Wal-Mart workers prepare to strike
The company faces uncomfortable questions about how it treats employees ahead of the important holiday season.
It is under pressure from Wall Street to improve its lackluster sales ahead of the important holiday season. Wal-Mart, the country's largest private-sector employer, has battled efforts by unions to organize its workforce for years, and has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board to stop the labor action aided by the United Food and Commercial Workers International. Media reports say that a decision by the NLRB isn't expected before Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday. Union-backed OUR Walmart, has fired back at the company, accusing it of "illegally attempting to deter workers from participating in strikes against the world's largest retailer on Friday," according to Reuters.
But even if it wins the latest battle, the Bentonville, Ark., company may lose the war over the long term as tries to protect its brand.
The company brags about its low prices. But many shoppers probably don't think much about how Wal-Mart makes this slogan a reality, which may start happening given the publicity the strike is getting. The average Wal-Mart associate earns about $8.81 an hour, or a yearly wage of about $15,500, meaning that hundreds of thousands of the company's workers live below the poverty line, according to unions.
Our Walmart is seeking wages of $13 per hour, and is calling on the company to make full-time jobs available for employees who want them. The company disputes these characterizations and says on its website that it offers "competitive wages, good benefits and the chance to grow and build a career."
States worried about the growing costs of Medicaid have pressued Wal-Mart for years to improve worker benefits. In response, the company offered some benefits to those working less than 24 hours per week, only to reverse course last year and decree that new part-time employees would no longer get benefits and that people working 24 hours to 33 hours a week can no longer include their spouses in their coverage, though children are allowed.
Data from unions indicates that Wal-Mart employees are the largest recipients of government assistance among those that are employed in a huge number of states. That means that taxpayers are on the hook for these benefits to the tune of more than $1 billion.
Though it's unlikely the strike will put a dent in Wal-Mart's profits, some customers may start to wonder whether the company's low prices are worth the costs born by its employees.
--Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Story is updated to provide details on the possible timing of a strike. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
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The federal minimum wage is $7.25/ hour. If Wal-Mart is in compliance with this standard then where is the problem. This article states that they pay an average wage of $8.81 which is $1.56/hour more than they are required to pay. I am aware that certain states have higher minimum wages than the federal level and this may be the reason for the higher average but they still pay every employee at least the minimum per hour. For those of you who say the taxpayers are subsidizing Wal-Mart, then they are subsidizing every other company that pays the minimum wage including a lot of small family owned businesses that you use as the example to villianize Wal-Mart. By this standard we are subsidizing just about every unskilled labor or service related job. If you truly feel that people should be paid more, then lobby your elected representatives to increase the federal minimum wage but be aware that this will lead to a overall increase in all consumer goods based on the laws of economics. The hard truth of the matter is that it is easy to say Wal-Mart is a big evil company because they have been successful at managing their business model efficiently and meeting consumers need but in reality they do the same thing as just about every other business in america just on a larger scale. If you want to be employed full time at a living wage you need to attain skills that are valued and people are willing to pay for.
ITs time for WalMart to divy up more than minimum wage ....some benefits....better hours...more personnel and an overall better work environment.......YOU have to PAY for that HAPPY FACE!
We all do...............They are Making more money than they can spend in 20 LIFETIMES. Its time to cut the WORKERS in on some of that EXCESS.......you know the folks that .......DO ALL the WORK...some BENNYS its only FAIR..........WalMart Customers are VERY demanding especially this time of year.......pay these folks for PUTTING up With US.
Just let Wal-Mart start its own bank and branch at will into its stores.
Watch the fireworks when Wall Street screams foul at that sucking noise of their retail customer base.
Hey Walmart employees.
Why don't you ask one of the 18,500 Hostess employees how their strike went?
8% pay cut?
"Nah, I'd rather take a 100% cut, thanks."
Merry Christmas........ you're fired.
All of you freakin bleeding heart, lazy a#$ liberals will never be satisfied until you bring this country to its knees in one big socialist tsunami. If you don't like it, don't work there. If you disagree with them, don't shop there. Take you pink a#$ commie union loving business else where. And just let those who believe in work, capitalism and propering alone. I sincerely wish we could just divide this nation into two seperate countries. All union loving illegal alien supporting socialists could have one country of their own. And the rest of us could have ours to live in propsperity and peace. Guess which one would would prosper, and which would turn into a third worls craphole in one generation?
It will do no good, unless the WalMart customers BOYCOTT WalMart in support of their employees!!
We, the 99% American People, WANT WalMart to PROSPER, but we want them to share it with their employees! The Waltons can't take it with them to NEVER, NEVER LAND, so why not share it????
As one person said the aver hr wage is bout 9$ / hr BUT most employees only get 32 hrs or less a week. and unless you work 34 or more your spouse isnt covered by insurance. ALSO if one works thanksgiving they get paid for the holiday at a pro rated amount (ie if ur aver weekly hrs is 32 you get 32/40 pay, about 6 hrs for the day
But then you are scheduled an extra day off so no one ever gets any overtime.
walmart also says they pay profit sharing!!!! !THATS A LIE profit sharing is done store by store depending on that stores profit. I know of a store that never got a profit share for over 6 yrs.
Maybe Wal-Mart should consider starting a fund inside each store to raise money to pay their employees more. They can have a "donation" option for every customer when they check out. I wonder how much money they would raise?
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The solid report comes a month after the retailer closed all of its Canadian operations.
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