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Walmart has absolutely no shame

This is ridiculous. If they are so concerned about their employees having a decent Thanksgiving, how about DONATING something to them yourself, Walmart?

Or better yet, how about a living wage?

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013...

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  1. This isn't solely the Ohio Walmart store's policy...at least, not only that store's policy. My H was once a bix box home improvement store employee. They had an in-house "food pantry" area of the locker room for employees to anonymously donate/select from shelf-stable items. It was particularly busy during the holidays (in terms of both donations and folks using items).

    2 Replies
    1. re: pinehurst

      Orange or blue? I was orange. One time there was a horrible robbery that ended up with a manager dead. They set up a donation cup in the break room. I was looking for the phrase "we will match the donations 100%" but of course that wasn't there. I believe the life insurance policy was 30 or 50k at the time.

      1. re: youareabunny

        Orange.
        So awful about the manager's death! Lots of confrontations, robberies, assaults in H's former store, but no deaths so far (knocking wood). The stress level of the employees was (and is) sky high.

    2. Of course they have no shame. They're a corporation. They know the bottom line is that their minimum wage employees will jump at the opportunity to make overtime to move product that would normally sit unsold until 12:01 a.m. on Friday. Perish the thought.

      I'm waiting for the day when the "Spectacular After Christmas Sale" starts at 6:00 a.m. Christmas morning when bargain-hunting parents drag bleary-eyed tots through the aisles before they've even opened this years gifts. T'is the season.
      CP.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Chefpaulo

        I work at a major retailer and have for many years. They are out there as soon as the stores open on the 26th, and would be there on Christmas Day if the stores were open. I don't drop F bombs on this site, but get a fucking life. Stay home with your families. I'll work 2 am till 2 pm the day after Thanksgiving, and I feel lucky, many are coming in at 3 pm Thanksgiving Day to take care of the cheapskate customers. Most of the doorbusters are cheap crap. Get a life losers, and quit sitting in line for up to 72 hours for this fucking junk.

        1. re: James Cristinian

          I work in retail as well and agree with you that as a company the goal is too make $$. However there are many, many people who don't celebrate thanksgiving or christmas. These people are willing to work and/or shop as its just another day to them. These same people are also expected to work on their high holidays. Many managers, our own included, don't put much of priority on non-christian faiths.

          There are just as many people who are willing to sacrifice family time to pay the bills. Many of these associates fear losing their jobs by saying no to working on the holiday. They are often pain time and half on these days (depending on the state) and that lure can be hard to ignore.

          I was just told that I was expected to be out "competitive shopping" on black friday (a paid company holiday) with an expectation that we would report back on our findings the following Monday. fun stuff

          1. re: foodieX2

            Dang, mystery shop and paid plus holiday pay, I'm in. I have to respectively disagree about the extra time to pay bills. We're not Wally World and nobody is getting rich, but most people are seriously pissed about coming in at 3 or 4 on Thanksgiving, OT or not. I talked to a guy today that is working 4 to 12 PM plus Wednesday, frying turkeys in the whenever to feed and be with family, and back at 4 pm Thanksgiving, Sometimes money doesn't trump family.

            1. re: James Cristinian

              Wally World. A fellow Jay Ward and Bill Scott fan, I see.
              Walt was so enraged by that episode he almost sued them into oblivion.

              I will be sitting down to Thanksgiving with good friends and no thoughts of what I'm missing at Walmart. I invite all others to our table to give thanks.
              CP

          2. re: James Cristinian

            I appreciate your post and you're right on with it. But if you are posting with your real name might I suggest you flag your post. CH might seem like a harmless place but one never knows. Unless you have nothing to lose of course.

          1. re: HillJ

            And as we have been discussing in the other thread on food pantries, Walmart is one of the big box stores I referred to that is giving pallets full of Cheetos, Pop Tarts and Pringles to our local food pantry and got lots of local PR for doing it.

            1. re: sandiasingh

              The WalMart Foundation supports thousands of non profit and community programs though. Food programs and dozens of other grant categories. Charities must apply for the grants to receive funding consideration. The process is not automatic year to year and even those rec'ing grants can lose them after one year. So, even with what you dislike about BIG BOX, charities are the ones making the decision to approach WalMart in the first place. The PR comes irregardless of what they provide since they write it.

              In response to what happens at the local store though. If BIG BOX is as generous to charities as it reports to be (see Foundation PR for that) then don't you believe they should be able to support their employees first?

