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.
More from Top Stocks
The sad thing is Wal-Mart could easily afford to treat its employees better but doesn't. Wal-Mart and others are guilty of this. It is time these large companies start treating these employees fairly. Now when I say that I don't mean $20/hr to stock a shelf, have to be realistic for ones skill set, but a little bit better wage and some reasonable benefits isn't asking to much. I'm sure the Walton family could forgo a pay raise or bonus and not even notice. The sooner more companies realize the value in taking care of your employees the better off they will be when the employees strive to do a better job. Long term this is a good option and its to bad more employers don't see that. Just another line item expense to be cut without any concern (yes I know sometimes that is the only option).
I think its time
WOW YOUR ARE DUMB.
You just listed a number of profitable companies who employee many Americans. Ya, boycott them, that sovles everything.
Wal-Mart is a 24hour store (in most cases) who have to work any other Thursday,but why complain? In this economy you should be happy and fortunate to have a job even if it is 8bucks an hour. But I want to stress this.......... OUR SOLIDERS are working Thanksgiving, Blackfriday, Christmas and any other Holiday; they are NOT with their Families, How about their rights? Who defends their rights to go against their employer, NOT the Complaining Wal-Mart employee who gets to go home every day and spend some kind of time with their family. I think Wal-Mart employees that are going to do this have LOST ALL perspective. Just my view.
"There is a reason non-union companies do better than companies with unions."
It's the same reason companies with non-union labor don't do as well as companies with slave labor.
You people that support the union are just crazy.Look at where unions have got Greece, France, England, and Spain to. My wife and some of her family work at WalMart, and they are paid a lot more then $8.00 and hour. There are part time people that have been with WalMart for 20+ years, and are making a lot more then the unoion would demand for them, plus they do get benefits, and good ones. They have a 401k, stock purchase, medical insurance; better then any union medical plan I've ever seen; and life insurance. Sure they may have to work a few holidays, but so do Sears, K-Mart, Target, Walgreens, CVS, and most grocery store employees. These tactics to get regular shoppers to stop buying at WalMart, by the unions, is just a bunch of lies, to expand the union base and give their leaders more mony to steal from the union coffers, back to the days of Jimmy Hoffa.
Also as far as selling only things from China, how many places can you buy a Vizio TV except at Wal-Mart? This is the only American made brand of tv, but try and find it at Best Buy, or K-Mart, or Target. They all have China made tv's. If more products were made in the US that were not ruined by the union's exorbanant wages, there would be many more American made products on Wal-Mart's shelves. The union just destroyed a 100 year old company, Interstae Baking. For that 19000 people will be unemployed, and Twinkies will be made in Mexico. I don't see any people on thsi site complining about the stupity of being unemployed, as opposed to taking a small pay cut. That is how unions work, and if the government in this country keeps forcing people to join unions, weather they want to or not, we will find NOTHING at all made in thsi country. I am lucky to be old enough to outlive that day, but I feel sorrow for my children and grandchilden, when that happens.
Let's get America back on it's feet. Close the banks, end the Federal Reserve and get RID of Wall Street. Invest in your neighborhood, not China or bad platform businesses that compromised the integrity of America for wealth. WHERE DO YOU GO ONCE YOU'VE SCREWED THE WHOLE WORLD?
Maybe all the workers, in all of the stores, who must sell Chinese Slave Labor Products, while cheating the workers of America out of living wages, should get sick on Black Friday as a mark of solidarity with the plight of the American Worker!
Maybe Americans should buy local, from local nurseries, from hand-crafted local stores, from American Made steel and wood products and toys.
If we gather together, just like we did during the election, Americans can do everything!
Wasteful work rules. Strikes. A hate-the-boss mentality.
These are the effects of forced unionism that destroy private-sector jobs -- and all were weapons used by union militants against Hostess and now against Wall-Mart. I work for a living, Union workers only exist...they don't work...the only thing they can do is to criticize the boss.
Read this: Unions killed the auto industry...Obama bailed them out. Unions killed Twinky...Obama will not bailed them out. Unions will kill Wall-Mart...Obama will not bail them out...WHY????
JUST BECAUSE OBAMA HATES BUSINESS PEOPLE.
"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."
Quoted from article. I actually dont have a problem knowing that my tax dollars subsize walmart employees becuase the way i see it, that means that some of my tax dollars are actually being earned vs just handed out lazy americans that refuse to get a job because the government handouts are better than working. In fact i wish it could be mandated that this was a requirement for getting assistance that you had to have at least a part time job with so many hours.
To all you libs and union pukes, DON'T SHOP THERE, DON'T WORK THERE, DON'T SUPPORT WALMART!
Walmart will still be around, the good part YOU WON'T BE.
I am a bit flabbergasted that people who have jobs are complaining. I suggest hat workers who feel taken advantage of quit immediately and let those who are unemployed have those jobs.
You folks who think that WalMart is taking advantage of their workers and think that their employees should "put it to them" in a time that is critical, why don't you express your frustration by pledging here today to pay more money for the same thing at any store besides WalMart.
The truth is WalMart allows many folks have better meals, more new school clothes, and a better Christmas by providing lower prices. I wonder if any of you putting this company down has taken the time to think about the future of our economic system. I have a feeling that all of us are going to be looking for the best possible price on all of our purchases.
I think you better get used to the idea of working just under what would be considered full time; our new national health care system will make that the norm.
I am wondering why you aren't ticked off at hospitals, policemen, firemen, movie theaters, gas stations because I think those folks deserve a national holiday off also. Businesses and services are open and meeting the needs and wants of the consumer.
Sounds like you are the typical union worker or supporter. (Not very bright)
There is a reason non-union companies do better than companies with unions.
Maybe we should boycott Wal-Mart because of their labor practices, as well as all the Bain Capital stores, who employee workers....in slave labor Communist China, instead of America!
Here's a list of some Bains to boycott, too:
Lowe's Home Improvement Center
Burlington Coat Factory
MORE ON MSN MONEY
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
For years, Todd Mills pushed Frito-Lay to make taco shells from Doritos. He died from a brain tumor on Thanksgiving.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.