Eleanor Kinnaird: Problem with Pope

May 4, 2014 

Regarding the April 26 Triangle Politics item “ Mayor to skip Art Pope’s ribbon-cutting”: Art Pope expressed disappointment that Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarland did not respond to his invitation to attend the ribbon-cutting of his Raleigh Roses Express store last week.

If Pope had announced a new business relationship with his Roses employees at the ribbon-cutting, I am sure he would have had not only the mayor but hundreds of others in attendance. If he had announced he would pay his employees an average of $20.89 an hour and provide health insurance to all employees as Costco does and create an on-site child care center for his workers who are parents of young children, he would have filled the sidewalk and street with supporters of his store.

It is true Pope’s stores provide low-cost goods for low-income people, but so does Walmart. And there is pressure on Walmart to treat its employees better. It can be done.

Pope takes pride in being a philanthropist, but if his workers were paid a decent wage with health insurance, they wouldn’t need and would greatly prefer not to take charity – his or the government’s (i.e. taxpayers’).

Eleanor Kinnaird

Chapel Hill

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