                1. re: C. Hamster

                  That depends on how you feel about Walmart. When I read in the local paper that our food pantry was receiving "food" from Walmart I was appalled. As someone who has written and received grants as well as awarded grants, I am well aware of the process and the resulting publicity that is part of the package.

                  The public image of a food pantry partnering with Walmart is disgusting on so many levels; for one, showing a lack of creativity and innovation on the part of the asker. As I said in another thread today on that subject, just because you are poor does not mean you don't value quality in your food. You don't have to be an organic freak, but you also don't have to be treated like a dog, and--IMHO--anyone with a connection to Walmart (except the poor people who have to work there) is a non-starter for me.

                  Do I have strong feelings about this subject? I'd say so.

                  1. re: sandiasingh

                    I applaud your strong feelings, sandi but I wonder if you have approached the store Mgr or food pantry to see if they are in fact given no choice over what they accept.

                    Tonight I spoke with a ED from a local group that receives food donations from TJ's and she is given a list of items offered and asked to check off what she wants to receive. TJ's loaded her van until it was filled to the brim. She got was she asked for.

                    1. re: HillJ

                      I have HillJ and they don't know what they are getting until the truck pulls up to their back door. I do know, from an email from the coordinator, that they do not work with the SNAP people to help facilitate that process. It's very frustrating.

                      I hope other food pantries are as fortunate as the one you refer to. That's the way it should work.

                        1. re: HillJ

                          Good idea. I will make that suggestion, HillJ. Thanks.

                    2. re: sandiasingh

                      WOW! So would I. You've left me wondering how much you know of "food pantries," and how and who they feed? Some (many?) of these organizations that are linked together loosely under that category are really more like the "soup kitchens" of the Great Depression, in that they consist of volunteers cooking donated food to feed the poor and hungry.

                      After all of the disasters we've had this past year from floods, tornados and such, do you know how many homeless FAMILIES will be having Thanksgiving dinner together in food-pantry-supplied soup kitchens because their homes were washed away by flood or storm and FEMA still hasn't gotten temporary housing to them? MANY of those people owned their homes free and clear, some had large mortgages on them and no flood insurance as riders to their home owner's insurance, so they're paying a "home" mortgage for a vacant lot that has to be cleared of rubble to really qualify in that category, but meantime they have to meet their mortgage payments and face Thanksgiving with no kitchen.

                      I say hooray for Walmart and any other mega corporation that "tosses a few bones" to the hungry dogs yelping at their doors. Some of those poor dogs may even be higher level managers at Walmart. And some of them may be military veterans who have been cut loose and denied health care for their very serious post traumatic stress syndrome.

                      With Thanksgiving exactly one week from tomorrow, I say hooray for Walmart and everyone else, corporate or individual, who drops a can of food into the arms of the soup kitchens and food pantries.

                      Sandia, Honey Bunch, you need to take up deep breathing and let a little love into your soul! I wish you and yours a GREAT Thanksgiving!!! :-) :-) :-)

                      1. re: sandiasingh

                        I can't believe I'm going to defend Wal-Mart but if they're going to donate food to pantries, I'm all for it. Having worked in a local pantry for years, there are times when the shelves are empty, not even the basics like cereal, peanut butter, etc. Yes, people who go there would love to have high quality food but if you need to choose between cereal and peanut butter that Wal-Mart has donated or letting your children go hungry, you Wal-Mart. The reality is that some people shop at Wal-Mart because they need to feed their family on minimum wage and people will accept free food, no matter where it's from, if they want to eat. It would be one thing if the shelf space that TJ or other organizations donate were taken up by Wal-Mart food, but that's not the case. Given your dislike of Wal-mart, would your decision be to let those people go hungry? Because that's the only other alternative.

                  1. We dont shop at Walmart as a family... and I feel that they should not pressure their customers to provide for their employees from their own store... it is tacky..
                    However, I do know that the PTA at moms school knows which teachers are having a hard time around theholidays and discreatly slips an envlope in his/her box at school. with cards to local markets.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: girloftheworld

                      My understanding was that customers were not involved in the food drive, it was employees only.

                      1. re: Samalicious

                        Correct. The sign and the collection bins are located inside an employee lounge. A worker took the picture and provided it to the newspaper. The comment about tacky pressure on customers is not only factually wrong, completely misses the point about why this story is so infuriating.

