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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Shut up and be happy you have a job. This is what is wrong with this country and we are headed for a major recession with NO JOBS during the next 4 years because america's stupid voted that man back into the white house.
I worked 20 years as an HR/Employee Relations rep for good companies that paid well, had great benefits, and made good profits. NONE were union and all had profit sharing programs that provided incentives for peole to do a good job and be prouctive. Not all made it.By peer review those ranked in the bottom 5% were laid off each year with some severance, up to 10% in the not so good years. We kicked our union counterparts a-- at every turn.
I am counseling my neighors daughter through her job hunt. She graduated with a masters degree in Medvial Poetry and has $60/000 i student debt. I have advised her to apply at Wal Mart since I havet identified any jobs that will pay her the $60/000/yr she thinks she is entitled to due to her intellectual abilities.
Bunch of G-- Damned wussies! Unions are destroying this nation and running up the cost of doing business beyond the ability of companies to be profitable. Unions are why businesses are going over seas. If you dont like where you work, quit and find another job, dont join a socialist leaning union!
Others that work on holidays? Military, Police, Fire fighters, Security Guards, Doctors, Nurses, Gas Station Attendents, Care-givers, Plumbers, maintence, and on and on. Quit your freekin whining people, America is, or WAS all about WORK!
I would like to see every ungrateful Walmart employee who strikes lose their job.
I hope your holiday becomes your new day of unemployment.
You are ungrateful and I hope your life gets worse.
"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."
Doubtful, as the cashier will be a high school kid, who is not impoverished, and I'll get my HDTV at that low low price!
Ask Obama to Retrain you to get better jobs. They don't need insurance they all now have Obamacare.
Unions once had there place - they can go away now. All they do is collect dues and spend your hard earned money. You all wonder why jobs are shipped over seas. $13 per hour to do an unskilled job!!
walmart or anyone else, when you treat people like disposable labor, they know it.
As an employer, as one of the biggest U.S. corporations, as a part of the human race - they should consider treating people with respect. This includes helping us to be safe and helping us to being treated fairly.
Question #2 How much money do you need to be content?
Question #3: Who would you follow, a billionaire or politician with no moral's or ethics, or a hard working citizen that would give you his/her last dollar and put a roof over your head in time of need?
Money is nothing more than paper with ink on it. We as humanity have allowed it to enslave our children and the futures of their children, for what?
America, the only company (research it!) that I know of that openly celebrates indentured servitude. Am I wrong? Usually, 2 -3 days after a child is born in the U.S., they are given a Social Security card, making them responsible for the national debt just like me and you. Then the child grows and tries to get an education, only to see the cost must be covered by loans, yet again another example of servitude. I know what you are going to say, "They choose the life they have and that they have the same chances as everyone else in the United States!" Look at Watts, Chicago, Border towns of Texas, etc., no, they do not have the same chances or rights as others do! The wealthy demand the best and the pay for it, leaving others with sub-par means to facilitate an adequate education and income. An education that only allows for sub-par earnings is conformity. Some may join the military, hoping to find a niche within the system. Willing to pay the ultimate price, never knowing the truth, only the lies that they are willing to die for. Others that can not withstand the military or pass its requirements become the hardcore homeless and unemployed (Kennedy).
As a veteran, with 15 years of service (medically retired, honorable discharge), I am ashamed of you all that leave so much to be desired; equality. We are all human, and if you need things to separate yourself from humanity, and yes the homeless person are a part of humanity, then shame on you! No, shame on us!
As the system begins to crash, the light of humanity will shine to lead the way.
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