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
Wal Marts profits=SCREW THEIR LOW LEVEL EMPLOYEES ! HAPPY BLACK FRIDAY WAL MART ENJOY YOUR PROFITS' ! MADE IN CHINA =LOWEST POSSIBLE QUALITY TO CONSUMERS AND MAXIMUM PROFIT FOR THE COMPANY !
In my 35 years of working in the hospitality business (restaurants and hotels) and I've had a job since I was 15 and never taken a handout, I've had to work holidays and have ALWAYS been thankful to have a job. People need gas, food, a place to stay and businesses need people to be able to employ loyal hard working employees. I would LOVE to give my staff the day off tomorrow, but guest need us. They came to visit families, have sick family members in the hospital and are traveling to be with friends and family. So we work...they will need to eat while they are here and need gas and personal items as well. You don't have to go shopping, and you don't have to work either. But, if your job requires it of you, do it. Thanksgiving can be any day, anytime. It can be at lunch if you work at night, or dinner if you work in the morning and it can be Friday or Saturday. It's a day to be thankful! So be flexible and be thankful you still have a job. (Don't forget to send thanks to all of our Military, still fighting for us in Afganistan...they'll be doing their job on Thanksgiving as well!!!)
All the unions (socialist based criminals) are trying to do is bring down the most successful businesses in America. Just got Hostess, now they want Walmart.
No one is forcing those people to work there. We have been trying to find quality workers for our facility for years. Two things impede that. The high cost of raw materials and there just is not a huge number of quality people out there to choose from. They show up to work and expect to get a pay check for no or minimal output. It is really sad that the only people that are REALLY willing to work are those that are my age, 45-65. Even a lot of those are just here for the check.
Bottom line it is our governments money policy that is causing all of these money woes, NOT the employers.
Wow ! They chose the brightest crayons in the box to speak for walmart. With as many people that are out of work in this country these guys are TOTAL A$$E$.
The amount that a $8 an hour employee makes in one week exceeds the anual income of 98% of the worlds population.
Thank God our soldiers,Sailors,and Airmen don't "strike" because they work under horrible conditions ,on holidays,weekends,in crappy weather. Oh and by the way walmart employees don't have people trying to kill them on the most part.
Get off your FAT,LAZY, A$$E$. If you don't like where you work...quit,find another job.
Raise wages.................raise prices.................
your choice...are you willing to pay more so they can make more?????I think not...that is why we shop there in the first place.Sorry ,but true...if they go out,,,do you think they will?? the retired guy greeting you,,,or the register girl just making ends meet???.
If you want to make more you need to get a different job...sorry again my friends,but true
The situation at Hostess is a cautionary tale for workers trying to squeeze management. Only after liquidation became the only option did union leaders realize their folly. "We did not realize the situation was that bad." was the direct quote.
Take a look at the twinkie workers and ask them how listening to the thug union helped them out of a job. Or take a look at the hundreds of thousands of auto workers who will never get their jobs back. And the list goes on and on.
Unions only destroy companies and jobs by protecting the lazy and promoting inefficient business practices in their contracts. The only place left for unions is in government. There they can't drive government into bankruptcy. Government just raises taxes to pay for it. But their day of reckoning is fast approaching.
4 of the 10 Richest People in America are Wal-Mart Heirs: (see Forbes 2012)
Christy Walton & Family
S. Robson Walton
And, $1B passed along to taxpayers for under-insured and non-insured employees unable to pay for coverage because they are simply already AT the poverty line. These are obviously people who are actually willing to WORK. But, for Americans to 'save a dime' - it comes at what expense????
Add to this the fact that Wal-Mart pulled the biggest scam on this country when it launched as a Proud MADE IN THE USA company and has now become just one big Chinese Warehouse. Stop shopping at Wal-Mart Period. Or, blame yourself.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
In this economy, you'd think these retailers would be racking up the sales. That's not the case.
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.