                        I heard a statistic today that 40% of the American workforce is now earning less than $20k annually. Since it is impossible to subsist at or near the minimum wage, many of the working poor are forced to supplement their meager incomes via the social safety net. In effect, the taxpayers subsidize corporations like Walmart to pad their profits through their unlivable wages. Raising the minimum wage so that anyone who works full time will be compensated above the poverty line is long overdue.

                        1. re: Gizmo56

                          Thanks for clarifying the media spin!

                          Pretty ironic about the wages- employees remain at a financial level where they're almost guaranteed to spend their money back at Walmart to economize.

                          1. re: salsailsa

                            Especially with the employee discount card. One year I looked over a statement of "wages and benefits" which showed I had saved $200 over the year using my 10% discount card. Then I realized that meant I had taken $2000 of my wages (much more, really) and handed it right back to Walmart. (I smoked at the time, so it was probably more like $3000 since you couldn't discount cigarettes.)

                            Also during my time there the Christmas cash bonus became a Christmas Walmart gift card.

                            1. re: salsailsa

                              Yes, it is like the old days of "sold my soul to the company store."

                              Ironically, one of the benefits in raising the wage would be an increase in the spending potential of the working poor, which would increase sales at retailers like Walmart, fast food restaurants, etc. It would provide an economic stimulus for the broader economy, and particularly for the very sorts of businesses that tend to employ a large part of their workforce at or near minimum wage levels.

                      2. These retailers don't expect to get goods from wholesalers at less than the cost to produce them. That wouldn't be sustainable in the long run.
                        .
                        Why do they expect to get human labor at less than the cost it takes to produce that? That labor model isn't sustainable. There are the costs of rent, food, raising a family, healthcare, taxes, making a reasonable profit for your labor, etc.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Antilope

                          It is sustainable if the govt. and private charity makes up the difference for workers, so long as the trend doesn't generalize to the entire economy. Yours is a good argument for a higher minimum wage.

                          1. re: Cachetes

                            Exactly! $7B a year is the estimated amount of government assistance paid in the US to workers at fast food and other minimum wage employers (Walmart included).

                            Apparently we're all for welfare, as long as the recipients are large corporations.

                            http://www.businessweek.com/articles/...

                        2. There is a disconnect somewhere when Walmart advertises on TV as the oasis of employment opportunity, while consistently making the top 10 list of the lowest paying employers in the country. Walmart's profits last year were $17 billion. Sure, they pay taxes, but those are partially offset by the large amount of public assistance its employees collect because of the paltry pay.

                          21 Replies
                          1. re: Veggo

                            I would not be so sure they pay taxes. Many of the top corporations in this country pay not one dime in taxes.

                            I heard that the reason we are seeing all these mushy Walmart commercials about their happy employees is because they are hurting. Their business is down. People are outraged over their business model and just aren't shopping there anymore--at least those people who are somewhat informed.

                            1. re: sandiasingh

                              The reason for the lower same store sales is exclusively because of the diminishing purchasing power and income of the middle class. Walmart has considerable economic forecasting talent in house, and they supplement it with external world-class economic research. It is not at all confined to Walmart but the trends are causing changes to business models.

                              1. re: sandiasingh

                                I shop at Wal Mart regularly. It's 1 mile down the street from me..has the cheapest food prices outside of Aldi..and in a town where the closest mall is 20 minutes away.i'm not wasting gas to drive that farther away. Not everyone shops politically..."informed" or not. Sometimes practicality and my families money and cost of living override other families and their costs of living. So your "informed" comment is a bit condescending and applies only to you. I am "informed" and still choose to shop there. Keep telling others how to spend their money (that includes Wal Mart)

                                1. re: rochfood

                                  Sorry, roch, if I offended. That was not my intention and I don't mean to sound judgmental for I do not walk in your shoes.

                                  My observation is from comments I see daily on many other blogs and posts. I have been very surprised at the outrage expressed by so many people over Walmart's practices. I don't shop there anymore, but we have options in our area and don't really need Walmart.

                                2. re: sandiasingh

                                  Rather than posit that Walmart doesn't pay taxes, why not look it up? A quick search on SEC.gov would have revealed that in 2012, Walmart paid $7.999bn in taxes on net income of $25.737bn.

                                  I'm all for bashing big box retailers when it makes sense. But fact is Walmart employs > 2mm people in the U.S. (per the BBC). The total US workforce is 150mm...

