Walmart Workers Collect Food for Other Workers?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-15-2009
Walmart Workers Collect Food for Other Workers?
38
Wed, 11-20-2013 - 7:58pm

I know this is a bit off topic, and not necessarily a political topic, but I thought it was worth sharing.

A Walmart store decided to do a food drive for its own employees who are unable to afford a Thanksgiving dinner:  http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2013/11/is_walmarts_request_of_associa.html

Everyone knows that Walmart is infamous for its low prices and wages.  Is Walmart admitting that they realize their workers are underpaid?  Instead of raising wages, they take up a food drive?

What do you think about the store's food drive?

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-14-2011

<<<Kory Lundberg, a spokesman for Walmart, said this store of about 300 employees has been hosting a holiday food drive for a few years.

"Quite frankly, a lot of people in that store are frustrated and offended that this is reported in a way besides other folks rallying around each other," Lundberg said.

Last year, he said there were about 12 people who benefited from the program.

"I couldn't be prouder of people in that store helping in a tough situation," he said.

"They set the tub up for associates and managers to donate items for associates for things beyond their control," Lundberg said. "It shows these associates care for each other. This isn't every day run of the mill stuff -- maybe a spouse has lost a job or lost a loved one, or maybe a natural disaster has hit.">>>

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/ohio-walmart-store-holds-thanksgiving-food-drive-associates/story?id=20927026

Its sad that some people with their agenda's can't see the good in a kind gesture like this.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2009

To PSS

I posted a link which indicates that Walmart and McDonalds employees have high rates of food stamp use.  You can ignore the fact (and I provided a link earlier in this thread with figures) but the "kind gesture" characterization is more accurate than you perhaps intended.  The food drive is a GESTURE.   This piece succinctly expresses what is so terribly wrong with the Walmart model:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2013/11/18/walmart-store-holding-thanksgiving-charity-food-drive-for-its-own-employees/

Ironically enough, the same people who support Walmart's practices are also the same ones who tend to rail about public assistance programs.  So one wonders how they think Walmart employees should manage.  Work harder, they say sometimes.  For what?  And if you're living so close to the bone that a food drive is necessary, how the heck can you manage the numerous demands on your time and money?  Any small setback has a monumentally huge impact for the working poor.  

If there wasn't such a major disparity between the highest and the lowest in Walmart's hierarchy, their policies would be more palatable.  But Walmart's owners and executives have a quantum difference of income from the vast MAJORITY of their employees.   In doing some research, I found a Walmart link which touts their ethics and integrity.  Huh.  What they practice is laissez-faire capitalism with a heaping dose of public subsidy (social welfare programs for their underpaid employees) for the sake of Walton private gain.  "Greed is good" seems to be the corporate credo, followed closely by "Devil take the hindmost".  

Their food drive was lip service and Kory Lundburg was the flunk set out to deliver a  message horribly at odds with what other Walmart employees (including some from that Canton, Ohio store) have said.  Do you really think the Walmart employee who took the picture (since the bins were in an employees-only section of the store) was trying to point out Walmart's generosity?!  If Lundburg was that "proud" of a fund drive helping 12 people, sounds to me like he has a near nil sense of justice or compassion.  

No, at the end of the day, Walmart could stop trying to project an image of ethics and actually become a role model for fair employment.  But I am not holding my breath because there are too many who do believe that wealth and might make right.  

Jabberwocka

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2009

To JBT

Unfortunately, iVillage still does not have a reliable mechanism for indicating who is responding to whom.  PSS made a comment about being "blind" to acts of kindness and my response was to her. 

Maybe if you read the links I posted, you might not ask a question which seems so uninformed.  No, Walmart is not a responsible employer.  It's the largest private employer in the U.S. and IMHO, what it owes its employees is a fair wage for full time employment.  Other corporations manage to pay enough that their employees can stay away from public assistance programs for all but catastrophic events.  When so many of Walmart's employees are on food stamps (READ THE LINK IN MY EARLIER RESPONSE!) an intelligent and thoughtful person would be led to ask why.  Could it possibly be that Walmart doesn't pay a living wage to the majority of its employees?!  For the life of me, I cannot fathom what is so "appalling" or "illogical" about the question.  

