I make it a personal policy never to walk into any store owned, operated or named Wal-Mart. I believe them to be as close as anything is to the devil incarnate on this planet.
Before you claim that such a statement is too harsh, too reactionary or too ridiculous, I will testify to having seen Wal-Mart in action as a predatory-pricing business, not at all interested in free enterprise and seeking to be the one and only retailer in the United States.
Wal-Mart’s ultimate goal is to be the last entity standing, regardless of its overall effect on the economy, people’s lives and the world trade situation. The firm that once proudly announced its American ties and American product is almost single-handedly responsible for making China a major world manufacturing power.
So now it is disclosed in the October 26 issue of the New York Times that an internal memo sent to board members of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. proposes several ways to reduce health care and benefits costs without doing any further harm to the company’s slightly tarnished reputation, outside of NASCAR families and the lower middle class.
Among the suggestions? Hire more part-time workers and “discourage unhealthy people from seeking jobs.”
The Times said the draft memo to Wal-Mart’s board was obtained from Wal-Mart Watch, a pressure group allied with labor unions that says Wal-Mart’s pay and benefits are too low.
Wait, there’s more! According to the Times, Susan Chambers, Wal-Mart’s executive vice president for benefits, is also recommending reducing 401(k) pension contributions and wooing younger, and presumably healthier, workers by offering education benefits.
To discourage “unhealthy” job applicants, Chambers is suggesting that Wal-Mart arrange for “all jobs to include some physical activity (e.g., all cashiers do some cart-gathering).” Interesting since no one does that job now and you cannot find a check-out line without 5-6 people waiting.
Another brilliant idea is to put health clinics in Wal-Mart stores, to reduce expensive employee visits to emergency rooms.
Chambers expressed concern that workers with seven years’ seniority make more than those workers with one year’s experience, but aren’t any more productive.
It has been already established that Wal-Mart is one of the lowest paying companies and is horribly tight about offering health care benefits, with employees forced to wait for TWO year’s worth of service before being offered anything.
And here’s the REAL kicker – in the memo, Chambers admits that 46 percent of the children of Wal-Mart’s 1.33 million United States employees are uninsured OR on Medicaid. Less than 45 percent of Wal-Mart’s workforce has health care coverage. That’s a wonderful testimony, isn’t it?
While Wal-Mart is getting squeezed, along with every other American business AND worker, it is still making a fortune. While it cost Wal-Mart $4.2 billion last year in benefit costs, up from $2.8 billion three years earlier, in that same time period, Wal-Mart earned $10.5 billion on sales of $285 billion.
In an interview, Chambers said she was not focusing on cutting costs, but on “serving employees better by giving them more choices on their benefits.” Yeah, take it or leave it, you scum!
The memo, by the way, is on the NYT Web site.
We have long since stopped being a nation that engaged in free enterprise. The better mouse trap theory doesn’t work in the U.S. anymore. The Republican-controlled government spends money like a drunken sailor at a strip club, it allows fraud to run rampant and encourages massive campaign donations, from folks like Wal-Mart, to protect them from us, the average citizen who is struggling to make ends meet.
Screw Wal-Mart! Stop shopping there! And let those people know why! Go without instead of feeding this monster.
Bring back competition to American retail business.