By Louis Petrone

WALMART’S SHAME

 

Walmart is a major international corporation. Walmart is also a major international disgrace. Disgrace as regards what it pays its employees. A cheapo.

 

This article is motivated by the announcement this week that a Canton, Ohio area Walmart was having a food drive. Employees were asked to bring in canned goods and other foodstuffs for fellow employees who could not afford to provide for themselves a Thanksgiving meal.

 

The question arose in my mind as to why Walmart did not just give food to the employees in need. Why impose on poorly paid employees.

 

Business Week recently reported that Walmart does not pay a living wage. The article suggested that it was not an inability to pay. It was an unwillingness to do so.

 

A May Congressional Report claimed most Walmart employees earn $10 an hour. It further stated that a high percentage of Walmart employees subsist on public assistance. Things like food stamps, housing, health care, and other welfare/entitlement type programs. Millions of dollars from tax dollars to help Walmart employees get along.

 

An example of the preceding is a single Wisconsin Walmart store. Last year, the employees received $900,00 in public assistance. Almost $1 million of taxpayer monies.

 

It was recently reported on behalf of Walmart that its average full time employee earns $12.87 an hour. A nonprofit speaking on behalf of the employees said the amount was wrong. The average salary was between $8 and $10 an hour. In either event, nothing.

 

I read of a 13 year Walmart employee who was earning $12.40 an hour. Note this was after 13 years of loyal employment.

 

Less than 50 per cent of Walmart employees earn more than $25,000 a year. The federal poverty level for a family of 4 is $23,500.

 

By this time, the point I have been trying to make is clear. Walmart does not pay its employees enough salary dollars. In many instances, Walmart is providing a sub standard existence to its employees.

 

Lets examine why Walmart has the ability/capacity to do more. To do the right thing.

 

Walmart is the world’s second largest public corporation. It is also the biggest private employer. Over 2 million employees world wide.

 

Walmart is the largest grocery retailer in the United States. In 2009, 51 per cent of its $258 billion in sales came from its grocery business.

 

Walmart is the most profitable retailer in the United States. Its net profit last year was $15.7 billion.

 

Walmart has 85,000 stores located in 15 countries operating under 55 different names.

 

Walmart’s cheapness probably comes from its founder. Sam Walton started Walmart in 1962. His last name brings to mind the TV series of many years ago called The Walton Family. Those Walton’s were poor. Never the less, they helped everyone. Even going without themselves where necessary. The Walmart Walton was rich. He did not believe in helping anyone, except himself and his corporation.

 

Under Walton, Walmart gave few if any dollars to charities. Walton’s position was that the corporation was not in the charity business. Regardless of its success. Fair is fair, however. Since Walton’s death in 1992, Walmart has begun donating some monies to various charities. Last year for the first time Walmart’s benevolence exceeded $1 billion in the United states. At the same time, Walmart donated an additional $82 million internationally.

 

Let me stay with Walton’s reluctance to contribute to philanthropic causes for a moment. The reasoning behind his cheapness in this regard was that he considered his contribution to society was that he operated the business efficiently. As a result of which he was able to sell goods cheaper. Such made it possible for Walmart’s customers to have a better way of life since he had lowered their cost of living.

 

The food drive described at the Walmart store is a disgrace. It is evidence of the one per cent attitude in this country. All for me and nothing for you. It reflects gall and arrogance. It calls for strong disapproval and condemnation.