Moreover, it turns out that Walmart itself relies on food stamps to continue its business model and profit expectations.  http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-11-14/why-walmart-really-needs-food-stamps  

Sooooo...... that intelligent and thoughtful person might ask how much taxpayers "owe" the rich Waltons when the vast majority of profits go into the already well-lined pockets---of Walmart owners and executives.

You persist in asking questions which have already been answered several times over.  I doubt that my words will be heeded and it's just not worth my time to engage in repetition.  Have a good day.  

Jabberwocka

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Fri, 12-06-2013 - 3:26pm

Lots of companies do not pay living wages to their workers. I cannot share your outrage because employees agree to the wages they receive. There is no need to engage in ad hominem attacks just because you don't like what other posters are saying. I'm sure that if you knew us in person, you'd find that we are reasonable, logical people. We just don't agree with your basic premise that Walmart and other stores like it are "evil" for not paying a living wage. Disagreeing with something you feel so strongly about doesn't make one stupid or unfeeling. It really is possible for two intelligent people to have disparate views.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-14-2011

Again, this was ONE store doing this food drive NOT the whole company as a policy.  I guess according to some people, if you don't make X amount of money, you shouldn't be generous and give somehting to someone who needs help.  Sad.

Avatar for jamblessedthree
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001

jabberwocka wrote:
<p>To JBT</p><p><span>Unfortunately, iVillage still does not have a reliable mechanism for indicating who is responding to whom.  PSS made a comment about being "blind" to acts of kindness and my response was to her. </span></p><p><span>Maybe if you read the links I posted, you might not ask a question which seems so uninformed.  No, Walmart is not a responsible employer.  It's the largest private employer in the U.S. and IMHO, what it owes its employees is a fair wage for full time employment.  Other corporations manage to pay enough that their employees can stay away from public assistance programs for all but catastrophic events.  When so many of Walmart's employees are on food stamps (READ THE LINK IN MY EARLIER RESPONSE!) an intelligent and thoughtful person would be led to ask why.  Could it possibly be that Walmart doesn't pay a living wage to the majority of its employees?!  For the life of me, I cannot fathom what is so "appalling" or "illogical" about the question.  </span></p><p><span>Moreover, it turns out that Walmart itself relies on food stamps to continue its business model and profit expectations.  http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-11-14/why-walmart-really-needs-food-stamps  </span></p><p><span>Sooooo...... that intelligent and thoughtful person might ask how much taxpayers "owe" the rich Waltons when the vast majority of profits go into the already well-lined pockets---of Walmart owners and executives.</span></p><p><span></span><span>You persist in asking questions which have already been answered several times over.  I doubt that my words will be heeded and it's just not worth my time to engage in repetition.  Have a good day.  </span></p>

Other corporations do NOT manage to keep their employees off public assistance, individuals do.  Yea, I continue to ask questions b/c you insist this debate is about Walmart and low wages while I (and others) see this a genuine act of kindness.  At what point is a wage a fair wage?  

 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2009
Mon, 12-09-2013 - 10:45am

I started wondering about the emphasis on "one store".  From what I can tell, the spokesman quoted in your link and others online, is of Walmart's corporate structure, often handles "sensitive" issues of image in public relations, and isn't part of the Canton, Ohio store workforce.  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/06/29/walmart-s-goodwill-tour-we-love-our-workers-and-america-too.html   http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-09-05/walmarts-charm-offensive  http://gourmet.com/food/gourmetlive/2012/062712/10-questions-for-kory-lundberg 

Was it really just one store or was it only one store which got media coverage?  Why didn't somebody from the store itself respond to the coverage?  

