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Friday, November 29, 2013

Walmart. Black Friday. It keeps getting worse...

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If you're like me, you keep telling yourself that you'll never shop at WalMart again...

...and then comes the night when you need art supplies at 10:30 p.m. and it just can't wait until morning and only one place in town sells drawing pads and kneaded erasers....

So don't kick yourself when you break your resolutions. It happens. We're all susceptible.

But if you do transfer some or most of your business elsewhere -- in protest of Wally-World's abysmal wages and practices -- you'll have an impact.

Remember: WalMart's low wages are subsidized by you, the taxpayer.
Walmart wages are so low that many of its workers rely on food stamps and other government aid programs to fulfill their basic needs, a reality that could cost taxpayers as much as $900,000 at just one Walmart Supercenter in Wisconsin, according to a study released by Congressional Democrats on Thursday.
Moreover, if WalMart raised wages by 50%, its bottom line would remain unaffected (according to CNN).
Wal-Mart has a book value of $76.7 billion. Take 15.4% of that, and that means investors are looking to get paid $11.8 billion a year. That leaves $101 billion to pay employees.
Wal-Mart paid its top executives and board members $66.7 million last year. The rest of the money has to be split among Wal-Mart's remaining roughly 2.2 million employees. Of those, about 1.4 million work in the U.S. Assume that Wal-Mart spends about 2/3 of that on the salaries of its U.S. employees, because salaries are generally higher here. That leaves $66.6 billion for the U.S. workers, or $47,593. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 30% of the average U.S. workers' total compensation is spent on benefits.

That means the average Wal-Mart employee's take home pay should be $33,315. Wal-Mart doesn't say what its actual average salary is. But Payscale estimated it to be just over $22,000 at the end of last year.
I think that that $22,000 estimate is very high (and perhaps skewed by the inclusion of executive compensation...?). Since WalMart usually contrives to keep employees just under the full-time mark, I tend to believe the writers who have pegged yearly income at $15-18K. (See, for example, here.)

A reader here has an interesting take, worthy of quotation:
Corporations taking advantage of socialist government programs may be a form of saving money and more profits, but it is not the foundation of Capitalism. Creating a socialist society within a Capitalist market is what we have now, and the two mixed in this way only creates laziness and greed.
By the way: This Black Friday, there were fights in a WalMart in California, a stabbing in a Walmart in Virginia, and a dangerous outbreak of mob violence in a Walmart in North Carolina. Here's the video:

If you go to that store on this day, you are low. Support the workers. Next year, boycott Black Friday.

Sam Walton would be ashamed of what his company has become.

On a different subject, did you happen to catch my diary on Black Friday @ dailykos Yesterday?

The hypocrisy is amazing.
I'm living in the Ozarks now. Wal-Mart is a blessing here. Huge numbers of women who had been unemployed or who worked at house cleaning, enduring all kinds of sexual harassment form the old farts they cleaned for, most ex military on pensions, now work at Wal-Mart and it is a life saver for them. Wal-Mart's pay scale for them is excellent in this area. The mom and pop stores that used to gauge the fug out of everyone just because they were there have gone under as they deserved, the good ones survived. Many workers do not want Thanksgiving off as they don't have family. To close on Thanksgiving by forcing WM to do so means they will have to sit home, lose wages, and be depressed. There are many things to consider then people go off half cocked without understanding the entire situation.And yes when nothing is open you know they will be. Why? Because so many people work night shifts and can't shop until 11 pm.I have never worked at Wal-Mart and I do not represent them in any way. Just my observations.
The minimum hourly wage should apply to all employees of corporations including part time employees. This hourly wage when multiplied by 40 hours should provide enough money to exceed the poverty level. In calculating the hourly wage it should include all benefits paid by the company including health care, retirement, unemployment insurance, and education benefits. An alternative to minimum wage could be a guaranteed annual income for all adult citizens paid for with a tax on corporations. Every adult citizen including billionaires would receive a tax credit of $10,000 per year. You would then in a position to negotiate you salary without worrying about staving. People (e.g. interns) could work for zero pay it they choose.
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