Tag Archives: walmart

We are changing the world.

Target, another one of the country’s largest retailers, just followed Walmart’s lead by raising wages to $10 an hour. According to Reuters:

“Target Corp has started raising employee wages to a minimum of $10 an hour, its second hike in a year, pressured by a competitive job market and labor groups calling for higher wages at retail chains, sources said.  …The $1-per-hour raise marks the second time Target has followed Wal-Mart Stores Inc in raising base wages.”

Thanks to all of us, hundreds of thousands of Target workers will now have more money in their pockets to take care of their families.

We showed that we could move the largest company in the world to raise wages when no one else thought we could. It showed that anything is possible if we stand together and we’ll keep standing up until ALL associates receive a REAL raise and $15 an hour with full-time schedules.

Since we started standing up through OUR Walmart and joined our efforts with other organizations like the Fight for $15, millions of workers have received raises and are making more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. These incredible raises would not have happened without us. When we change Walmart, other retailers follow and we improve the lives of workers everywhere across the country.

This is why I will always stand up with the thousands of other associates fighting to change Walmart.

Let’s spread the word about the Target victory and encourage others to join the fight. Share this graphic now.

In Love & Solidarity,
Cynthia Murray
OUR Walmart co-founder
Laurel, MD

Made in America? 

Just published a blog on Made in U.S.A. where I told you “to stay tuned for more on this subject”. OK, the next installment is spelled “W A L M A R T”.

Today Walmart is hosting a summit on US manufacturing in Denver. Can you help me uncover the truth about Walmart’s made in America campaign?

With no sense of irony, Walmart is talking about its pledge to invest in American jobs and bring back American manufacturing. But all of Walmart’s expensive television ads can’t cover up the truth.

While Walmart claims to be investing in American made products, the truth is less than .5% of the products it sells on its website say they were made in the USA. What’s more, Walmart is America’s number 1 importer and its trade with China is estimated to have cost America 200,000 jobs between 2001-2006 alone. (Read more here.)

From someone who works at Walmart, shecan’t help but wonders if Walmart really cares about improving US jobs, why doesn’t it start right now by increasing wages for its 1.3 million store workers like her? Most of them are living on the brink as they struggle to care for their families on Walmart’s low wages.

Can you take a look at the image below and then share it with your friends on social media? That way we can let everyone who is attending Walmart’s summit know that Walmart isn’t investing in American jobs, it’s just investing in good PR.

Home Delivery: Big in the News

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Amazon again! A partnership with the US Post Office to deliver seven days a week to the home. Think they will expand Amazon Fresh to NYC too. Been running it on the West Coast already. Amazon is the attention getter, but there is more to home delivery than just Amazon. Consumers have been receiving products delivered to the home since the advent of the merchant class.

It’s not just Post Office, UPS and FedEx in this business. Some of the real deals in the home delivery market: Corey, RDI Logistics, and OnTrac, have been in the business a long time. OnTrac is getting famous working for Amazon.

What about those of us who find “home delivery” a real pain? I live in a gated community with no concierge or doorbell. Nothing more annoying to find a “sorry we missed you” note in your mailbox. FedEx is the worst to deal with: even if they have my phone, they just leave a note and expect you to travel to an inconveniently located distribution center. I fight them every time and make them re-deliver and use the phone. A lot of Europe has a better (for me) alternative: Kiala . Their motto is “My parcel, when and where it suits me”. In my case, they deliver to a newsstand in my area and send me a text message when my package arrives.

Black Friday!  When Will it get over with? Millions of customers with credit and no money will descend on shopping malls and major retailers in pursuit of discounted “tchotchkes”. Then all the stores are now open “early” (like on Thanksgiving). It’s just another WalMart Day! Too bad we can’t just bring Thanksgiving back.

“The Real Walmart”?!? Six Big Fibs in Walmart’s New Ad Campaign

ImagePicked this up from the Daily Kos, too good not to see.

Walmart is good: good for its employees, its customers, its suppliers, and even for the environment, says the company’s new ad campaign and website, dubbed “The Real Walmart” as a retort to the company’s critics.

But alas, the facts say otherwise. On inspection, each of the major claims in the campaign turns out to be “The Fake Walmart.”  Let’s examine each of these glowing pronouncements, along with the murky reality that lies behind it.
1. The Claim:  “Opportunity: That’s the Real Walmart!” exults one of the ads. “Over 75 percent of store management started as hourly associates.”

