from using illegal child labor.

And one employee company officials made available to reporters Friday said her experience has been positive.

Cindy Galati manages part of a St. Louis-area store. She said she worked her way up in the company after starting as a part-time employee.

"We have a competitive wage and benefits package," Galati said. "And going forward our company will always work on trying to improve our benefits and make them affordable to as many associates in our company as possible.

The "Wake Up Wal-Mart" bus tour is sponsored by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. It travels next to Chicago.

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