                                  This isn't indentured servitude - if Walmart employees were able to get jobs with higher pay / better benefits, I'm sure they would. The fact that many of these employees require further public assistance should not be held against Walmart. They are paying simply what the market will bear and what the government has mandated. If the government wants to legislate a higher minimum wage, then fine, but I can assure you that that means you'll just have higher average wages at Walmart, but a lower number of employees... is that really a better outcome?

                                  I truly take exception to the OP's original "living wage" point. It's so easy to stand on a soapbox and say company X should pay amount Z to its employees. This is a for profit company. It abides by the wages standards set by the government. It employs 2.2mm people, nearly 1.5% of the U.S. workforce. And oh by they way, let's say you paid every employee $10k more per year.... guess what, that company that made $17bn last year? oops, it's running at a $5bn loss.

                                  Sorry for the rant. But it has just become too easy to attack big business and guess what, its' not all bad. And most of the people who are attacking fail to really think through the ramifications of what they're trying to change.

                                  End rant.

                                  1. re: FattyDumplin

                                    "If the government wants to legislate a higher minimum wage, then fine, but I can assure you that that means you'll just have higher average wages at Walmart, but a lower number of employees... is that really a better outcome?"

                                    I am an employer (a "job creator") and have been for most of my working life. As such, I can assure you that employers employ the number of people they need in order to meet the demand of their customers. Period. That is true whether wages are higher or lower. If you think that Walmart currently has a number of people on the payroll who are paid to just stand around and do nothing, and who would then be let go if Walmart had to pay wages high enough that their employees could go off of public assistance, you don't understand business.

                                    Nobody is attacking "big business." We do question the fairness of the wages being paid by particular big businesses, which result in the working poor still not having enough to cover basic necessities, and the resulting need for public funds and private charities to thereby subsidize highly profitable corporations. There has been praise here for certain big businesses, like Costco and TJ's, who take a more enlightened and compassionate approach to the human beings that make their businesses possible.

                                    In the end, we know that growing the middle class is good for all businesses, because it creates more consumer spending power. If the minimum wage in this country was reasonable, there would be longer lines putting more money into the cash registers at Walmart and McDonald's as well all the other enterprises that are not allowing their work force to have a fair share in the success of their businesses.

                                    1. re: Gizmo56

                                      Agree to disagree. Overall, I appreciate the point you are making and I wish we lived in a world where everyone made enough to live comfortably. I'm just not convinced it's possible... Just as we'll never get the unemployment rate to 0%. It's an interesting point re: costco and TJ and how their businesses are able to support higher wages - have never really done a deep dive into how that all works.

                                      On your point about Walmart not having to cut back, the simple math says its not tenable at least as the business is currently run... even if you paid every empoyee just $10k more, Walmart would have run a loss in 2012. I work in the finance industry and I've seen how things have evolved since 2007... in all our offices, we have less people doing more now and I have no doubt that if pushed into that position, Walmart would do the same - it'd just be even harder to find a sales associate to help.

                                      Gizmo, fwiw, even though we do disagree here, I really appreciate your viewpoints and well-reasoned arguments.

                                      1. re: FattyDumplin

                                        Walmart has been cutting back on floor associates for a decade now. When I checked back at my old store in 2010, they were pushing to move 80% of their employees to part-time status. And yes, customer service has suffered dramatically as a result (and had done so most of the time I worked there) but someone has decided that reduction in payroll offsets the loss of those sales where a customer needed assistance.

                                        Your hypothetical has come and gone, but not because Walmart had to do so. It was simply to cut payroll as much as possible.

                                        1. re: FattyDumplin

                                          FattyDumplin, thank you, I likewise appreciate your thoughtful and courteous input into the discussion.

                                          The current proposals to raise the federal minimum wage would not result in a $10k annual bump for Walmart employees. Full time workers would earn less than $5k more (gross) annually, and (again) you need to see the wider picture of what the benefits are to potential sales of all business when the spending power of the 40% of our population that are at the minimum wage goes up. That improves consumer demand, it improves sales, it improves profits, and it lowers the tax burden for public assistance. You can't just imagine what happens to one company when it pays higher wages but everything else on the balance sheet is static...because raising the minimum wage for all changes revenues for the better. Public policy needs to focus on measures that grow demand and enlarge the whole economic "pie," and you won't get there with a labor force that is increasingly being forced below the poverty line.

                                          I appreciate that you haven't done a deep dive into a business model that takes a different approach toward its labor force. It is not just TJ and Costco, it is most of the grocery industry in most states. In states that have increased their minimum wage, there is simply no evidence of loss of jobs. For example, Washington State has a minimum wage that is roughly equivalent to the proposals now circulating for the federal wage, and Walmart is conducting business in Washington state, just as staffed-up, and with just as competitive prices as elsewhere.

