Some facts on Walmart

a republican friend who reads my blog told me the other night he thought i was a ‘liberal’. now i dont have any problem with this label, accept it probably doesnt apply. i’m a g-d damned independent. as i’ve said, neither party represents many of my views or interests.

when i asked him how he could be supportive of a government that fosters evil corporations like Walmart he took a offense. he actually tried defending them but we both realized we lacked any good facts to back up our opinions. when i told him the limited facts i did know, he said he doubted they were true but admitted that if there were, maybe my views had some merit.

i’ll add to this that over thanksgiving i got into the same debate with my sister who is an ethics prof. of course, being my sister, she argued vehemently against me until we realized that we agreed on our basic principles – that a corporation should only be held to two standards. those are the law and the market. i believe Walmart is failing at on the legal front and that the market will soon catch up. the stock is probably a good short in the near future. under so much scrutiny the company will have to end its highly profitable practices of driving down labor costs and avoiding medical costs.

anyway, here are some facts i gathered from the site of the Walmart movie. now before you yell at me about presenting ‘one sided’ facts (??), i will provide a link here and you will be able to see the complete sources behind all of these which are incredibly well documented.

walmart and
welfare…
ALABAMA: 3,864 Children of WAL-MART Employees
are Enrolled in Medicaid
ARIZONA: 2,700 WAL-MART Workers on Medicaid
ARKANSAS: 3971 WAL-MART Workers on Public Assistance
FLORIDA: 12,300 WAL-MART Workers and their Dependents on
Medicaid
GEORGIA: 10,261 Children of WAL-MART Employees are Enrolled in
PeachCare for Kids
TENNESSEE: 9,617 WAL-MART Workers on TennCare
walmart and
unions…
$7,000 ANTI-UNION CAMERA PACKAGE per
store
$30,000 UNDERCOVER SPY VAN per store
$100,000 24 hour ANTI-UNION
HOTLINE
$7,000,000 Rapid response team with CORPORATE JET
$50 MILLION to settle an
off-the-clock class action suit in Colorado

In Texas it is estimated that Walmart cheated workers out of up to $150 million in unpaid wages

  • "In a recently certified class-action suit in Texas on behalf of more than
    200,000 current and former Wal-Mart workers, statisticians estimate that the
    company underpaid its Texas workers by $150 million over four years by not
    paying them for the many times they worked during their daily 15-minute breaks.
    That $150 million estimate does not include other types of unpaid work. The
    statisticians, who analyzed time records from 12 Wal-Mart stores, found that the
    Texas employees averaged at least one hour of unpaid work each week from working
    through breaks."
  • Source: Steven Greenhouse, "Suits Say Wal-Mart Workers Forced To Toil Off
    The Clock," New York Times, June 25, 2002 [reprinted via Common
    Dreams
    ]

Wal-Mart Managers delete time from workers’ timecards

  • In Massachusetts, "a Middlesex court judge has put his imprimatur on a suit
    alleging the retail giant failed to pay employees for time worked and neglected
    to give them meal and rest breaks, the Herald has learned. The eight-page ruling
    by Superior Court Judge Ernest B. Murphy cites an affidavit by a computer expert
    hired by the plaintiffs. The expert allegedly found 7,000 instances during a
    one-year period when Wal-Mart managers deleted large blocks of time from their
    employee payroll records."
  • Source: John Strahinich, "Judge OKs Employee Lawsuit Against Wal-Mart," Boston
    Herald, January 7, 2005.
Wal-Mart currently faces lawsuits in thirty-one different States for
wage and hour abuses potentially involving hundreds of thousand workers.


Federal Poverty Level Family of Four – $17,650

 

Average Wal-Mart Hourly Sales Employee Wages – $13,861

Wal-Mart is paying eleven million dollars to settle Federal
allegations it used illegal immigrants to clean its stores.

