Skip to main content

Sign asking workers at a Canton, Ohio, Walmart to donate food
Sign attached to food donation boxes in an employees-only area of a Canton, Ohio, Walmart.
Food donation boxes are a common holiday-season sight in supermarkets. Boxes for store employees to donate food for other store employees in need? That's more of a surprise, but it's exactly what can be found in a Canton, Ohio, Walmart:
"Please Donate Food Items Here, so Associates in Need Can Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner," read signs affixed to the tablecloths.

The food drive tables are tucked away in an employees-only area. They are another element in the backdrop of the public debate about salaries for cashiers, stock clerks and other low-wage positions at Walmart, as workers in Cincinnati and Dayton are scheduled to go on strike Monday.

So this Walmart's management is asking its low-paid workers to give to its even lower-paid workers. Those who are lucky enough to get close to full-time hours and have been around long enough to earn a princely $11 or $12 an hour can give canned goods to those working part time and earning more like $8, I guess. That's people who are kinda sorta getting by giving to those who are living in poverty—in an effort run by their mutual employer, who refuses to pay them the kind of wages that would make food donations unnecessary for all of them.

This may be the perfect illustration of the Walmart economy. Work doesn't pay enough to live on for "associates" at the largest private employer in the country, but even charity is too much to expect from the company itself. Walmart's explanation? "This is part of the company's culture to rally around associates and take care of them when they face extreme hardships." Sure, if you understand that the "culture" is that the company itself isn't helping at all.

As a direct acknowledgement by an employer that it isn't paying its workers enough to live on, this might take second place to a McDonald's employee help line telling a worker to apply for food stamps. But Walmart putting the burden of helping on its own workers at the same moment it's acknowledging many of them need help putting Thanksgiving dinner on the table (if they're not being forced to come in to work that day, anyway) is an added touch of gross callousness to the effects of Walmart's own low pay and part-time jobs.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 09:47 AM PST.

Also republished by Central Ohio Kossacks and Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site