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Because Walmart's labor practices weren't bad enough already:
A Reuters survey of 52 stores run by the largest U.S. private employer in the past month, including one in every U.S. state, showed that 27 were hiring only temps, 20 were hiring a combination of regular full, part-time and temp jobs, and five were not hiring at all. The survey was based on interviews with managers, sales staff and human resource department employees at the stores.

The new hiring policy is to ensure “we are staffed appropriately,” when the stores are busiest and is not a cost-cutting move, said company spokesman David Tovar. Temporary workers, he said, are paid the same starting pay as other workers.

And hey, since Walmart never gives rank-and-file workers any raises, that means the starting pay that temps and other workers get is the same as longtime workers get! (Would that "starting pay" be the minimum wage, by any chance?) Apparently we're supposed to be excited that Walmart's workforce is less than 10 percent temps—which sounds like a relatively small number until you learn that before 2013, it was about 2 percent temps.

Don't you love that Walmart is like "we're using more temp workers because Reasons, but perish the thought that we're doing it to screw workers"? Even if the wages can't really get any lower, having more temps means people who are even more worried about keeping their jobs and definitely aren't going to be trying to organize and improve working conditions. Total coincidence with the increase in workers fighting back against Walmart's lousy pay and conditions, I'm sure.

A fair day's wage

Eric Glatt and Alexander Footman, production interns on “Black Swan,” sued Fox Searchlight in September 2011. In the suit, Mr. Glatt and Mr. Footman said they did basic chores, usually undertaken by paid employees. Like their counterparts in other industries, the interns took lunch orders, answered phones, arranged other employees’ travel plans, tracked purchase orders, took out the trash and assembled office furniture.

“I’m absolutely thrilled,” said Mr. Glatt, who has an M.B.A. from Case Western Reserve University. “I hope that this sends a very loud and clear message to employers and to students doing these internships, and to the colleges that are cooperating in creating this large pool of free labor — for most for-profit employers, this is illegal. It shouldn’t be up to the least powerful person in the arrangement to have to bring a lawsuit to stop this.”

Unpaid internships not only allow companies to avoid hiring paid workers, but provide a route into many desirable fields of work that's not available to young people who can't afford to work for free.

  • More scrappy local organizing from the Laundry Workers Center in New York City. The group previously organized workers at the Hot & Crusty bakery and now has Dishes catering in its sights, with workers fighting back against wage theft, retaliatory firing, and unsafe working conditions.
  • Janitors at Target stores in the Twin Cities held a 48-hour strike this week, seeking wages equivalent to what the unionized janitors at corporate headquarters get.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 10:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We quit going to Walmart years ago. (4+ / 0-)

    Hopefully all Daily Kos people boycott them as well.

  •  Yes. WalMart will do anything they can (5+ / 0-)

    dream of to weaken their workforce.

    "The first duty of a revolutionist is to get away with it.". Abbie Hoffman

    by Joes Steven on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 11:09:20 AM PDT

  •  I wonder if Walmart has received an uptick in (4+ / 0-)

    business from wingnuts who are increasing their purchases there specifically because Walmart is engaging in these tactics?

    I can think of a few people I know personally who would do that.

  •  I wish we could organize a "consumer's strike": (6+ / 0-)

    The only way they will listen.

    Organize huge boycotts, it would take massive efforts, but if an outside group could organize a "week for workers" and have the stores empty for a week it would get their attention.

    Blessed are the peacemakers, the poor, the meek and the sick: The "party of Jesus" wouldn't invite him to their convention - fearing his "platform."

    by 4CasandChlo on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 11:18:03 AM PDT

  •  Walmart's Corporate Office is BLEH (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Crider

    I looked at Google Maps in Arkansas, typed in the corporate address and saw Walmart's Corporate Headquarters.  I'm not impressed.  I would have thought the office buildings would have looked nicer.  Looks like the CEO has bad taste.

    •  Well.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Crider, historys mysteries

      It IS Walmart, taste doesn't really have anything to do with them.

      I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

      by Lilyvt on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 12:00:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And if Walmart HQ was elegant... (0+ / 0-)

      ...then the corporate executives there would be criticized for setting up a luxurious environment for themselves while screwing the workers in the stores.

      Seriously, Walmart has plenty to answer for, but the unattractive HQ offices really shouldn't be an issue.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 04:30:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh they are an issue for me (0+ / 0-)

        In the neighborhood which Walmart's HQ is situated in, it looks run down and really nothing much.  Why would I want to go there?  At least with a nicer headquarters, it might be something good to look at, even if I hate Walmart with a passion (which I do).

        But really, it's not as if Walmart is not already screwing workers to begin with.   What have they got to lose?  It's not the style of the building that is a determining factor for how a company screws over its workers or community.  It's who the people are.

