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Possible Black Friday walkout at Walmart

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Old
11-20-2012, 08:37 PM
  #1
Ilkka Sinisalo
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Possible Black Friday walkout at Walmart

http://www.nbcnews.com/business/wal-...down-1C7154887

Background: Walmart employees are not unionized, and the company has never allowed its workers to unionize.

There have been some meager attempts at unionization or labor action, but this appears to be the most widespread organization in the company's history. Workers are upset about low wages, but the proverbial straw that may break the camel's back is Walmart's decision (along with numerous other retailers) to open stores on Thanksgiving night, which necessitates that employees come in to work around 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. This is not an optional shift - employees have been told that they need to report to work on this day, or they will be let go.

To review some information about Walmart:
-The six richest Waltons control more wealth than the poorest 100 million Americans.
-Walmart's company policy generally mandates raises of 20 to 40 cents per year for standard low-level employees (people stocking shelves, collecting carts, assisting customers, working cash registers). Many of these people start at $8-10 per hour, so these wage increases result in full-time employees remaining below the poverty level for many years.
-Walmart has been shown to come into communities offering lower wages than the local wage standard, and the overall impact is to depress the overall local wage scale.
-The average retail employee earns $21,000 per year. The average retail cashier earns $18,500 per year.
-A wage floor of $25,000 per year at large retail chains (minimum 1,000 employees) would result in a 27% raise for retail employees. (http://www.demos.org/publication/ret...and-overall-ec) This would impact an estimated 5 million Americans. More than 700,000 people would be lifted out of poverty, and another 750,000 would leave the "near poverty" classification. It is estimated that the added demand from increasing the income of these low-income workers would add at least 100,000 new jobs and nearly $5 billion in retail sales. Additionally, the resulting rise in prices would be relatively small.
-Walmart's low wages result in roughly $5 billion in federal spending due to food stamps, welfare for the working poor, health care, and free/reduced price lunches for children of Walmart employees. This does not include the considerable amount of tax incmoe that the government does not receive due to exemptions and payroll tax deductions for very low income earners.



My attitude: Walmart sucks, but Americans bear a significant level of culpability in this whole thing. If people would stop camping out or turning up at stores as early as possible to save some money on Christmas presents, the stores wouldn't open on Thanksgiving night. Stay home, shop online, whatever - stop screwing low-wage employees out of family time on one of the most important holidays of the year.

There should be government-mandated shift penalties for workers forced to work on public holidays and weekends. Here in Australia, I get time and a half on Saturdays, double pay on Sundays, 250% pay on public holidays. While I don't know if the U.S. measures should go that far, Walmart would probably think twice about opening on Thanksgiving night if they had to pay their employees $25/hour. At the very least, if they still elected to open, the employees would be nicely rewarded for their troubles.

Augmenting the income of Walmart employees through welfare payments, or reducing their expenditures through tax deductions, food stamps and free lunches, is essentially corporate welfare. The minimum wage should be raised such that all full-time employees earn a living wage.


Bottom line: Workers of the World Unite!


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11-20-2012, 08:44 PM
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Sirquacksalot
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I fully support this walkout. I've been to one Black Friday opening and it was easily one of the least enjoyable experiences of my life. I can't imagine how bad it would be working one, especially if you have to be at work at 3 pm on Thanksgiving. My sister is working (at a different store) and has to be at work at 8 pm on Thanksgiving. Since I live hundreds of miles away I barely get to see my family as it is, now she is missing Thanksgiving (she also lives quite far away from our parents) so she can sleep all morning and afternoon before starting an eight hour shift with thousands of irritated customers clamoring for gifts.

It sucks.

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11-20-2012, 08:45 PM
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Kurtosis
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Good for them. Walmart is a scourge on small businesses everywhere. Notice how republicans champion small buisnesses, but never speak up on the damage corporations like Walmart do?

Fact is politicians have been stacking the deck against the common worker for years; it's events like these that instill a morsel of faith in me that there is something still worth fighting for in this country economically.

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11-20-2012, 08:52 PM
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And Black Friday itself should be an entire separate thread in my estimation. It's an abomination and represents consumerism at its level worst.

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11-20-2012, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilkka Sinisalo View Post
There should be government-mandated shift penalties for workers forced to work on public holidays and weekends. Here in Australia, I get time and a half on Saturdays, double pay on Sundays, 250% pay on public holidays. While I don't know if the U.S. measures should go that far, Walmart would probably think twice about opening on Thanksgiving night if they had to pay their employees $25/hour. At the very least, if they still elected to open, the employees would be nicely rewarded for their troubles.
Is this throughout the US? In Canada labour law is the jurisdiction of the federal and provincal governments (but mostly a provincal matter). If I work a public holiday in British Columbia (which I don't), I get time and a half plus another day off with pay. How does this go in the US?

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11-20-2012, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by finchster View Post
Is this throughout the US? In Canada labour law is the jurisdiction of the federal and provincal governments (but mostly a provincal matter). If I work a public holiday in British Columbia (which I don't), I get time and a half plus another day off with pay. How does this go in the US?
No such rule(s) that I am aware of, although I work in an industry where no such rule would be necessary.

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11-20-2012, 08:57 PM
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Their prices aren't even that good.

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11-20-2012, 08:58 PM
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Ilkka Sinisalo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by finchster View Post
Is this throughout the US? In Canada labour law is the jurisdiction of the federal and provincal governments (but mostly a provincal matter). If I work a public holiday in British Columbia (which I don't), I get time and a half plus another day off with pay. How does this go in the US?
The last company I worked for in the U.S. paid nothing extra for weekends and time and a half on public holidays. I don't believe there is any mandate, nationwide or even statewide (that I'm aware of, anyway), that employees have to be paid extra for working weekends or public holidays.