                                          I know I probably have not changed your mind, but it has been a pleasant exchange.

                                          1. re: Gizmo56

                                            Unfortunately in a world where public company officials are evaluated quarter to quarter, its tough to effect a change where a) the benefits may take time to evolve and b) means stepping into the unknown. I assume its' just a matter of time until min wage is increased and I truly hope what you are saying is ultimately what transpires. Definitely leaves us all in a better place, as you say.

                                            1. re: FattyDumplin

                                              We have raised the minimum wage numerous times throughout the years to keep pace with the cost of living, just not as much as lately. During that entire period, corporate managers had the same responsibility to their shareholders to maximize profits. Moving toward better wages and benefits isn't "the unknown," its how we did things beginning in 1936, and all throughout the expansionary post-war period, when we understood the importance of a prosperous middle class, and the essential contribution of a thriving middle class to a solid structural foundation for the overall economy.

                                              We've settled on a downward spiral of slashing costs rather than expanding demand and growing the pie over the long term for the broader economy (which, as you rightly point out, is not the concern of corporations - they only care about the next quarter's earnings report and keeping up the trading price of their stock).

                                              If you do some research on Costco, you'll find that there is a wealth of press interviews with their top managers in which they discuss why they find it "business smart" for them to take better care of their employees, even in an environment where they compete against companies paying less. Costco finds that they get more productivity, a better pool of applicants from which to hire, less turnover, less problems with theft and dishonesty, and a team that is more supportive of one another in the workplace and more willing to go the extra mile to help build the company's success.

                                              Have a great Thanksgiving, everybody.

                                  2. re: Veggo

                                    I always get a smile out of those commercials..."there's opportunity here."

                                    I'm sure there is some truth to the proposition that they tend to promote from within. That's because a manager at Walmart is paid less than many entry level positions after a few years of service at more companies that are more employee-oriented such as Costco.

                                    Walmart provides "opportunity," for promotion from one underpaid position to another.

                                    1. re: Veggo

                                      Veggo, Honey Bunches! Do you have any idea how many of our U.S. military enlisted qualify for food stamps and other puclic assistance? How come Walmart gets all the flack when they are just emulating our government? EXCEPT... Walmart doesn't send any of its underpaid employees who need help from food pantries into battle. Kinda makes Walmart seem a little less of a villain when you think about it that way.

                                      So from here on, this is for everybody, and not just my friend Veggo... And before anybody starts throwing rocks at me, I'll admit it up front, I'm an "egg head" and I do tend to take the long academic picture into consideration when I'm trying to figure out who to throw a rock at. So I have this to say:

                                      Wages and prices at Walmart are PART OF the "globalization" that is taking place as a direct result of corporate "outsourcing" on a global scale. And by "outsourcing," I'm not simply talking about your cable company "outsourcing" their tech support to India. I'm talking about all the themes and variations on a theme that fall under "outsourcing." For example, Detroit, Michigan is no longer Detroit (as in (Motor City) because even though Ford and General Motors may still be selling Fords and Chevrolets in America, they are now only ASSEMBLED in America from parts MANUFACTURED in other countries. The city of Detroit is BANKRUPT! If only this was the ONLY example! I could go on and on.. in chapters!

                                      So my bottom line here is that at least our country that DOES send its employees who qualify for public assistance and use food pantries out of necessity, and Walmart, that apparently hated mega corporation that does NOT do that to its employees who qualify for public assistance, are both helping feed the poor and homeless one way or another. Happy Thanksgiving!

                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                        And sadly when I heard the wages of the workers in question I realized they make more than my husband who is an officer in a fire dept...thank goodness he has a white collar job too or we would need help!

                                        1. re: LaLa

                                          Caroline1 and LaLa,

                                          I am surprised that the hourly wage of a person who is an officer in a fire department is lower than a Walmart associate. In my part of the country, that would be a good middle class salaried position with a strong package of benefits. Assuming it is full-time position, then he too would benefit from an increase in the federal minimum wage.

                                          Likewise, I am all for compensating those who choose to serve in our military at higher levels than we currently do.