  •  Interesting (7+ / 0-)

    I find it interesting that the reason why Walmart instituted this temp hiring practice isn't mentioned. Walmart sources are claiming this is to get around the 30 hr insurance requirement.  Many others are moving to do the same.  

    My niece was informed last week that her job that usually provided 32 hrs per week would no longer give her over 19 hrs.  She is a clerk at a local gas station that is part of a regional chain.  My mother just retired from a cleaning position at a local university.  The management asked her to stay on as a "call in" that worked just a few hours per week.  The manager said that no one was to get full time positions any longer and everyone would be under 30 hrs.  Again, the reason given was healthcare reform laws.  Many on the lower end of the economic scale will just be forced to cobble together a living from multiple, part time jobs with few or no benefits.

    The sequester is the new Republican immigration reform plan. Make things so bad here in the US that no one will want to live here.

    by Mote Dai on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 11:27:43 AM PDT

    •  The company I work for cut our hours too... (5+ / 0-)

      We are capped at 24 hours a week with out permission from the management.  That way they won't have to offer insurance.

      NPR just did a story about this http://www.marketplace.org/...

      Around here (North East Ohio) i've seen Wal-mart offer starting pay at $10.75 to $12 an hour, more if you work nights.

      But it is only part time.

      Stupid question hour starts now and ends in five minutes.

      by DrillSgtK on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 11:32:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Circle K (3+ / 0-)

      is cutting all of their cashiers to 28 hours or less.

      You can't keep a mighty tree alive (much less expect it to thrive) by only spritzing the fine leaves at its tippy-top. The fate of the whole tree depends on nurturing the grassroots. - Jim Hightower

      by PSzymeczek on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 12:21:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wow (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PSzymeczek, historys mysteries

        Good to see all those companies will "Do The Right Thing" as predicted by the administration.  Ha.  Honestly, people said this would happen if that stipulation was incorporated into the law.  But this was brought to you by the team that also developed the sequester because it would be "so painful no one will vote for it."

        The sequester is the new Republican immigration reform plan. Make things so bad here in the US that no one will want to live here.

        by Mote Dai on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 12:26:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Isn't this what Democrats expected? (0+ / 0-)

      I thought this was the path to getting single-payer universal healthcare, by letting the selfish corps do what they do best, which is to take advantage of rent-seeking opportunities to further an ultimately progressive agenda.

      If work hours are more flexible, that's also a bonus. The only problem I see is the low, flat wages, but did/do any of us expect that discount retail would ever be a career?

      The problem is the lack of higher paying jobs in other sectors of the economy. I thought we always expected discount retail to be like fast food, a first-job/summer-job or temp job for people who were eventually going to find a "real" job.

      -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

      by JPax on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 02:18:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My husband's company is also doing it to at least (0+ / 0-)

      of them...for the same reason.

  •  There is a union for that (6+ / 0-)
    The National Association of Part-Time and Temporary Employees (NAPTE) is a registered nonprofit voluntary membership organization dedicated to advancing the economic and social interests of all people working on a part-time, contractual, or temporary basis. NAPTE is a nonpartisan independent association founded in 1994. It is presently headquartered in suburban Kansas City.

    NAPTE was founded by temps and part-time workers for non-traditional workers. The event that prompted the creation of NAPTE was when employees who were hired as regular part-time workers with some benefits were conveniently re-classified as corporate temps with no benefits. This re-classification of employment status while "legal" was the impetus to start the organization. As corporate temps they were paid less per hour than regular employees. This is "economic discrimination." Unfortunately there are some employers that use non-traditional work schedules to avoid providing vital pro-rated benefits. Flexibility that is fair for all works best.

    The "re-engineering" of the workplace and globalization of commerce means that portable benefits need to be provided that people can transfer from one job to another. NAPTE offers some of these type of benefits.

  •  My One Visit to A Walmart (6+ / 0-)

    Years ago, my wife and I were on a road trip somewhere in New Mexico and  desperately needed socks.  The only store we could find near the interstate was a Walmart.  I had a dim view of Walmart's labor record at home and overseas even in those days, but hey, we were stuck.

    So we went in and bought the socks.  At the exit, a security guard stopped my wife, searched every bag we had and demanded our receipt which he checked against those pricy socks we had purchased.  

    Prior to his stopping us, during his stopping us, and following it, a steady stream of white customers passed by unchallenged.

    My wife is black.

    That was the last time either of us shopped at Walmart.

  •  Which is interesting since to hire temps (4+ / 0-)

    an employer has to pay the temp agency a mark up for overhead and profit.  

