Is Walmart Being Treated Unfairly?
A group has organized to expose Walmart and their treatment of their employees. The group is organized by Making Change at Walmart and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. They are also supported by the AFL-CIO. The 22 state, 30 city cross country tour made their stop in Dallas last week. This was from their press release:
“Walmart’s failure to pay a living wage costs taxpayers an estimated $682.0 million annually for its employees’ public assistance needs (as of 2014). Because Walmart refuses to do the right thing, thousands of its workers are forced to rely on government assistance programs to survive. In fact, a single, full-time Walmart employee, working 34 hours a week with 2 kids, still qualifies for Medicaid and food stamps even if they make Walmart’s average wage claim of $13.75 for full-time, hourly workers.
Irregular schedules and insufficient sick days also make Walmart a difficult place for families to work. Walmart’s low wages and poor benefits drain our community’s taxpayer-funded resources and hurt working families. Walmart already costs federal taxpayers an estimated $6.2 billion every year to cover their employees’ government assistance needs, like food stamps, CHIP, Medicaid, and subsidized housing. With Walmart profiting $13.6 billion last year, it is outrageous that a company this wealthy would depend on taxpayers and the community to subsidize its operations.”
The last sentence of their press release I think creates the question. Just because they make 13.6 billion, should Walmart pay more? Is this a classic call for wealth redistribution? Is Walmart being unfairly attacked? Let’s think about this for a second. Are they paying at least the minimum wage? Are the labor laws being violated? Did employees know what they were getting when they accepted employment at Walmart? Are they being forced to work against their will?
It doesn’t seem like they can answer any of the above questions and point to unfair treatment of Walmart employees. Having said that, it is unfortunate that Walmart does not value things such as the work/family balance. Further, it is even more unfortunate if employees are not offered fair compensation that is line with industry averages.
Then there is the accusation that Walmart is costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money through government assistance programs. There is a portion of the workforce that gets paid hourly and needs help taking care of their families. That is why we have government assistance.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of Walmart. I do think there is a lot of truth to the dark side of Walmart. I also think that there are some moral issues at stake here. Expose them breaking labor laws and then you have something to expose. What are your thoughts?