I must admit that I am surprised that there are as many supporters of Walmart here as appeared in a recent diary by a front pager about Walmart. Some Kossacks seem to think it is more ethical if Walmart pays minimum wage rather than more to most of its employees. It is my view that the views of such people would be more consistent with Republicans who are against regulating business and against raising minimum wage. Willard would seem to be the perfect candidate for them.
more below the squiggle
The company is the world's third largest public corporation, according to the Fortune Global 500 list in 2012. It is also the biggest private employer in the world with over two million employees, and is the largest retailer in the world. Walmart remains a family-owned business, as the company is controlled by the Walton family who own a 48% stake in Walmart.Bloomberg
Wal-Mart has boosted its Washington presence in recent years. The company spent $7.8 million in 2011 on lobbying, according to the center. As recently as 2007, it was spending less than half that much.
The retailer, which now has a presence in all 50 states, has about 15 employees based in Washington, including lobbyists and workers for the company’s foundation, Buchanan said.
The Walton family, which owns Walmart, has already donated $624,100 to Republican candidates and Super PACs this cycle, according to disclosure data analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics. Ninety percent of those donations went to support GOP presidential candidatesUSA Today reports President Obama said in 2006
None of the Waltons have donated to Democrats, Federal Election Commission reports show.
Obama said the fact that manufacturing jobs are increasingly being lost overseas left Americans with jobs that do not provide adequate wages, career opportunities, health care or retirement security.Dave Jamieson gives us the scoop
"This is a much broader issue than Wal-Mart, but I think the battle to engage Wal-Mart and force them to examine their own corporate values and what their policies and approaches are to their workers and how they are going to be good corporate citizens, I think, is absolutely vital," Obama said, adding he was proud of WakeUpWalMart's work.
"Wal-Mart is in a position to do better by its workers," he said.
Obama said Costco (COST), a membership warehouse store more similar to Wal-Mart's Sam's Club chain, pays its workers more and provides health insurance for more of its workforce than Wal-Mart does.
"If Costco can do that, it means Wal-Mart can do it. And if Wal-Mart does it, then what we're going to see is other companies recognizing that they have some obligations not only to their shareholders but also to their stakeholders, and that's workers and communities in which they're located," Obama said.
Obama said the union-backed campaign was sending a message to Wal-Mart and other big-box retailers to heed the view of automaker Henry Ford that he had to pay his workers enough to buy the cars they were manufacturing.
"You've got to pay your workers enough that they can actually not only shop at Wal-Mart but also send their kids to college and hopefully save for retirement," he said.
Walmart, the world's largest retailer, has driven down wages in its retail supply chain by outsourcing jobs in American warehouses, according to a report issued Wednesday by a low-wage workers advocacy group.Researcher Staci Mitchell
The report, from the National Employment Law Project (NELP), said that Walmart's famously low prices carry a hidden cost for the workers employed in the company's distribution centers throughout the U.S.Although these workers handle Walmart goods, many of them technically work for subcontracted "logistics" companies and temp firms, where wages are low and labor law violations are common, the group said.
"Contracting out is becoming increasingly common in many of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing industries," the report stated. "These outsourced workers laboring on Walmart’s behalf toil at the bottom of a complex hierarchy of intermediaries and in alternative employment schemes that leave them vulnerable to significant worker rights abuses and unsure where to seek redress."
Walmart's explosive growth has gutted two key pillars of the American middle class: small businesses and well-paying manufacturing jobs.Here is what NOW says
Between 2001 and 2007, some 40,000 U.S. factories closed, eliminating millions of jobs. While Walmart's ceaseless search for lower costs wasn't the only factor that drove production overseas, it was a major one. During these six years, Walmart's imports from China tripled in value from $9 billion to $27 billion.
Small, family-owned retail businesses likewise closed in droves as Walmart grew. Between 1992 and 2007, the number of independent retailers fell by over 60,000, according to the U.S. Census.
