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.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.
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.
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
- Here's something to be following right up to July 5: The People's Tour for America is radio hosts Rick Smith and Pat LaMarche, Rick's wife and three kids, and a radio producer and ubiquitous labor tweeter in an RV, hitting a new city just about every day across the country to Netroots Nation, then back to Pittsburgh, talking to workers about labor history and what's going on today. LaMarche compares their trip to David and Goliath, with conservative talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh obviously serving as Goliath here. This week, they visited the legendary Highlander Center.
- Josh Eidelson and Sarah Jaffe discuss Hugh Jackman's appearance at Walmart's shareholder meeting, and Sarah has feelings. Also as usual in their Belabored podcast they discuss all sorts of news.
- Gov. Rick Scott signed a preemption law saying Florida cities and towns can't pass paid sick leave laws even if they want to.
- An important step was made toward breaking down the intern economy, with a federal district judge ruling that Fox Searchlight Pictures violated minimum wage laws by not paying interns on the movie Black Swan:
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.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.
“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.”
- Faces of the Layoffs: Meet some of the 3,783 Philadelphia school workers being laid off.
- From the mines to Walmart, hope dies last.
- For the many, many people having problems at work and looking to change their workplaces for the better, Working America has launched Fix My Job. With this hilarious video:
- 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.