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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-10-08 09:34 PM
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For those DUers who insist that Wal-Mart treats its employees well...
A counterpoint from someone who worked there full time. First, this is a repost from years ago on DU, so some of the statements in my post are out of context, specifically referring to a poll on DU, but all the information about Wal-Mart is still valid, so here's the post:

A Wal-Mart Worker's perspective...

Edited on Fri Jan-14-05 03:55 PM by Solon
I have seen the threads on Wallyworld and the poll I thought was funny, but many things are missing on those, the personal perspective of someone who worked there. I worked at Wallyworld for two years, from 1997-1999 at four different stores (Sent to two for renovations, one for a special clearance tent I ran, and my Home store). I got sick of the place and moved on to better things, I am not the part of any lawsuit, as of yet, and I almost went into the management training program but I didn't want to have the lobotomy done. :)

I just wanted to clear up a few misconceptions about Wal-Mart and also to show a few facts about how they operate domestically. I can tell you a shit load of information simply because no confidentiality was ever signed by me. I have done inventory, ordered items, as well as pricing during most of my time there, even though I was a grunt. I worked mostly in Lawn and Garden, though I did move on to Sporting Goods, it was fun calling the FBI every day for the instant background check, hell one time I was told to keep a guy in the store cause he had a warrant out for his arrest and the police were on the way, talk about stupid, and scary(you try to keep a straight face when told that and having the guy fill out forms while as far as you know he was a murderer or something, never did find out though).

Pay: This is something that has been touched upon by many people and it is very important to understand the situation. OK, starting pay at Wallyworld for me was $6.01 dollars an hour, hired full time. At the time I thought it was good money, till I realized that Target and Kmart payed as much as $2 dollars more, young and stupid is what I was. 2 years later my pay was at $6.76 an hour, and the only reason for that raise was because, at my store, they started hiring cashiers at 7 dollars an hour, part time, and us full timers were getting so pissed we threatened to walk out, so management decided to give all of us a 50 cent raise to shut us up, the cashiers still got paid more, but we did shut up after that. Oh, BTW, not every full timer got a pay raise, most of the females didn't, but most floor associates were guys, I would imagine they are a part of the suit now.

Hours: OK, now that I touched upon pay, let me get to scheduling and hours. Like I said, I was hired full time, and to be honest, Wal-Mart actually gave me 40 hours a week, at least for a while, because they were so short staffed. Our schedule was also not regular, even if you specified that you couldn't work certain hours, for school and so forth. I would be scheduled from 3pm to midnight one night and scheduled to come back in at 7am to 4pm the next day(BTW: this is a violation of the law, you are to be given a minimum of 8 hours between shifts at same job). Also, even though full time, I would be scheduled 15 hours one week and 36 hours the next, it was messed up. Another bad habit of Wal-Mart is the shorting of hours on your paycheck, it was pretty regular, and I complained loudly about it, and they would "correct" it on the next paycheck, only to short me on the next one after that, it was aggravating. This includes forgetting to put my OT on there, or forgetting to put time and a half on my OT pay.

Training and Anti-Union, Always: I saw a video during my training and orientation about how Unions steal dues for themselves and don't benefit you, along with a shit load of other lies. To be honest, the video was so virulent that I took it as a joke, Unions were so evil, to them at least, that the video couldn't be taken seriously. But a lot of the workers around me ate up that shit and are actually afraid of Unions, this I never understood. I guess reading Upton Sinclair was forbidden at Wallyworld, not to mention the almost cult like veneration that some workers have for the company, that just creeps me out. Give me a W! Give me an A! Give me a L! a squiggly. Give me a M! Give me an A! Give me a R! Give me a T! What's that spell? WAL*MART, WAL*MART! That fucking chant still gives me the willies. :puke:

Violation of Federal, State, and Local laws and regulations, with impunity: OK, a couple of things I want to cover in this little section. All the items I'm about to say are in violation of most Federal, State and Local laws on the books, FYI. First, of the 4 Wal-Marts I was in, they locked us up in two of them for renovations, this includes chaining the fire doors, this is a systematic problem, because in the other stores, which are 24 hour stores, they lock or block off the fire doors to those as well, at least in the back "Warehouse". I already covered the hours and OT violations up above. Next up is price fixing, OK, Wal-Mart undercuts all competition in many items to drive them out, this is ILLEGAL, just for your info. Wal-Mart will happily operate stores at a loss until the competition is driven out, then they will gradually markup up most of the items so that the store can profit. The thing to remember is that Wal-Mart can afford to, last year they made more money than the largest 5 Manufacturers worldwide.

Other Negative effects: OK, one thing that I thought to mention is the many Wal-Marts do not own the property or lot that surrounds them, this saves on property taxes and they don't have to spend money to maintain the parking lot. The one in my area, that was my home store, the lot looks like shit, and the area around it is trashy. This is typical, the only store in the entire city that owns it lot is the newest one, and they have a HUGE sign up to advertise on the highway. They built outside of city limits to avoid most property taxes.