•The EEOC is suing Wal-Mart over allegations of sexual harassment of female employees in Alabama.Many people think Walmart can do better by its workers
•Nearly three-quarters of a million women work as "sales associates" in Wal-Mart stores. On average these women earn $6.10 per hour, or $12,688 per year if they are permitted to work full-time. This wage puts many of their families below the poverty level — half even qualify for federal assistance under the food stamp program. *
•Current and former employees in California are suing Wal-Mart for sex discrimination in pay, promotion, and compensation. This will be the country's largest sex discrimination suit against a private employer if it is granted class-action status.
•Wal-Mart's health insurance plan excludes contraceptive coverage. A suit, which is seeking class action status, has been filed in Georgia regarding this exclusion. *
•Women who make pants in El Salvador earn 15 cents for each pair; Wal-Mart sells these pants for $16.95 in its U.S. stores. Also, contractors in El Salvador force workers to take pregnancy tests. *
•According to Brandeis University Professor Ellen I. Rosen, women in Central America who make clothes for Wal-Mart live in shacks lacking running water or plumbing while women in China live nine to twelve to a room in government-provided dormitories. Some of Wal-Mart's workers in the U.S. spend their nights in trucks of motel rooms without cooking facilities. *
•The Maine Department of Labor ordered Wal-Mart to pay the largest fine in state history for violating child labor laws. The Department of Labor discovered 1,436 child labor law infractions at twenty Wal-Mart chains.
The Democratic Party is the Party of Labor, the party for the middle class and the poor. It is the party of Women's rights and equality. Walmart and its cheerleaders are on the opposite side, against each of these groups and against the cause of equality.
A person who leads cheers for Walmart and yet says that they support the President and the Democratic Party is like a person with a foot in two different canoes which are going rapidly in different directions. Consistency requires a choice: one or the other.
Go with the 1 percenters and Willard.
The party of the people, the party of labor, the party of equality, is on the winning side, politically and ethically, now and in the future.
6:45 PM PT: If one truly believes that Walmart is a good corporate citizen for purely selfless reasons, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I want to sell you. Walmart pays for advertising. Their "charitable giving" is simply another way of saying - advertising expense. Any other view would be inconsistent with Sam Walton's own pronouncements that their competitive advantage is in keeping their costs low - the same reason that they pay minimum wage.
8:40 PM PT: I am so glad that I am not alone in this : Your comments echo my thoughts. And this is cathartic for me - Thank you very much ! I really appreciate the comments !
I ran some numbers recently (15+ / 0-)A very illuminating post byErnest T Bass :
Had a Facebook exchange with a high school friend recently. He works at Wal-Mart so I dug up some numbers for his benefit. Tells an interesting story of how we celebrate "corporate welfare" in this country but God forbid you be on of those "lazy" Wal-Mart workers.
Wal-Mart U.S. Profit: $15.X billion
Wal-Mart Employees: 1.4 million
Profit-per-employee: Approximately $11k
Average take-home pay for Wal-Mart sales associate: less than $1,000 a month
Maximum income to be eligible for SNAP (food stamps): $1,226 a month for a family of two (know any single moms working at Wal-Mart?)
So, just to make it clear, what I'm talking about here is corporate welfare. Taxpayers are paying for food stamps, free school lunches, etc. for employees of a company that makes $15 billion a year in PROFIT. Just think. If Wal-Mart would settle for $7.5 billion a year in profit, they could pay each of their sales associates an extra $5k a year and they would no longer need to rely on taxpayer money to feed their kids or subsidies to pay their rent. They might even have a little left over to splurge on a new pair of shoes or something similar. And guess what? That means more revenue for the stores selling those shoes. And that revenue can be used to hire new employees to serve the new influx of customers. Heck, they may even buy those shoes at Wal-Mart.
Please do let me know if you find any mistakes with either my reasoning or math.
