“But I think the time has come, so they take notice that these associates are tired of all the issues in the stores, all the management retaliating against you. They expect the work to be done, without having the people to do the job.”
~Pico Rivera, Wal Mart Department Manager
Wal-Mart prides itself on its low prices and it does just that but there are no free lunches. Most people do not seem to realize that we subsidize Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart pays its employees horrible wages … very, very few people make more than $10 an hour. Many are brought in at $8.00 or maybe minimum wage. The vast majority of entry level workers who can afford to work there are people who are either retired and collecting social security, kids living with mom or they’re just worker bees who receive food stamps and/or Medicaid because they can’t afford to live without it.
To avoid having to pay for health insurance for its employees – Wal-Mart has moved to giving fewer and fewer hours to its employees so they don’t qualify. Wal-Mart workers receive bad pay, few benefits and have to work in an environment that saps one’s soul. Wal-Mart made $26.5 billion in profits off of $447 billion in sales in 2012. Their core clientele … their target demographic is generally people who make $70,000 a year or less.
Every time you hear Mitt Romney or some conservative call out the Obama administration for being the “food stamp president” and cry out what a shame it is that we have 46 million people on food stamps … you need to understand that most of those people are working. Those politicians attack the fact that the government program exists but not that government is allowing these large corporations like Wal-Mart to pay its workers poorly and thus depriving those workers of the ability to live without the assistance of government assistance. These workers are forced to work in an environment where the minimum wage is already below what the market dictates businesses must pay in order to keep employees. The minimum wage isn’t a living wage.
I will not shop at Wal-Mart. I don’t like their policies for their workers. I don’t like how they drive small businesses out of business. I do not like how they are basically a retail outlet for low wage country’s products. I’m willing to pay a little more for a business that pays its workers a little more and doesn’t specialize in inferior products. And I am especially unwilling to shop their given their extremely anti-union policies.
And you shouldn’t either. When consumers leave because of their poor policies … they will change their policies. But – not a minute before. And it’s absolutely obscene that the 6 heirs of Wal-Mart’s founder – Sam Walton – are worth more than the bottom 48 million families in the U.S. combined (source). 6 kids who did nothing in their lives are worth more than 30% of America … and it is precisely those 30% of America that keeps buying Wal-Mart products and services. It’s a horrible irony.
Remember this – the decline of the labor movement is one of the primary causes in the decline in American income. Not only that – 25% of all private jobs pay less than $10 an hour. That’s a disgrace. I’ve written about this HERE.
Alternet gives us 4 reasons not to like Wal-Mart HERE:
#1 – Wal-Mart lost a $187 Million class action lawsuit for not giving workers breaks or meal time
#2 – Wal-Mart is being sued in a huge class action lawsuit for paying women less in a gender pay discrimination suit
#3 - ”For every two jobs that a Wal-Mart adds, they destroy three.”
#4 – Poor Wages and Union Busting
Dozens of workers staged a walkout at multiple Wal Marts on 10/4 for the first time in its 50 year history; you can read about that HERE:
The strikers are taking a risk. With certain exceptions, courts have found that U.S. law prohibits disciplining non-union workers who go on strike in an effort to improve their working conditions. “The bottom line,” former NLRB Chair Wilma Liebman said yesterday, “is non-union people, as well as unionized people, have a right to concertedly walk off the job in protest.” Whether employers can legally permanently replace striking workers (effectively terminating them) depends on whether a strike is ruled to have been in protest of Unfair Labor Practices, and whether the workers offered to come back before the company had hired replacements. But Walmart strikers said yesterday that they expect the company will seek ways to punish them anyway. Already, photo department worker Victoria Martinez said yesterday, “Every time I go into work, I get panic attacks…I’m always wondering what are they going to try to do to me when I come in.”
Interviewed yesterday, University of California labor historian Nelson Lichtenstein predicted that in the event of a Walmart employee strike, public relations would play a bigger role in restricting Walmart’s response than any legal restrictions. If a work stoppage mustered “a substantial number of the workers” in a store, he said, then “a tougher response would be a PR disaster.”
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