Also, due to illegal business practices, they have driven out all but one major competitor, Target. Kmart is gone, as is our local department store. Prices at Wal-Mart in my area have been creeping up ever since then. I remember doing markups on many items while doing mark downs on items that our specialty competitors, such as Home Depot, sell. People don't really realize how much profit Wal-Mart makes when it strong arms competitors and manufacturers, those cheap aluminum lawn chairs that Wal-Mart sells for 20 dollars actually cost the store 2 to buy, wholesale. I should know I marked them up from 17.98 to 19.98 back in the day. Many items at Wal-Mart have markups(percentage difference wholesale vs. retail price) of anywhere as low as 50% to as high as 2000%. Talk about outrageous, and more expensive than the competition many times.

I cannot say much about Supercenters, because there are none in the area, the nearest is about 50 miles away. We have 3 decent local union grocery stores to go to, and they are just big enough to compete with Wal-Mart a little too much in groceries that is. Though I will say that if Wal-Mart was really determined, and could get the cities around here to let them build one, they could most likely drive those stores out of business. This isn't a small town I live in, but the Wal-Mart effect is felt throughout the area. Local manufacturers have laid off the entire workforce to sell there items to Wal-Mart, and now hire temp workers who make Wal-Mart wages. Our standard of living hasn't decreased much in our immediate area, but many other areas closer to Wal-Mart are suffering tremendously.

Another thing I wanted to mention is that when you spend money at Wal-Mart, it is sent to Bentonville, AR and taken out of your local area. This is economically bad no matter how you spin it. I boycott Wal-Mart for many reasons, but the worst is the fact that they are quickly setting the standard for ALL businesses. This isn't a free market, this is a predatory monopoly that will, in a generation, be the ONLY place to shop, probably worldwide. Look at who they buy out if you don't believe me. Take what I say for a grain of salt if you wish, I know much more than I'm telling here, but I do know that this isn't the American Way, and that is the truth.

OK, so that's it, its long, but has quite a bit of information, also a note, the bolded section isn't original, I highlighted it, because I made this post before there was a class action lawsuit against Wal-Mart for cutting out overtime pay from employees paychecks. I wasn't the only victim, but practically all full-time hourly employees that worked overtime at Wal-Mart and who worked in Missouri from 1997 to 2004 had there OT pay stolen. That's simply inexcusable. Also, just a note, I've never heard of profit sharing at Wal-Mart.

One last thing, there is a difference between part time and full time employees in their experiences at Wal-Mart, simply because things such as OT violations and scheduling problems affect them less than it does Full-Time employees.
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brentspeak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-10-08 09:37 PM
Response to Original message
1. K and R
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-10-08 09:46 PM
Response to Original message
2. their distribution centers are a joy to work at...not
they pay well if one can last long enough...the one near here pays 14+ to start but it`s back breaking sub zero work that only a few can actually do. everything is timed to the second and you can never are expected to be able to lift up to 90 lbs and do this for 10 hours a shift.

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guruoo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-10-08 11:17 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. That's Exactly what I've heard from
employees I've met that worked the Walmart DC in Hopkinsville, KY.
Sounds like most of their off the job time is devoted
to just getting healed up enough to be able to drag themselves
in for the next shift.
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HughMoran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-10-08 10:00 PM
Response to Original message
3. Been 3 years since I've been in one
Can't stand WalMart
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-10-08 10:05 PM
Response to Original message
4. WalMart is under investigation for their wonderful profit sharing
and retirement plans.

They are accused of manipulating the base they use for calculating their own contribution, for the fees and exprenses associated with employee's choice of plans and other stuff I can't understand.

But I'm sure they're great humanitarians.
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muntrv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-10-08 10:37 PM
Response to Original message
5. I'm one of the minority who has not shopped at a sprawl mart in the last year.
The nearest one is in the next city over and when I went there years ago, it looked uninviting.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-11-08 01:47 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. I think I shopped at Wal Mart once about 15 years ago.
Edited on Wed Jun-11-08 01:47 PM by sfexpat2000
But then, I decided to lose shopping as entertainment around that time, too.
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myrna minx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-11-08 07:01 AM
Response to Original message
7. Locking in employees is horribly reminiscent of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.
Edited on Wed Jun-11-08 07:01 AM by myrna minx
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-11-08 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Locking in employees is also horribly reminiscent of the Hamlet, NC, Imperial chicken processing
plant fire, in 1991.

Hamlet chicken processing plant fire

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Hamlet chicken processing plant fire was an industrial disaster that took place at the Imperial Foods chicken processing plant in Hamlet, North Carolina, USA on September 3, 1991, after a failure in a faulty modification to a hydraulic line. Twenty-five people were killed and 54 injured in the fire as they were trapped behind locked fire doors. Due to a lack of inspectors, the plant had never received a safety inspection in 11 years of operation,<1> and it is thought that a single inspection would have easily prevented the incident.<2>
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King Coal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-11-08 07:21 AM
Response to Original message
8. One thing that I always notice about Wal-Mart employees is that many are missing teeth.
They can't afford to have them fixed so they have them pulled.
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muntrv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-11-08 07:23 PM
Response to Original message
11. What about "It was much better when Sam Walton was around and in charge?"
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Heywood J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-11-08 10:05 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. It was - but that isn't saying much.
That's like saying that death by asphyxiation is better than death by fire. They're both undesirable.
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