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Workers at anti-poverty World Bank struggle to pay bills

Workers at anti-poverty World Bank struggle to pay bills

On Wednesday, April 12, 2023, outside the World Bank in Washington, workers hired by the Compass Group to provide food for World Bank staff demonstrate in favor of increased pay and more affordable healthcare coverage. Photo by Mariam Zuhaib for AP
Washington, D.C. Andre Blount says he has worked at the World Bank's headquarters for almost ten years and has only received one raise totaling fifty cents.

Blount and his employees are attempting to draw attention to what they perceive as a frustrating situation when world leaders gather in Washington, D.C. this week for the organization's spring summit.

The employees of a company whose goal is to end poverty are themselves finding it difficult to make ends meet. According to union organizers, a quarter of the World Bank contract employees who prepare meals are dependent on public assistance programs like SNAP or food stamps to make ends meet.

Blount, 33, joined red-shirted union members last week on a picket line outside the development bank on a scorching afternoon and declared, "It's sickening." "They travel the globe looking for ways to assist people, but there are hundreds of employees in Washington, D.C., who are in need."

Meanwhile, inside, businessmen in suits were moving around the lobby, buying "End Poverty" t-shirts and tote bags.

The large café in the building has a view of an indoor pond and can satisfy even the pickiest eaters. There is a soup station dubbed "Ladle and Crust," a "Mediterranean Table" counter that serves hummus and tabouli, and a sushi chef who makes rolls and sashimi to request.