                                          However, I don't think we can compare the way public sector entities are resourced for the pay of soldiers and first responders with the compensation policies of a huge for-profit private enterprise. Walmart takes in huge sums of surplus revenue that goes to profit, some small part of which could instead be reinvested in fair pay. Corporations hardly "emulate our government," the two are apples and oranges. And two wrongs don't make a right...the fact that we also have poorly compensated public employees is shameful, but it does not let Walmart off the hook. American economic life need not be a "race to the bottom."

                                          Yes, we have an increasingly "globalized" economy. But, as I have noted elsewhere on this thread, we have big interstate grocery chains with unionized work forces that manage to sell groceries at or near Walmart's prices AND provide fair wages to their employees AND turn significant profits for their owners and shareholders. Likewise chains like Costco and Trader Joe's take the view that there are real benefits to the corporation in having a workforce with high morale, and so they invest in pay and compensation that ensure their people will be loyal and proud team members.

                                          I'll happily applaud Walmart for donating to food pantries and other worthy causes. That's commendable, but it does not mitigate the fact that they treat their people as an expense that must be minimized, rather than an asset that adds value to the enterprise.

                                          1. re: Gizmo56

                                            Thank you for stating this so well; it's what I was thinking, but would not have been able to write as clearly.

                                            1. re: Gizmo56

                                              In a "union" type area fireman / police officers do make a good middle class living....in non union areas/ right to work states they do not. My husband does the job because he loves it...he works the other job for the $$$.

                                              As for Walmart ...when I worked for a Walmart distribution center while working on my masters I started at 14.xx an hour and was making $20.xx an hour ...not including bonuses, pretty good insurance, store discount, and 401k match... When I left three years later.

                                          2. re: Caroline1

                                            "Walmart doesn't send any of its underpaid employees who need help from food pantries into battle. "

                                            You think wars are fought on behalf of private corporations, just as they are on behalf of sovereign nations? Caroline, I had no idea you were a Marxist :)

                                            1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                              Oh, thank you very much for the name calling. I am not, nor have I ever been a Marxist, thank you. But I AM smart enough to see the overall picture. So while you feel smug for calling me names, keep this in mind: It is the governments of the United States, at the state and federal levels, that SET the minimum wage. It is the ELECTED OFFICIALS OF THOSE GOVERNMENTS that are providing the fuel (minimum wage) to keep the mega corporations fed with the fuel they REQUIRE: minimum wage employees. Don't be angry at Walmart, Don't be angry at the mega international banks that my be foreclosing on your house. Be angry at the POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEES (PACs) in Washington that court and cajole our government to pass laws that allow them to keep their "locomotives of business" fully stoked and fueled with minimum wage employees.

                                              IF the ire of all people throwing rocks at Walmart made any sort of sense and accomplished anything useful beyond ineffectively venting their frustrations, I'd be among you looking for the biggest rock I could find. However, it would be MUCH better handled by using your vote and your brains to help change things.

                                              THINK about it!...

                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                Caroline, my dad was a Marine. I was making a joke.

                                                1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                  Sorry! It went over my head like a flock of flamingoes! '-)

                                        2. "It’s not just Walmart’s in-store workers who are demanding better pay. Up and down the Walmart supply chain workers are fighting back. Today, truck drivers who transport goods from the Port of Los Angeles to the Costco, Forever 21 and the retail behemoth’s stores are staging a surprise strike.

                                          Truck driver Jose Galindo told Salon’s Josh Eidelson he’s considered an independent contractor, which is a convenient classification which forces him to foot the cost for even work basics and allows his employers to pay him less:

                                          “Like employees, they tell us where to go - we can’t negotiate on many things,” said Galindo. But “we pay for gas, tires, maintenance” out of pocket, “even though the truck is not ours.” Lacking minimum-wage protection, he added, “Sometimes I can be stuck at the ports for three or four hours” waiting in line, “and the company doesn’t pay us for the time.” Galindo told Salon that after he ripped a shoulder tendon while working on the landing gears of his truck, his disability payments were cut off early because the company told the government he was a contractor.

                                          Walmart truck drivers, warehouse workers, and store workers have been organizing very public actions the last two years, including strikes, protests and civil disobedience to demand better wages and an end to the worker retaliation which has followed those who speak out. More are planned as the holiday shopping season heats up."

                                          from: http://colorlines.com/archives/2013/1...

                                          14 Replies
                                          1. re: Gizmo56

                                            I saw that story this morning and, as Josh Edelson also reported in the summer, these Walmart employees are being fired.

                                            http://www.thenation.com/blog/174937/...

                                            1. re: sandiasingh

                                              Yes, and this week the NLRB has announced that Walmart will face prosecution for their punitive tactics:

                                              http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013...

