Sunday, December 2, 2012

One Company's Benefit Package: Food Stamps

Trey Smith

On Black Friday, workers and their community allies protested for “consistent hours, better pay, and simple respect” at Wal-Mart, 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 it has the nation’s largest number of employees who are reliant on government assistance. 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, more full-time positions, and end retaliation against employees who speak up at the workplace. Despite what the company claims about paying competitive wages, the reality is that almost half of Wal-Mart’s associates make less than $10 an hour. According to a Bloomberg study, average employees make just $8.81 per hour. One third of the company’s employees are denied benefits because Wal-Mart scheduling keeps them on fewer than 28 hours per week, even though many of them want full-time positions. Wal-Mart 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.
~ from Wal-Mart’s Downward Wage Spiral by John Logan ~
When Fortune 500 companies try to woo professionals to join their corporation, one of the carrots utilized is the proverbial benefits package. These packages can include stock options, liberal expense accounts, vacation homes, profit sharing and tax havens. These sorts of benefits and more are spelled out in bold and are emphasized over and over again as the sought after are feted with swanky dinners at palatial resorts.

So why don't outfits like Walmart do the same thing on a lesser scale for the peons they hope to hire?

I can envision it now. Sitting in a dusty warehouse while being feted with over salty potato chips -- hey you, only one 2 ounce bag per person! -- and generic soda, the company big wig says, "Besides the opportunity to become filthy rich on $8.81 per hour, our Associates can take advantage of company benefits like Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Food Stamps and rent assistance. Not only that, ladies and gentleman, but we might even throw in a Pell Grant or two!"

Why don't these mega wealthy corporations do that? We all know the answer to that question!!!

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