WAL-MART SUBSIDY NATIONWIDE: $1.008 BILLION  (from cities)

Currently in the U.S. there are
26,699,678 SQUARE FEET of empty WAL-MARTS

2001: EPA orders WAL-MART to pay $1.0
MILLION fine for Clean Water Violations in: TEXAS, OKLAHOMA AND
MASSACHUSETTS

2004: WAL-MART fined $3.1 MILLION by
EPA, the largest ever for a retailer, for Clean Water Act violations in TEXAS,
COLORADO, CALIFORNIA, DELAWARE, MICHIGAN, SOUTH DAKOTA, NEW JERSEY, TENNESSEE
and UTAH

WAL-MART Imported $18 BILLION from
CHINA in 2004

The WALTON FAMILY Has Given LESS THAN 1% of Their Wealth to
Charity
Bill Gates has given 58%

In 2004, WAL-MART Employees gave OVER $5 MILLION to help fellow
workers

The Walton Family gave $6,000

The WALTON FAMILY received a federal tax cut of: $91,500.00 per HOUR
in the 2004 tax year

69 incidents of robbery, rape and
murder in Walmart parking lots in first 7 months of 2005

131 communities have voted Walmarts
out

7 thoughts on “Some facts on Walmart

  1. Interesting Mark. Very Interesting.
    However, some of the stats above aren’t very “logical” — ie, they are there for shock value alone. The stats above, for instance, include a stat for a family of four poverty level … and a stat for the average Walmart employee. The instant conclusion is “ah ha! they’re being cheated.” Let’s back up.
    The average employee (SINGULAR employee) is making about $4K less than the poverty line (for a family of four) by THEMSELVES. Which means that if every Walmart employee has a family of four, and they’re the only person in the family working — then they’re poor. What about the other spouse? Where’s the “anti-Walmart” stat for that? What about the average family size of the average Walmart employee?
    I ask — because it’s not clear. It’s meant to be sensational — when the reality is, it’s HIGHLY possible that both parents are working at Walmart, and it’s a family of three. IE, they’re making about $27K (total), and are well above the poverty line. Or, maybe it’s single parents working there — at which point, they’re ALSO above the poverty line. Or maybe the lower-wage earner is working there, and they’re making $60K combined — which means the family is doing fine.
    Using your stats above, you really should be comparing the Walmart employee to HALF of the national poverty level ($14K vs. $8K) to show off the reality. Suddenly, Walmart is paying almost 2X the poverty line.
    I’m not trying to say Walmart is (or isn’t) great. I shop there. I own stock in them. I shop at Sams Club. But the reality is … if you’re going to slam them w/ stats, make sure you’re comparing apples-to-apples … and make sure it makes sense.
    Walmart employs a LOT of people. People who have the freedom to go work elsewhere — last I checked, it was a capitalist society. Why can’t the impoverished employee’s go work in the restaurant or grocery business? Oh — because they’d likely make even less, and wouldn’t even get the chance for a paid break. In retrospect, Walmart is a bit of an upgrade over your average waiting job.
    And what’s with bashing the Walton’s for actually keeping their money? Didn’t they earn it? Didn’t they work hard (surely some harder than others), using their brains, talents, and the “system” to build up an empire which they intended to profit from? If this was China, or old Russia, they’d be FORCED to hand that money back out — but then we’re in a fixed-pie economy, aren’t we? We’re a country of producers, who create wealth. They produced, and created wealth. And, they have chosen to keep it — rather than spreading it around. Karma or not, there’s no law on the books that says they have to be “good citizens”.
    Sure, it’s great that Gates is giving money back to the community, to health causes, to other needs. Does he have to? Nope. Is he nicer because of it? Sure. Does that make him better than the Walton family? Not on your life.

  2. Ok, so… let’s say Wal-Mart adopts friendlier employee policies (wouldn’t be too difficult).
    They start going out of their way to avoid all the bad things everyone says they do.
    They stop employing companies that use third-world labor to cheaply deliver goods.
    They pay their employees (*cough* associates) more, give them more benefits, etc.
    All of a sudden, their famous low-prices reputation starts slipping.
    In comes XPloit-Mart (whatever), who isn’t afraid to use all of these practices to steal away marketshare from the now “fat, soft” Wal-Mart.
    Next thing you know, XPloit-Mart is dominating like crazy and getting away with all kinds of abusive practices, because it can then deliver the lowest cost.
    Wal-Mart has to layoff tons of its now entitled generation of workers who were making $9.50 an hour to start. Their not too happy about this.
    Just one scenario… not very likely, but just illustrates the problem with throwing out figures and assuming Wal-Mart should arbitrarily raise them.

  3. I have a similar outlook on the wally-world overlord, but with a slight twist since I came from a somewhat small town. I watched as small stores with character and heart were slowly destroyed. Now I am all for good competition and the inherent benefits that is brings and I also like a changing, growing society, but now I have a hard time going back to those old places. Its just walmart towns now. The whole town revolves around those behemoths.
    Wally plunges inferior products into the market. It drives the quality of everything else around down. Take a trip to the mid-west and you will see nothing but franchised restaurants and walmarts. Cars with 10k mile tires, prematurely worn clothes etc. People don’t even know that you can go into a family owned store and purchase things anymore. Those folks also are so concerned with only one thing that they don’t look around them. Cheap Cheap Cheap. I know there are still shops out there so don’t light me up concerning absolutes.
    Wages are low and scheduling is ridiculous. I would say that 90% of your commentators and readers have never worked in a place like that so when they compare a telecom company to walmart I have to question where they stand in the employment chain. Its hard to achieve relative perception when there is a lot of altitude deviation. There is a big difference.
    I shop at costco and never at sams. Costco is doing fine. They have a great private label product line (Kirkland). The products are surprisingly good quality and very affordable. They pay their employees very well and have full benefits. Those higher wages and benefits keep employees happy and hard working and also keep those extra bucks in the local economy. If those dollars that are just pooled in BFE Arkansas were injected into the economy even on a small scale the effect would be enormous. I am sure all know the cyclic effect that kind of investment in the economy has. I know they have lending institutions and various other ventures out there, but they pretty much sit on their golden eggs.
    I used to really really hate walmart. I can’t do that any longer. Businesses are like politicians. People vote their leaders into office. People voted walmart into the position it is in with their dollars. I’m not wealthy and yet I still choose to have higher quality products, because I know that they cost 50% more and last %200 longer and I look better and feel better during that duration. Ignorance in America precludes our own problems. Its people’s fault not government or business. Change needs to start at a lower level in the community and not at the top. Business does exactly what its supposed to do and people are going to live in ignorance. There is no intelligent community.

  4. hey mark,
    i used to work at walmart. and i know it isnt a good company to work for. they are extremely demanding, and provide little compensation. the figure you produced of $13861 year sounds right. but break it down: that equals $266.55 week or $6.66 hour-and that’s AVERAGE! how many people make less? when i worked there i was an asst dept mgr, and my three children were dependant on rural medical programs. the deductibles were high, and you didnt qualify for prescription drug benefits until after a year of service.
    in the small towm i live in, walmart is about the only place to shop. nearly all the small businesses that had been here for decades are gone now. places my grandparents and parents shopped at.
    and it’s true, everything they sell is inferior quality. clothes dont last long, as washing them discolors and they fall apart.
    when sam was alive he had a “buy american” policy. when he died that went out the window. they began staying open 24/7 and moved their purchasing headquarters to china. so much for american jobs!
    if youre salary, you can work all the time, and they will let you. everyone gets christmas off to spend with the family. if your hourly, you get written up if you go over 40 hours a week. they want their people to stay at $6.66 an hour-imagine that figure?
    ironically, i own 300 shares of walmart stock. my dad bought a hundred shares 20 years ago and it has split twice. it just sits and collects dust, but they knock the dust off occassionally with a nickel dividend.
    perhaps it’s intersting to note that the waltons are very large givers and supporters of the republican party. they gave $3,000,000 in 2004 for support, and only $6,000 to employee relief. why the gulf (huge). they put their money where their heart is: reelecting kings’ bush and cheney.
    all we can do is two things: take aour dollars elsewhere, and VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Thanks for the article. I used it to give facts to my family about Wal-Mart. I also used it to comment on an article about Wal-Mart online.
    Keep passing the knowledge around….

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