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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Message Board

  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u May 2, 2013 2:34 PM Flag

    At home and abroad, Wal-Mart workers have little to celebrate

    John Logan, professor and director of Labor and Employment Studies, San Francisco State University - 05/02/13 11:00 AM ET

    Another May Day has come and gone. Yet American workers have precious little to celebrate. And those working for the nation’s largest private-sector employer, Wal-Mart, have even less to celebrate than most.

    Last year, for the first time in the firm’s 50-year history, Wal-Mart employees participated in several strikes and job actions leading up to a national day of protest on Black Friday. The organization representing Wal-Mart employees, OUR Wal-Mart, was protesting against poor pay and benefits, and management retaliation against workers who speak out. This wasn’t the first time that Wal-Mart employees have protested against substandard working conditions, and in the past, Wal-Mart has simply assumed that the protests will eventually die out, especially given employees’ understandable fear of management retribution.

    But this time it appears that the Wal-Mart protesters are in it for the long haul. Last week, Wal-Mart workers and their community supporters conducted a “day of action” at 150 stores across the county in support of improved hours and more predictable scheduling for part-time workers. Scheduling problems have long been a source of complaint for the company’s 1.3 million employees. Many of Wal-Mart’s employees work part-time not because they want to, but because they have no other choice. Constant changes to their schedules make it impossible for part-time employees take a second job or return to school. They frequently are forced to rely on public assistance in the form of food stamps and low-income healthcare for survival, and when they do, taxpayers pick up the tab.

    Wal-Mart also provides a startling example of the enormous gap between the pay of executives and ordinary workers in the United States. Last year,


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