Jabberwocka

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2009
Mon, 12-09-2013 - 10:49am

To AM:  I did not ever accept the line that "others do it" as a satisfactory rationale for less-than-ethical behavior. Walmart became the only show in town for many smaller municipalities after it undercut mom-and pop stores, so the argument that "workers agree to the wages they receive" is a simplistic and dismissive response to a complex situation. Yes, it IS possible for intelligent people to have disparate views but intelligent people use facts and logic to make their cases--and I have tried to do that. If you don't like my style, please feel free to ignore me. I won't shrivel up and die!

Jabberwocka

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2009
Mon, 12-09-2013 - 10:51am

To PSS: Do show me where I have disparaged individuals who chose to help others, regardless of their income level. Do show me where I have ever said that "X amount of money" would be a qualifying level for philanthropy. My point, made over and over again but seemingly without much attention being paid by others, is that Walmart does not pay its employees well enough to keep them, in large numbers, off the public assistance rolls; and "encouraging" those same underpaid employees, in a store sponsored campaign, to help each other out when Walmart management and ownership are rolling in dough but don't "help out" by paying a living wage, is morally bankrupt and intellectually suspect. Creating a strawman under the guise of it being what "some people" believe and then criticizing that stance is sad. Stick to facts and logic. They serve to convince much better than fabrication or innuendo.

Jabberwocka

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2009

To JBB:  I have posted links which show that Walmart and McDonalds both have inordinately large numbers of food stamp recipients in their employee ranks.  YES, other corporations do pay their employees enough that they can avoid public assistance programs for all but catastrophic events.  Divorcing individuals from the companies for which they work makes no sense whatsoever.  

Asking what constitutes a fair wage probably does make some sense since costs of living can vary dramatically.  But food stamp recipients have to prove need:  http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/eligibility  Ergo, if a person is working full time (and there's another area of controversy since some corporations manage to JUST keep employee hours below the accepted standard so they don't have to pay benefits or overtime) and that person is on food stamps, the LOGICAL question would be why?  

Also the ratio between full time employment uppermost and lowermost salary levels would be a way to get some sense of, for lack of a better word, fairness.  J.C. Penney had the worst ratio in the S&P 500 Index top 250 as you can see by going to this site where Walmart came in at #18  http://go.bloomberg.com/multimedia/ceo-pay-ratio/  There were some eye-opening names (at least for me) in the list.  But I was also interested in seeing what the average worker pay and benefits figure was.  I don't entirely trust Bloomberg's methodology since it relied heavily on assumptions and derivative computations:  

Because most companies don't disclose average worker pay, the CEO compensation was divided by an estimate of industry-specific rank-and-file employee compensation calculated from government data. The methodologyis based on one developed by the nonprofit Economic Policy Institute for a 2012 study that focused on aggregate trends, not company-specific findings.

Workers' salaries for 2011 and 2012 were determined from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' database of average hourly pay for production and nonsupervisory employees by industry, which is based on the agency's Current Employment Statistics survey.

Those totals were increased by industry-specific multipliers reflecting workers' benefits, based on the Bureau of Economic Analysis's National Income and Products database. BEA totals for each industry's spending on wages and benefits were divided by its wages-only sums to produce the multipliers. The latest BEA figures were for 2011, so three-year average multipliers were used for 2012.

Companies' industries were determined by the proprietary Bloomberg Industry Classification System, which is based on the firms' revenue sources. Each company's BICS industry was matched with the closest corresponding sector under the North American Industry Classification System, which the government agencies use. In a handful of instances where there was no exact match, data for parent industries were used instead.

Walmart, according to Bloomberg, isn't the most egregious pay-gap offender.  I cannot explain why Walmart seems to get more than its fair share of media criticism--maybe because of its huge size and global reach.  But the gap does matter in a stable and democratic society.  When there is no healthy and substantial middle class,  a struggling lower class and and influential but small upper class, you've got all the ingredients for revolution.  

Look this all over.  Read the links.  Read up on the risk factors for income/wealth gap.  Makes for more intelligent debate.  Mouthing the talking points of ideologues is no substitute for critical thinking.  

Jabberwocka