Will the Wal-mart Hourly-Wage Strike on Black Friday Impact the Retail Giant?
By John Kays
How big is this? Is it widespread? What will be the effects if it does happen?I mean, the protests of apparent unfair treatment of Wal-Mart hourly-wage employees by senior management. Will the strikes start as early as Thursday (Thanksgiving Day), since Wal-Mart is slated to be open for business that day? How will the protests be organized? What cities and what stores (hearing, 1,000) will experience the protests? And most important of all, will these protests have any profound impact (whatsoever) on Wal-Mart's loyal customers?
A follow-up question to this, is do Wal-Mart customers even know what is going on with workers at Wal-Mart (across the nation)? Furthermore, do they even care, or on the contrary, are they only concerned about low prices, nothing else? Well, sorry to bring you down, but I don't know the answer to any of these pertinent questions. I suppose we'll know a lot more by later in the week. I will say, however, I'm all over this story, and am reading everything I can on the Internet.
Wal-Mart Getting Away With a Host of Abuses
The issues involved here appear to rest right at the center of what this country is all about. If what I'm reading is correct, then Wal-Mart has been getting away with a host of abuses, towards their employees, for a very long time. Well, not to be too prejudicial, but it looks as if the Huffington Post is all over this Anti-Wal-Mart story. Especially, Alice Hines has been posting some excellent articles over the past few months. The latest one, which really threw me for a loop, is: Wal-Mart's Internal Compensation Documents Reveal Systematic Limit On Advancement.
No wonder so many people are on food stamps! You can't make it on most Wal-Mart wages, except for the fractional percentage of higher management salaries. But as the article points out, the odds of rising through the ranks, from the bottom to the top, are stacked against the employee. I'll state it simply, as little or no social mobility! Those at the top have rigged the system with bobbie-traps to ensnare those at the bottom. This isn't just some vapid Marxist rhetoric, it's actually happening!
What Tricks Do They Pull?
Well, they let you move up a little, until you reach what they perceive as a cap, then they find some way to eliminate you. One store manager, who's now retired, was interviewed by the Huffington Post, and he seemed to know all the tricks. Yea, they'll let you get these incremental wage gains, based on your work performance, but then they'll replace you with a lower-wage worker, who there seems to be an infinite pool of. I was looking around for the retired store manager's name, but couldn't find it. I wonder why that is?
'Well stupid,' I said to myself, most Wal-Mart employees are deadly afraid of retaliation by management. There's a definite atmosphere of fear that permeates out from these employees, who are ever so gradually getting up the courage to speak out against Wal-Mart for these abuses, this exploitation of their rights as workers. The growing courage is partially due to union-backed groups, such as OUR Wal-Mart or Making Change at Wal-Mart. *(Interesting; not union per se, but union-backed?)
A half a million hourly associates (out of one million associates) at Wal-Mart earn less than $10 an hour. In running the figures myself, that would mean, if an associate earned $10 an hour and worked 40 hours per week, he or she will make $400 per week. Putting a calculator to that, it comes to a paltry sum of $19,200 per year!
Will Wal-Mart Have a Troubling Thanksgiving Holiday?
That's poverty wages by anybody's measure (remember, this is before taxes and health insurance deductions, if the employee even has any). There's a lot on the table, so we'll keep our eyes peeled as Wednesday leads into what may become a troubling Thanksgiving holiday for the giant-est of retailer.
John Kays identifies timeless remnants from our past that will endure, or be admired by future generations. Read more stories by John Kays.
* The views of Opinion writers do not necessarily reflect the views of NewsBlaze
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