                                            2. re: Gizmo56

                                              Walmart will fight union efforts to its last breath. They will close a problem store before they will change that position. It's a hopeless challenge. Get over it or die mad. Or shop/work elsewhere. Interesting topic.

                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                Veggo, I am not planning to die mad, and I do shop elsewhere. I don't think the workers feel it is such an easy feat to work elsewhere, especially in this jobless recovery.

                                                I agree that unionization is unlikely, but all the polling shows that there is overwhelming public support to increase the federal minimum wage. I think that is where the solution lies, not only for Walmart but for millions of other working poor.

                                                What gets me is the belief that Walmart's prices are significantly lower. Comparing the prices at the Walmart in my area with two big grocery chains with unionized workers, the grocers' prices are consistently as good or better than Walmart's, especially for buyers who watch the ads and stock up on items during sales. Plus the grocers have much better produce, meats, and baked goods, and better variety and availability of specialty items.

                                                1. re: Gizmo56

                                                  I am all in favor of a higher minimum wage, with the eyes-wide-open understanding that I will pay higher prices for many every-day items as a consequence.
                                                  There are less visible negative consequences to such a measure, most specifically more emphasis on the elimination of low paying jobs. Already there is amazing progress toward robotic crop picking, which would impact the workforce here in Florida considerably.
                                                  For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                    Here we shall agree to disagree. There are many studies that show that when states have raised their minimum wages, there was no resulting elimination of jobs or inflation in the price of goods. One example among many: http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2010/1...

                                                    Labor costs are but one piece of the picture in pricing, and, in a competitive marketplace, Walmart has to decide whether it is not better to simply absorb some or all that wage increase out of their immense profits. And if we grow the middle class, Walmart will benefit with higher sales.

                                                    As I already noted, at least in my community, consumers pay no significant premium over Walmart prices to shop at unionized grocery stores where the workforce is paid living wages.

                                                    I do have eyes-wide-open that corporations will eliminate jobs when the opportunity arises, as they have with your robotic crop picking example, which was not tied to wage increases, and as I see in grocery stores that turn to self-service check-out. I don't think that suppressing wages stops that phenomena.

                                                    To me the "equal and opposite reaction" is already taking place, and that is that so many working people in 2013 have such low wages that we all have to subsidize Walmart's profits by providing their work force with public assistance because their wages are too low.

                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                      heh heh heh.... I knew you were on my side. I should have read farther! '-)

                                                    2. re: Gizmo56

                                                      The two examples of good wages AND good prices I know most about are Costco and Trader Joe's. While we lost our Costco membership when pa-in-law died (he renewed ours annually), Trader Joe's is one of my principal grocery sources (the other being the unionized Ralphs), and we know one of the local store managers. Like all of their managers he started at the bottom, but at a living wage, and after a series of promotions is making quite a good income.

                                                      Saying that a company "can't afford" to pay decent wages and still sell good stuff at affordable prices is like those arguments about how we "can't afford" decent healthcare for all our citizens: it ignores the very solid fact that lots of companies (and countries) are doing exactly that, with stunning success.

                                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                                        Such a shame that the corporate mentality in the US, with a few refreshing exceptions, is to squeeze the shit out of employees, whether minimum wage, or an MBA stuck working as an intern at a financial firm for no pay at all for 6 months.

                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                          Agreed, it is sad... Both my parents worked at their respective employers their entire careers and never seriously contemplated leaving. They were paid well, received equity, had a pension and gave 110% every day. that concept seems so foreign to me... but i do believe a lot of this has to do with globalization which has crushed profits for a lot of US companies. Its just a lot more competitive nowadays and things aren't as cushy anymore.

                                                          1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                            In a more utopian capitalist system, more companies would be owned by their employees. That is a difficult model to propagate with current conditions and customs.

                                                          2. re: Veggo

                                                            "an MBA stuck working as an intern at a financial firm for no pay at all for 6 months."

                                                            Ah, internship! You mean the New Slavery everybody's so wild about these days. Cheaper than robots, too.

                                                          3. re: Will Owen

                                                            Costco has impressive deals, happy employees, management that appears to truly care for their workforce, and happy customers who are loyal to the store. Like you, I lost my membership when a friend, who had sponsored me as my Xmas gift every year, died. Since then I've moved to another island where the nearest Costco is 4 hours drive time away so haven't even considered purchasing my own membership. Unfortunately, Hawai'i doesn't have TJ's yet... Mainland friends do include various TJ products in routine "Care" packages to me, though. They have some great stuff!

