Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:November 18th, 2012 12:51 EST
Will the Protests of Walmart On Thanksgiving, By Hourly-Wage Employees, Be Widespread?

Will the Protests of Walmart On Thanksgiving, By Hourly-Wage Employees, Be Widespread?

By John G. Kays

How big is this? Is it widespread? What will be the effects if it does happen? I mean, the protests of apparent unfair treatment of Walmart hourly-wage employees by senior management. Will the strikes start as early as Thursday (Thanksgiving Day), since Walmart is slated to be open for business that day? How will the protests be organized? What cities and what stores (hearing, 1,000) will experience the protests? And most important of all, will these protests have any profound impact (whatsoever) on Walmart`s loyal customers?

A follow-up question to this, is do Walmart customers even know what is going on with workers at Walmart (across the nation)? Furthermore, do they even care, or on the contrary, are they only concerned about low prices, nothing else? Well, sorry to bring you down, but I don`t know the answer to any of these pertinent questions. I suppose we`ll know a lot more by later in the week. I will say, however, I`m all over this story, and am reading everything I can on the internet.

The issues involved here appear to rest right at the center of what this country is all about. If what I`m reading is correct, then Walmart has been getting away with a host of abuses, towards their employees, for a very long time. Well, not to be too prejudicial, but it looks as if the Huffington Post is all over this Anti-Walmart story. Especially, Alice Hines has been posting some excellent articles over the past few months. The latest one, which really threw me for a loop, is: Walmart`s Internal Compensation Documents Reveal Systematic Limit On Advancement.

No wonder so many people are on food stamps! You can`t make it on most Walmart wages, except for the fractional percentage of higher management salaries. But as the article points out, the odds of rising through the ranks, from the bottom to the top, are stacked against the employee. I`ll state it simply, as little or no social mobility! Those at the top have rigged the system with bobbie-traps to ensnare those at the bottom. This isn`t just some vapid Marxist rhetoric, it`s actually happening!

What tricks do they pull? Well, they let you move up a little, until you reach what they perceive as a cap, then they find some way to eliminate you. One store manager, who`s now retired, was interviewed by the Huffington Post, and he seemed to know all the tricks. Yea, they`ll let you get these incremental wage gains, based on your work performance, but then they`ll replace you with a lower-wage worker, who there seems to be an infinite pool of. I was looking around for the retired store manager`s name, but couldn`t find it. I wonder why that is?

`Well stupid,` I said to myself, most Walmart employees are deadly afraid of retaliation by management. There`s a definite atmosphere of fear that permeates out from these employees, who are ever so gradually getting up the courage to speak out against Walmart for these abuses, this exploitation of their rights as workers. The growing courage is partially due to union-backed groups, such as OUR Walmart or Making Change at Wal-Mart. *(Interesting; not union per se, but union-backed?)

A half a million hourly associates (out of one million associates) at Walmart earn less than $10 an hour. In running the figures myself, that would mean, if an associate earned $10 an hour and worked 40 hours per week, he or she will make $400 per week. Putting a calculator to that, it comes to a paltry sum of $19,200 per year! 

That`s poverty wages by anybody`s measure (remember, this is before taxes and health insurance deductions, if the employee even has any). There`s a lot on the table, so we`ll keep our eyes peeled as Wednesday leads into what may become a troubling Thanksgiving holiday for the giant-est of retailer.

Subscribe to theSOP's Business feed.Subscribe to theSOP's Business audio podcast.
Subscribe to John G. Kays feed.Subscribe to theSOP's John G. Kays audio podcast.