“According to Florida congressman Alan Grayson, in many states, Walmart employees are the largest group of Medicaid recipients,” Barry Riholtz recently noted. “They are also the single biggest group of food stamp recipients. Walmart’s ‘associates’ are paid so little, according to Grayson, that they receive $1,000 on average in public assistance. These amount to massive taxpayer subsidies for private companies.”
So it’s no surprise that this image was recently taken by a Walmart employee who did not want to disclose her name for fear of retribution, according to The Cleveland Plain-Dealer‘s Olivera Perkins:
This isn’t a merchandise display. It’s a food drive — not for the community, but for needy workers.
“Please Donate Food Items Here, so Associates in Need Can Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner,” read signs affixed to the tablecloths.
This is a kindhearted gesture organized on the store level that reflects the Associates in Critical Need Trust, which uses associate donations to help employees in need. But it doesn’t change the fact that Walmart’s wages leave many of its employees struggling in poverty.
“The average Walmart sales associate makes $8.81 per hour, according to the independent market research group IBISWorld,” Working America explained in a post on Daily Kos. “That translates into $15,576 a year if the associate works a full-time schedule of 34 hours a week. But that’s actually pegging it quite high, as many associates have highly erratic or meager work schedules that don’t allow them anywhere close to full-time status.”
The image above has already gone viral as groups on the left gear up for a long-term campaign to raise the minimum wage and nationwide protests against the nation’s largest retailer on Black Friday. Small protests against Walmart’s treatment of employees and threats of retaliation against those who organize them have been sporadic with minimal effect over the past few years. This year, the support of the AFL-CIO, rising awareness of income inequality and a decision by the National Labor Relations Board to prosecute the company for violating workers’ rights may bring new support to the store’s associates willing to be identified with the labor movement.
It should be noted that the heirs to the Walmart fortune can afford more canned goods than the bottom 40 percent of America combined.
Photo: Our Walmart