Walmart employees are donating to their fellow co-workers who are in need of assistance. This picture was taken at one of the local Walmart’s in Oklahoma City recently and posted online, here. This happened last year, too. Walmart employees need help around the holidays because they don’t get paid enough.
On the face of it, in theory, there’s really nothing wrong with a company acknowledging that some of its workers may need some extra help on the holidays. I think that’s a reasonable assertion that most would agree to. But, when your business model relies on the majority of your customers and employees being dependent on federal programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program, then something has got to give.
Walmart, in their latest annual report from earlier this year, acknowledged for the first time how public assistance can affect their corporate profits.
Marketplace’s Krissy Clark reported that:
Walmart executives estimate that 18 percent of all SNAP sales are conducted at its stores—about $13 billion annually.
In Oklahoma, where this latest food drive is being reported to have taken place, it’s estimated that around 50% of all SNAP benefits from 2011 were spent inside a Walmart.
From these numbers, it’s clear that Walmart relies on the government to not only fuel its profit growth, but to subsidize its own workers, so it can pay them less. This is the only reason why these food drives exist in the first place, and it’s shameful to workers.
“My co-workers and I don’t want food bins,” said La’Randa Jackson, who works for Walmart in Cincinnati. “We want Walmart and the Waltons to improve pay and hours so that we can buy our own groceries.”
What people fail to realize is that people don’t want handouts, they just don’t want to be taken advantage of. People want to work for a living, without having to sacrifice their dignity or their self-worth. If you’re in the type of employment where you make slave wages, and at the end of the day you still have to beg to make ends meet, that shouldn’t be considered a respectable job.
Maybe that’s going too far. There’s a lot to be admired by hard work, even if it doesn’t pay well. Maybe the truth is, that’s not what should be considered to be a respectable employer. Maybe if Walmart spent less lobbying congress, and just a nickel more around the holidays to put food in its employees mouths, then a food drive wouldn’t be needed.
Here’s a fact for you: Just over the last 24 months Walmart has spent over $12 million dollars lobbying congress. That’s a lot of food.
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. After all, Sam Walton is notorious for taking every length necessary to avoid paying his workers fairly – it’s how he built his evil empire in the first place.
When a federal court ruled back in the 1960’s, when Walmart was still rather small, but growing at a rapid pace, that it must back-pay its workers for devising a scheme to avoid paying the minimum wage, Sam Walton gathered a meeting of all his stores and said publicly:
“I’ll fire anyone who cashes the check.”
It helped earn Mr. Walton the Medal of Freedom in 1992 when President George H.W. said:
“This visit is not about Sam Walton’s wealth, its not about philanthropy even, its about what’s fundamentally good and right about our country. Its about determination, its about leadership, and its about decency.”