                                                            If Walmart was to follow Costco's example, those ghastly Walton kids would still have enough money to keep the next 3 or 4 generations out of the workforce and living in luxury. In addition, they would attract many shoppers who now avoid their stores like the plague precisely because of the working conditions they impose on their employees. That would lead to ever greater profits in the long run.

                                                            Clearly we need to raise the federal minimum wage. No one should have to work full time, much less 2 full time jobs, and still qualify for SNAP benefits. Taxpayers having to subsidize Walmart employees is a real example of people, like the Walton family, gaming the system,

                                                          4. re: Gizmo56

                                                            It's definitely a belief, at least where I live. Sure, most of their prices are lower than other retailers, but when it comes to food, they're not much lower than the chain supermarkets -- maybe $.10-.20 cents at the most. I've seen items on sale at the supermarket that are lower than Walmart's.

                                                        1. re: sandiasingh

                                                          Interesting. Walmart's carefully parsed and wildly exaggerated misrepresentation of the average income of their employees is a long-standing pattern with them, one that has shown up again and again whenever they've been in the news..

                                                          1. re: sandiasingh

                                                            no offense, but ashton kutcher is an idiot. Walmart is a public company. Of course its profit margins matter.

                                                            given that kutcher is in an industry notorious for paying entry level people minimum wage or less, in the name of "internships", i'm not sure what legs he has to stand on. why doesn't he pay his interns a living wage first and then he can talk... otherwise, stfu.

                                                          2. "McDonald’s McResource Line, a dedicated website run by the world’s largest fast-food chain to provide its 1.8 million employees with financial and health-related tips, offers a full page of advice for “Digging Out From Holiday Debt.” Among their helpful holiday tips: “Selling some of your unwanted possessions on eBay or Craigslist could bring in some quick cash.”

                                                            Elsewhere on the site, McDonald’s encourages its employees to break apart food when they eat meals, as “breaking food into pieces often results in eating less and still feeling full.” And if they are struggling to stock their shelves with food in the first place, the company offers assistance for workers applying for food stamps."

                                                            http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013...

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Gizmo56

                                                              I don't know how these people sleep at night.

                                                            2. Walmart Watch is a great web site devoted to just how creepy Wallyworld really is.
                                                              I'd rather have a root canal than shop at Walmart. My taxes go to pay Walmart employees' food stamps and medical care!

                                                              1. Here's a factoid I just cobbled together. Walmart has 2.2 million employees worldwide, and the 6 Walmart heirs have a fortune of a staggering $115 billion.
                                                                This is equal to $52,272 per employee. Walmart profits last year were $17 billion, about $7700 per employee.
                                                                There is a Walton charitable foundation, but they could do more, IMO.

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                  ummmm.... Hey, cobbler, I think you may have dropped a few nails there... '-)

                                                                  Fact is, Walmart became a publicly held corporation in 1971. The Walmart heirs no longer have (if the heirs, and not just Sam ever did) total say on corporate policies and certainly not have control over corporate financial decisions. They got a bloody Board of Directors to placate! '-)

                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                    Gotcha, darlin'. But I do think a family who inherited $115 BILLION could do more. Perhaps in time they will.

                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                      But how do you know they aren't doing just that already?

                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                        The disbursements from their foundation are public information. $400 million sounds like a lot, but not in proportion to $115 billion.

                                                                  2. re: Veggo

                                                                    Here's what the heirs own of Walmart:
                                                                    " Since Helen Walton died, Walton Enterprises has shed just 4 percent of its Wal-Mart stock, some of which remains in the Jackie O. trusts. Because of share buybacks, its control of the company has actually increased, from 40 percent to 49 percent. "
                                                                    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09...

                                                                  3. I thought you weren't supposed to talk politics over thanksgiving dinner. :)

                                                                    1. I won't shop at Wal-Mart anymore.

                                                                      Everytime I go there they're they're out of handgun ammo because some a bunch of neckbeards go in there at 6am, buy their three box limit, and then resell it on Gunbroker for four times what they paid for it.

                                                                      :-)

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: ThePontificator

                                                                        How frequently do you need more handgun ammo?

                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                          Depends on how often you do target practice.

                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                            You can always find it on Gunbroker.

                                                                        2. Yep they have no shame, it would have been so much better if they hadn't organized a charity drive at all.

                                                                          And yes, that's sarcasm.