The Reality:  An internal Walmart document just leaked to the press this week reveals that:

  • Hourly “associates” at Walmart start at or near the minimum wage. Performance-based pay increases can result in “promotions” in pay and title.  But even the very highest level of performance will net you an annual raise of just $.60 per hour, capped for each job title. Last year, only 18 percent of hourly workers received any pay raise at all.  If an employee is so industrious as to rise to the management level of, say, “check out supervisor,” her pay will be $1.70 more than that of the lowest paid employee.
  • And getting from the hourly wage ghetto to a salaried position is, as the Magic 8 Ball likes to say, “Not likely.”  In a typical Walmart store, there may be 200 employees and only a handful of salaried managers. Getting one of those few positions is “more like a lottery than a reliable path.”

2. The Claim:  “When our store does well, I earn quarterly bonuses!”

The Reality: Those bonuses of $100 to $300, intended to make employees work harder, don’t make for a living wage.  If Walmart really wanted to improve workers’ lives, it would allow more of them to work full time, and thus have access to health insurance and other benefits. Instead, the company keeps a tight lid on full-time work, thus denying benefits to about 70 percent of its store employees.

3. The Claim: “Walmart helps customers save on prescription drugs!”

The Reality: But at what cost to those same customers as taxpayers?  Walmart’s wages and benefits are so low that many of its workers have to rely on Medicaid and other social services to support their families, costing taxpayers between $900,000 and $1.75 million annually per store in the state of Wisconsin, where these costs were calculated. That’s a taxpayer tab of at least $67.5 million each year for the state of Wisconsin alone.

4. The Claim:  “President Clinton praised which company for putting solar panels on its stores?” asks a cheerful young spokesmodel of passersby in another ad. They are surprised to learn that it’s Walmart.

The Reality:  The passerby’s initial assumption — that it wouldn’t be Walmart — is well taken. In fact, despite announcing in 2005 that the company would move to having 100 percent of its power supplied by renewable sources, Walmart today receives only four percent of its energy from solar and wind power.

Why would Bill Clinton say such a thing?  Call me cynical, but it may have something to do with the fact that Walmart has been a major supporter of the Clintons since Bill’s days as governor of Arkansas.  In fact, Hillary was a member of Walmart’s Board of Directors for the six years leading up to her husband’s first presidential campaign in 1992. By 1993, tax returns showed the Clintons owned more than $100,000 worth of Walmart stock. In 2008, the company made substantial contributions to Hillary’s presidential campaign, while Bill has maintained a close personal relationship with Walmart CEO H. Lee Scott.  If Hillary runs in 2016, it will be in the post-Citizens United era of the SuperPac. These are made by billionaire contributors, and there are few billionaires as billiony as the scions of Walmart — the six Walton heirs together own as much wealth as 40 percent of the U.S. population.  The candidate who has them has the atom bomb of the SuperPac wars.

5. The Claim: “Meet real Walmart shoppers!”  Here we meet a businessman, a teacher, a carpenter, a mechanical engineer, a firefighter and an accountant, all of them redolent with middle class status, who proudly shop at Walmart. “Living better,” the tag line says, “that’s the real Walmart.”

The Reality:  Walmart’s customers are disproportionately poor, Southern and elderly.  The fact that none of these demo’s made it into Walmart’s ad about “Our Customers” means not only that Walmart is a fibber, but also that Walmart is a disser of its own “real” customers.

6. The Claim:  “We work directly with manufacturers, eliminating costly markups.”

The Reality: If by “work with,” the ad means “dictate to,” then this claim is accurate.  But again, as Charles Fishman, the business reporter who wrote The Walmart Effect asks, what is “the high cost of these low prices?” Walmart’s market power is such that many of its suppliers face a stark choice:  take dictation from Walmart, or lose half or more of their business. “To survive in the face of [Walmart’s] pricing demands, makers of everything from bras to bicycles to blue jeans have had to lay off employees and close U.S. plants in favor of outsourcing products from overseas.”

Just ask Steve Dobbins, CEO of 75-year old Carolina Mills, a company that supplies thread and yarn to textile manufacturers — half of whom supply Walmart. His company grew steadily until 2000. Then his customers, with Walmart’s gun to their heads — began a hemhorrage of offshoring in order to find the dirt cheap labor necessary to meet Walmart’s low price demands. Carolina Mills shrank from 17 factories to 7 within three years. The way Walmart “works with” its suppliers has been disastrous for American workers.

In the end, what can we learn from “The Real Walmart”?

When large corporations are criticized, they squirt PR like a cuttlefish. After all, it’s a lot cheaper to fix the image than to fix the problem. This summer, reports have emerged showing that Walmart’s pay and promotion policies are miserly, and that as a result, taxpayers get stuck with a big tab. If “greenwashing” is hiding your environmental sins with PR, and red is the color of labor, “The Real Walmart” has, in response to its critics, given us “redwashing.”