With all due respect, (9+ / 0-)This is no good, less than impressive :
your complaint about "righteous attitudes" generates a one-word response:
I'm not going to deconstruct your rant line by line, but here are some numbers to chew on, from the most recent 10-K annual SEC reports for Wal Mart (WMT), Kroger (KR), and Costco (COST):
$443.9 billion sales
$16.4 billion net income
16.4/443.9 = 3.7 percent margin
$90.4 billion sales
$0.60 billion net income
0.60/90.4 = 0.67 percent margin
$87.0 billion sales
$1.5 billion net income
1.5/78.0 = 1.7 percent margin
Clearly, Wal Mart has higher margins -- makes more money per dollar of revenue after accounting for operating expenses -- than either Kroger (its largest grocery competitor) or Costco (its largest discount warehouse competitor). And, let me point out, that's one whole heckuva lot of sales and net income.
Well, one might say, Wal Mart must just be a better investment for its shareholders, eh? With margins like that in a notoriously low-margin business, its shareholders must be rolling in the dough of fat increases in stock value!
Not so much. Let's say you invested one dollar each in WMT, KR, and COST ten years ago. What would that $1 be worth today?
WMT: $1.62 (increase of 61.7 percent, with 35 dividend pyments ranging from 0.13 percent to 0.77 percent)
KR: $1.18 (increase of 17.6 percent, with 24 dividend payments ranging from 0.24 percent to 0.50 percent)
COST: $3.00 (increase of 200.3 percent, with 32 dividend payments ranging from 0.20 percent to 0.40 percent)
(use any stock tool such as Google Finance to confirm)
Hmmm. So the Wal Mart shareholders aren't doing particularly well. Where does the money go?
I would guess to enrich the Walton clan.
So rather than paying its workers a reasonable wage, stopping their exploitation, stopping their discrimination, and stopping interference with their attempts to organize, Wal Mart chooses to screw its workers and pervert the consumer goods retail and manufacturing sectors in the U.S. (to the detriment of, most likely, countless thousands of other businesses [small stores, suppliers, and the local businesses -- such as restaurants and auto dealers -- that relied on the wages of the workers/owners of those businesses]. For all that income, Wal Mart provides fairly weak return to its shareholders in favor of enriching beyond imagination the Walton clan.
...who then use their lucre to fund initiatives and candidates that favor them and their ilk and work in direct opposition to the working poor and white "trash" you mention.
I will grant you there are those who, because of limited income and limited time/choice/transportation resources, must shop at Wal Mart. That is true. I suspect none of the derision of Wal Mart that seems to wound your tender sensibilities is aimed at them.
But there are millions who shop there who do it solely by choice, who don't think through the implications of their choice and who have real options if they simply tried to take advantage of them. They should know better why spending a dollar at Wal Mart will, in due time, hurt their families far more than that same dollar spent at practically any other vendor in this country.
Update: ABC News has gotten its hands on internal Wal-Mart videos that paint a rather unflattering picture of the company and how it treats women. The Wall Street Journal and Wal-Mart Watch have also dug into the issue. ABC reports:From the tough anti-union talk to the wilder side of men in drag, videos of Wal-Mart corporate meetings are being sold to willing buyers, and the corporate behemoth is not happy about it.video seems to have been removed - I wonder by whom ?
The videos, thousands of them spanning three decades, are in the library of a production company in Lenexa, Kan. Flagler Productions Inc. was hired on a handshake deal by Wal-Mart in the 1970s to produce and film corporate sales meetings and other company events.
Watch two of the videos below. The first video shows a meeting of Wal-Mart employees prancing around a stage in drag. The second video features Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton during a 1987 shareholders meeting. "We know we haven't gotten as far as we'd like to be advancing women in our company. But we're very conscious of it," he says.
Among the revealing moments: A former executive vice president and board member challenges store managers in 2004 to continue his work opposing unionization. Male managers in drag lead thousands of co-workers in the company's corporate cheer. In another meeting, managers mock foolish or dangerous use of a product sold in its stores. In 1991, founder Sam Walton describes Hillary Clinton, then a Wal-Mart director, as "one of us."