    •  It is a short-term allocation of labor dollars (4+ / 0-)

      and allows the employer not to have to account for long-term labor expense commitments.  You can terminate at will and not have to bear the unemployment insurance costs (they are not your employee, they are the agency's employees), if the employee is pregnant, you don't bear the FMLA responsibilities, the temp agency is the employer, etc.  

      It's true it costs more upfront, but the reason companies like WalMart go to temp agencies is either a sign of union busting or pre-union busting, or a signal of a major financial weakness in the corporation or a trend to damaging weakness that they are trying to fix before it becomes public and ruins them with investors.   I suspect it is both.  

      Again, the only protection workers have is unionization.  This goes for temp agency workers, as well.

      "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

      by Uncle Moji on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 11:53:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The good news... (3+ / 0-)

    ...is that these practices are unsustainable.  WalMart is committing suicide - death by a thousand little cuts, as it were.

    By favoring non-dedicated workers (part timers and temps, neither of whom have any reason to be 'loyal' employees), WalMart is ensuring that their stores will not be properly stocked, recovered, or cleaned - a phenomenon we are already seeing.  This drives sales down even if your customer count remains stable.  So to cut costs, they cut more labor and the cycle accelerates.

    It's a myopia that dominates retail.  Very few retail CEOs don't understand that their product isn't the crap they sell in their stores... It's the STORES!  And it is the people in your stores that will give you a good product.

    WalMart deserves to fail, and maybe their failure will be a lesson to other retail muckity mucks - though I doubt they'll learn from it.

  •  So Obama chooses a pro-Walmart guy to chair (3+ / 0-)

    the White House's Council of Economic Advisers - Jason Furman.

    Brilliant.

    Physics is bulls**t. Don't let them fool you. Fire IS magic.
    (Facts brought to you by the Party of the Future - the GOP)

    by Pescadero Bill on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 11:54:24 AM PDT

    •  Why choose this guy? (0+ / 0-)

      Jason Furman thinks Walmart is a “progressive success story.”

      Here’s a sample of Furmanomics:

      “By acting in the interests of its shareholders, Wal-Mart has innovated and expanded competition, resulting in huge benefits for the American middle class and even proportionately larger benefits for moderate-income Americans.”
      Expanded the competition? by cutting workers hours, the inevitable effect being, more people living with incoms ate poverty level ?!? But that's okay because Walmart prices are kept low. WTF kind of reasoning is that.

      Why not pay people a living wage to begin with?

      Makes no sense to me on that

  •  Is this the same WalMart that last year (3+ / 0-)

    announced--with great national fanfare and ballyhoo, as I recall--a program to hire on thousands of vets?

    Is this how they're doing it--offering them temp jobs?

    Has anyone followed up on the campaign, asking Wally World just how many vets they've hired? And what kind of positions they are being offered--fulltime with benefits so they can support a family or part-time/temp so they can stay on food stamps and Medicaid for their kids?

    EF U WalMart.  

    When atlatls are outlawed, only outlaws will have atlatls.

    by wheeldog on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 12:10:25 PM PDT

  •  Anyone notice the new spate of Walmart ads... (0+ / 0-)

    that push-back on the image of their workers as exploited?
    The "When you see me, I hope you see a success story" ads?

    Maybe Walmart's spending all it's ill-gotten gains to simply purchase a better corporate image.

    Wow.

    •  Yes I see these ads too (0+ / 0-)

      all the employees talking about how great it is to work at Walmart.  What a future they will have and they can get bonuses.  Is Walmart trying to make it sound like they are a good employer?  Very odd.

      Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don't vote.

      by Renie57 on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 04:52:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the ads are clever... (0+ / 0-)

        They don't try to guilt the viewer into changing his opinion of walmart, they shame you by suggesting your efforts to address Walmart's exploitation are motivated by snobbery or, perhaps, racism.

        They are basically saying "don't judge me(Walmart worker) from your feathered nests." It sets up a class conflict between the worker and the activist class.

        Sneaky.

  •  The way to punish Walmart is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sukeyna

    to dry up the labor pool. Hire the unemployed to upgrade our infrastructure, educate our kids, do basic research, etc.

    If there are plenty of good jobs elsewhere, Walmart will lose any good workers they have. Walmart thrives because we have never fixed the JOBS recession.

    Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

    by Tim DeLaney on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 06:32:53 PM PDT

  •  Kinda reminds me of an old comic bit about MCD. (0+ / 0-)
    Don't you love that Walmart is like "we're using more temp workers because Reasons, but perish the thought that we're doing it to screw workers"?
    The bit was that at some point in the future, McDonalds would go out of business because by then everyone in America would have worked at one at some point (w/ the implication that anyone who had ever worked there subsequently stopped eating there).

    "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

    by bartcopfan on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 11:24:18 AM PDT

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