That is another benefit provided by my employer (Australian government) - I get an extra week of paid leave each year for being a shift worker and working weekends/public holidays. 4 weeks paid leave per year is the minimum; I get 5.

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11-20-2012, 09:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilkka Sinisalo View Post
The last company I worked for in the U.S. paid nothing extra for weekends and time and a half on public holidays. I don't believe there is any mandate, nationwide or even statewide (that I'm aware of, anyway), that employees have to be paid extra for working weekends or public holidays.

That is another benefit provided by my employer (Australian government) - I get an extra week of paid leave each year for being a shift worker and working weekends/public holidays. 4 weeks paid leave per year is the minimum; I get 5.
Could you imagine the absolute outrage and handwringing from all of the puppets and mouthpieces of the lobbyists (i.e. the politicians) if they tried to institute such regulations? I imagine they would claim it to be the end of business as we know it and the start of a death spiral into oblivion.

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11-20-2012, 09:03 PM
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They should find new jobs if they don't want to work holidays. It's no secret Walmart is open during these times. People know that when they apply. It's not complicated.

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11-20-2012, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by TesseracT View Post
They should find new jobs if they don't want to work holidays. It's no secret Walmart is open during these times. People know that when they apply. It's not complicated.
I think you are missing the bigger picture.

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11-20-2012, 09:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TesseracT View Post
They should find new jobs if they don't want to work holidays. It's no secret Walmart is open during these times. People know that when they apply. It's not complicated.
Or they could strike.

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11-20-2012, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TesseracT View Post
They should find new jobs if they don't want to work holidays. It's no secret Walmart is open during these times. People know that when they apply. It's not complicated.
In some areas of rural America Walmart might be the only place hiring.

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11-20-2012, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
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I think you are missing the bigger picture.
There is no bigger picture. If you don't want a crappy wage and work holidays, don't apply to Walmart.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KesselBuiltMyHotrod View Post
Or they could strike.
And hopefully be replaced by someone who is currently unemployed.

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11-20-2012, 09:12 PM
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There is certainly a bigger picture. If you can't see it you are willfully ignoring it.

I mean did you even read the OP?

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11-20-2012, 09:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by finchster View Post
Is this throughout the US? In Canada labour law is the jurisdiction of the federal and provincal governments (but mostly a provincal matter). If I work a public holiday in British Columbia (which I don't), I get time and a half plus another day off with pay. How does this go in the US?
The company I work for pays the union employees who are forced to work either double time and half or regular pay plus get extra vacation day.

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11-20-2012, 09:32 PM
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I have no problem with the walkout as long as they are not in violation of contract, and that no worker is forced to take part in the walkout.

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11-20-2012, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Kurtosis View Post
There is certainly a bigger picture. If you can't see it you are willfully ignoring it.

I mean did you even read the OP?
Indeed I did read it. If you're talking about the demos.org link - it was an interesting read but that's about it. These companies aren't going to increase wages from the goodness of their hearts. Government intervention would only lead to them hiring less. Passing the increase in wages onto consumers is not an option in the eyes of these large retailers.

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11-20-2012, 09:46 PM
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Ilkka Sinisalo
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Government intervention would only lead to them hiring less.
Or to the uber-wealthy upper management and corporate ownership will just not be pocketing monstrous profits. The profit for just the third quarter of 2012 was $3.63 billion. Not revenue - profit. That is a lot of money.

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11-20-2012, 09:50 PM
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Or to the uber-wealthy upper management and corporate ownership will just not be pocketing monstrous profits. The profit for just the third quarter of 2012 was $3.63 billion. Not revenue - profit. That is a lot of money.
Class warfare!

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11-20-2012, 09:52 PM
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Ilkka Sinisalo
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And that's not even the end of the story. A lot of the profit lost from paying higher wages to the grunts would be made up by increased demand since the grunts now have more money in their pockets, which they're inevitably going to reinvest at stores that cater to shoppers on a tight budget (i.e., people who work at Walmart).

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11-20-2012, 09:55 PM
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Or to the uber-wealthy upper management and corporate ownership will just not be pocketing monstrous profits. The profit for just the third quarter of 2012 was $3.63 billion. Not revenue - profit. That is a lot of money.
That would be nice. Unfortunately they're a shi*ty company.

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11-20-2012, 09:59 PM
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Weyburn, Saskatchewan for the win! Go guys.

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11-20-2012, 09:59 PM
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And Black Friday itself should be an entire separate thread in my estimation. It's an abomination and represents consumerism at its level worst.
When that poor employee got trampled to death at that Wal-Mart 4 years ago on Black Friday (with customers stepping over his dying body to get at the "great sales"), I thought the media attention from that might help bring about enough public outrage to put a stop to that garbage. Instead, it just seems to have gotten worse and drawn more people to the stores to see what the deals are that would cause people to do that. It's sickening, and the top guns at Wal-Mart just get richer and richer from it. But not enough to spend money on ample security or protection for their employees.

Of all the possible ways to die, being trampled and suffocated by a herd of fat women in sweatpants would be one of the worst.

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11-20-2012, 09:59 PM
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Ilkka Sinisalo
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That would be nice. Unfortunately they're a shi*ty company.
What does this even mean? You've really made some mouth-breather statements in this thread, that's for sure.

The Walmart leadership are jerks, but they're jerks who have profited wildly and built the largest retailer in the world. If there is money to be made by hiring, they will hire. It's not like every Walmart store has dozens of people wandering around doing nothing. They hire enough people to function and present shoppers with a not-completely-horrific experience. If they just lay off loads of employees, the shelves won't be stocked, customers won't be assisted, checkout lines will become long, and people will stop shopping at Walmart because it's not worth the hassle. The idea that they'll just dump craploads of employees to keep payroll constant is utter nonsense.

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