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Mon Dec 3, 2012, 07:19 PM

Walmart’s Downward Wage Spiral


from In These Times:


Walmart’s Downward Wage Spiral
The retail giant’s low wages and poor working conditions drive down standards throughout a burgeoning sector.

BY John Logan


On Black Friday, workers and their community allies protested for “consistent hours, better pay, and simple respect” at Walmart, the country's largest private-sector employer with 1.4 million employees. Even with $16 billion in profits last year, Walmart pays such low wages that in most states, it has the largest number of employees reliant on government assistance of any company. This costs American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars per year.

The workers are demanding that Walmart provide a wage of at least $13 per hour, affordable benefits and more full-time positions, and that the mega-retailer stop retaliating against employees who speak up at the workplace. Despite what the company claims about paying competitive wages, the reality is that almost half of Walmart's associates make less than $10 an hour. According to an IBISWorld report, the average Walmart employee make just $8.81 per hour. One third of the company’s employees are denied benefits because Walmart scheduling keeps them on fewer than 28 hours per week, even though many of them want full-time positions. Walmart stresses that the majority of its store-level managers start off as hourly employees, but in reality precious few of its 1.4 million associates will ever make it to the ranks of management.

Walmart jobs are now cultural shorthand for low-wage, dead-end positions with poor benefits and few opportunities for advancement. Jobs at warehouses around the country that are contracted by Walmart are no better–which is why Walmart warehouse workers in California's Inland Empire and Elwood, Illinois have launched recent strikes.

The plight of Walmart’s 1.4 million associates directly affects growing numbers of American workers. The retail sector is now more important than ever before to the U.S. economy. Fifteen million Americans work in retail, most earning about $21,000 per year. Unionized jobs in the sector enjoy better wages and benefits, but only 5.4 percent of the sector is now unionized nationwide, and the “union wage premium” has fallen significantly in recent years as a result of the pressures of non-union competition. The “Walmart effect” looms large over the retail sector. The Bentonville-based giant has driven several unionized retailers out of business and forced many others to drive down wages and benefits. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/14254/walmarts_downward_wage_spiral1



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Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply Walmart’s Downward Wage Spiral (Original post)
marmar Dec 2012 OP
BlueJazz Dec 2012 #1
Bigmack Dec 2012 #2
BlueJazz Dec 2012 #3
Fawke Em Dec 2012 #5
Bigmack Dec 2012 #6
woo me with science Dec 2012 #4
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2012 #7

Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 07:45 PM

1. By God....I finally discovered I know what Wal-Mart is... A fucking Plantation.

A place where all hope is gone...where people just exist to work and die... accomplishing nothing..
..absolutly nothing.

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Response to BlueJazz (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 07:55 PM

2. Actually, I think slavery was better in some ways...

Hyperbolic, I know, but think about it.

Ol' Massa knew his slaves were worth serious money, and he wouldn't want to lose that investment. He usually made sure the slaves had enough to eat, so they could work. He might have even cared for them a bit... like dogs.

Mall-Wart really doesn't feel any of that.

The old plantation owners hired Irishmen or other worthless men to do the really dangerous jobs. No loss that way.

Maybe that's a better metaphor.

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Response to Bigmack (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 08:08 PM

3. Yep...that's probably a better analogy.

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Response to Bigmack (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:49 PM

5. So... um "Irishmen" are "worthless?"

My forefathers might take exception with that.

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Response to Fawke Em (Reply #5)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:09 PM

6. Jesus Christ! Are you dense? Worthless to Ol' Massa! My people are all Irish! ...

... the Brits decorated trees with them for centuries!

The Irish were expendable.... the slaves had actual monetary value.

Glad I didn't say Chinese....

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:35 PM

4. K&R

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:42 PM

7. K&R Can a union be far behind? Here's hoping so. n/t

 

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