Walmart store asks food for its own employees


A Wal-mart store in the Canton, Ohio, area conducted a food drive on behalf of its own employees so they can afford a Christmas dinner.

WALMART-FOOD-BANKThis is terrible public relations for Wal-mart, but I actually think that the store manager who allowed this deserves credit for a kind heart.  The manager did not determine the level of Wal-mart wages, and did what could be done to help out.  But I am sure his superiors will blame him and not the company’s low wages for the unfavorable news coverage.

Sam Walton’s original idea of Wal-mart was to create a store chain with prices that working people and even poor people can afford.   It is a real irony, or paradox, or whatever you want to call it, that store employees can’t afford Thanksgiving dinner, even at Walmart’s everyday low prices.

Wal-mart CEO Bill Simon was quoted as saying the average Wal-mart employee earns just under $25,000 a year.  That’s only slightly better than the U.S. government’s poverty line of $23,550 for a family of four.

It’s unlikely the company will change any time soon and, with unemployment as high as it is, it’s unlikely anybody will be in a position any time soon to pressure the company to change.  Wal-mart got 23,000 applications for 600 job openings at stores the company plans to open in Washington, D.C.  That’s 38 applications for every job, making the odds greater than for applicants to Harvard.

Earlier this year the district’s City Council passed a law setting the minimum wage at $12.50 an hour, which is 50 percent higher than the current $8.25, for big-box retailers such as Walmart.  Corporate executives demanded Mayor Vincent Grey veto the law, and he did.

The great economist John Maynard Keynes said it is possible for a nation’s economy to get stuck in high unemployment and no wages, because nobody has enough spending power to create a good market for goods and services.  I think that’s where we Americans are now.  I think the only way to get out of it is to put people to work filling unmet needs for public services and public works.


Walmart Holding Canned Food Drive For Its Own Underpaid Employees by Scott Keyes for ThinkProgress.

Walmart Store Holding Thanksgiving Food Drive for Its Own Employees by Jillian Berman for the Huffington Post.

Getting a Job at Walmart Is Harder Than Getting Into Harvard by Daniel Gross for the Daily Beast.

National Labor Relations Board to Prosecute Walmart for Violating Workers’ Rights by Bryce Covert for ThinkProgress.


[Afterthought]  Arguably it is better to have bad jobs than no jobs.  But this ignores the jobs that Wal-mart destroys by putting higher-wage competitors out of business.

Click on Wal-mart’s Big Lie – No, It Doesn’t Create jobs for more by Kathleen Geier for Salon.

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4 Responses to “Walmart store asks food for its own employees”

  1. EthnicKonflict Says:

    Hey! We agree on something. I like Target and Whole Foods much better.


  2. Chico Says:

    I’ve never read a credible article that proves that higher wages would hurt corporations or reduce employment. Do you have a post on that?


  3. Bob O Says:

    Kathleen Geier has some very good links in the Salon post, thanks for that, Phil. You can read how Vlasic lost its cachet of deluxe pickles, from 2003:

    And how Walmart forced Rubbermaid to ship jobs overseas in 2004:

    When Walmart moved into a town in N. California, it had dedicated computer terminals set up for its new hires to contact the state aid agencies they’d be contacting in the future anyway; always efficient, always.

    No, the store has shifted away from American products to something else. The net result is a loss of variety in the myriad mom-and-pop stores gone by the wayside. Some will say it’s just modern survival, but clearly the race to the bottom is all it is.


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