Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

November 30, 2013

Wal-Mart and the high cost of low wages

A sign posted near several plastic containers at a Wal-Mart in Ohio says it all:

“Please donate food items so associates in need can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner.”

News of the in-store food donation efforts sent shockwaves across the country, once again shining a light on Wal-Mart’s hypocrisy: How can a company that raked in $15.7 billion in profits last year alone keep its workforce in poverty wages, relying on each other to literally put food on the table?

Wal-Mart’s exploitation of its workers is finally getting the attention it deserves. Massive strikes and demonstrations planned for Black Friday brought attention to the company’s policies. And the National Labor Relations Board recently announced it will prosecute Wal-Mart for violating workers’ rights by threatening, disciplining and firing employees who went on strike or attempted to unionize. As an industry leader, Wal-Mart sets the pace for its competitors. Forcing them to change their unjust policies will impact workers everywhere.

On Black Friday, while their workers toil long hours for meager wages, under the constant threat of retaliation for demanding something better for themselves and their families, Wal-Mart will be lining its pockets once again. And ColorOfChange.org asks you, the reader, to join a chorus of voices demanding that Wal-Mart treat its workers with dignity and respect, and stop exploiting our financial troubles for their own gain.

The economic downturn has forced millions of Americans into low-wage retail jobs like those at Wal-Mart. Today, the company employs nearly 1.4 million workers, and is the largest private-sector employer of African-Americans in the United States. Wal-Mart’s massive share of the American workforce makes the company’s deplorable treatment of workers all the more infuriating. Low wages, unfair scheduling, wage theft and worker retaliation are all hallmarks of a Wal-Mart associate’s working life with the corporation. Wal-Mart would rather launch food drives for associates to feed each other than simply pay them a living wage.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Close the tax loophole that sends US corporations overseas Since we last overhauled our federal tax code, in 1986, countries around the world have lowered their tax rates, leaving the United States with the highest corporate tax rate in the developed word. At the same time, the system has become full of inef

    July 29, 2014

  • Israel and the U.S.: Whose survival instinct is stronger? There’s something darkly coincidental in the fact that the latest weapon to be deployed against the survival instinct of both Israel and the United States is an alleged “heartlessness” when it comes to children. The people of Israel are castigated in

    July 29, 2014

  • College cost isn't big problem for poor students To judge by this summer’s banner policy proposals, the most important question for higher-education reform right now is giving students easier access to loans. But evidence from Canada suggests those changes won’t address the greater need: Getting mo

    July 29, 2014

  • Ducks, geese a blessing I would like to respond to the “Geese and ducks causing problems in Veterans Park” article that was published in the Mt. Vernon Register-News on July 16, 2014. I must share that I do understand that at times there have been a great number of the Cana

    July 29, 2014

  • Money not always the answer I really have to stop and think sometimes. I challenge my thought processes when I write these columns. I am having a hard time with this one. It appears to me that every time a governmental agency or any of the entities that spend other people’s mon

    July 29, 2014

  • Teachers unions' destructive behavior You can always count on the national teachers unions to behave badly at their annual conventions, and they certainly didn’t let us down this month. In doing so, however, they let down many of their members, along with students who are working hard to

    July 26, 2014

  • Workers of the world, curb your ambitions A group of Democrats introduced legislation this week to protect low-paid shift workers from last-minute changes in their schedules. The idea fits into an intriguing category of economic activism: Not trying to lift low-paid workers out of poverty, n

    July 26, 2014

  • State of the reunion ‘Katy! It’s been so long! How’ve you been?”My God, she’s gained so much weight I didn’t recognize her. It’s a good thing we’re all wearing nametags. I thought it was some distant cousin past due with triplets.“Bob! Long time, no see.”No hair, either.

    July 26, 2014

  • Fear indifference ‘Perhaps the Catholic church would volunteer to pony up some cash for the illegals’ care then? Hmm?”“Pope should stay out of it. Matter of civil laws, not church laws.”“Thinking that the pope should want the illegals to go to Argentina to get better

    July 25, 2014

  • A push for felon voting rights If advocates have their way, voting rights could be a new reality for the nation’s incarcerated.Full voting rights for felons is as hot a topic in Washington as voting rights in reverse pushed by voter-ID-tickled Republicans. But with new legislation

    July 25, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks