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“The Real Deadbeats”: You’re Not The Deadbeat. The Waltons Are The Deadbeats

If you are tired of your taxpayer dollars being used to pay Wal-Mart employees the money that the Waltons refuse to pay them, then you might be interested in the large Black Friday protests that are occurring at 1,600 Wal-Mart stores in 49 states throughout the nation right now.

“I have to depend on the government mostly,” says Fatmata Jabbie, a 21-year-old single mother of two who earns $8.40 an hour working at a Walmart in Alexandria, Virginia. She makes ends meet with food stamps, subsidized housing, and Medicaid. “Walmart should pay us $15 an hour and let us work full-time hours,” she says. “That would change our lives. That would change our whole path. I wouldn’t be dependent on government too much. I could buy clothes for my kids to wear.”

The nation’s largest employer, Walmart employs 1.4 million people, or 10 percent of all retail workers, and pulls in $16 billion in annual profits. Its largest stockholders—Christy, Jim, Alice, and S. Robson Walton—are the nation’s wealthiest family, collectively worth $145 billion. Yet the company is notorious for paying poverty wages and using part-time schedules to avoid offering workers benefits. Last year, a report commissioned by Congressional Democrats found that each Walmart store costs taxpayers between 900,000 and $1.75 million per year because so many employees are forced to turn to government aid.

This isn’t complicated. If you have a job at Wal-Mart and you still need Medicaid, food stamps and subsidized housing, then you aren’t just getting shafted by the Waltons. You’re also being paid your missing wages by the federal government. You’re not the deadbeat. The Waltons are the deadbeats.

 

By: Martin Longman, Political Animal, The Washington Ponthly, November 28, 2014

November 29, 2014 Posted by | Minimum Wage, Walmart, Workers | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way”: Walmart Plans To Deny Health Care Benefits To New Employees

Why the ACA can’t kick in soon enough, part the infinite: the Huffington Post is reporting that, according to a new policy that will take effect in January, Walmart will begin denying health insurance to new employees who work less than 30 hours a week. It will also reserve the right to cut health benefits for certain groups of current employees who work less than 30 hours. Walmart workers, like many retail employees, often have shifts and hours that vary from week to week, according to seasonal business cycles, so even workers who are currently working 30 hours or more could be affected.

Let’s not forget that Walmart is the nation’s largest private employer, so this change is hugely important. And it’s important not only in itself, but in the spillover effect it could have on the employment policies of comparable retailers.

The Huffington Post observes that the point of the new policy is to opportunistically take advantage of certain aspects of Obamacare:

Among the key features of Obamacare is an expansion of Medicaid, the taxpayer-financed health insurance program for poor people. Many of the Walmart workers who might be dropped from the company’s health care plans earn so little that they would qualify for the expanded Medicaid program, these experts said.

“Walmart is effectively shifting the costs of paying for its employees onto the federal government with this new plan, which is one of the problems with the way the law is structured,” said Ken Jacobs, chairman of the Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

This is yet one more example of why last week’s historic worker protests against Walmart were so important. I’ll add this reminder: it doesn’t have to be this way. Some highly profitable players in the retail game which are comparable to Walmart, such as Costco, manage to treat their workers decently. The reason Walmart runs its business in such a reprehensible manner is because it actively chooses to do so.

 

By: Kathleen Grier, Washington Monthly Political Animal, December 2, 2012

December 3, 2012 Posted by | Health Care | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

   

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