There was a lot of talk before Black Friday, or Grey Thursday about Walmart workers walking out in protest. In the end, some of them did, but with so few actually having the courage to stand up to the retail giant, USA Today reported that the strikes had little, or no impact, on the bottom line.
Companies like Walmart are the reason why blue-collar workers can’t get a leg up. They have policies that keep most at part-time levels to avoid increased health care costs, or they have management that allegedly uses retaliatory measures if “the help” gets out of hand.
Prior to the biggest shopping day of the year, many thought the workers were striking because they had to come to work on Thanksgiving. A tasteless cartoon was even being passed around on Facebook, comparing the complaining Walmart employee with soldiers having to work Thanksgiving in Afghanistan. The problem with the comparison is that Walmart workers are not soldiers, they have not taken the pledge to protect and serve, but they are U.S. citizens who deserve way better than the grossly-rich retail giant that appears to have the legal authority to get away with anything.
Walmart lawyers requested that there be an injunction against the planned protests. Some speculate it was just a bullying tactic to prevent workers from walking off the job. Walmart has become quite good at bullying.
Walmart employees are not centering complaints on having to work extra hours on Thanksgiving. The complaints center around low salaries, planned cuts to health care, and most of all, the fact that many say management retaliates if employees complain about hours, something that is against the law.
While Walmart executives deny any wrongdoing, the complaints are continuing to mount, making one think there is something to all these claims.
In a USA Today report, one Walmart worker talked of having $2 in his pocket, wondering if he should buy lunch that day, or save it until next week to buy a better lunch then.
Some of us talk about how expensive a $10 to $15 lunch is, yet, there are employees of one of the richest companies in the United States thinking about going without lunch because he only has $2.
While I am not a fan of unions, it’s companies like Walmart that has made them a necessity. While Walmart refused to recognize a union, some employees are trying to stand up to the powerful company. However, until more take to the picket lines, little will be done.
In the end, if the bottom line isn’t hurting, and the courts continue to allow Walmart to operate as they have, nothing will change.
These stories of how Walmart treats its employees are bothersome because I have read the history of how the retail giant became successful.
Popular business writer Jim Collins wrote about Walmart in both “Built to Last” and “Good to Great.”
While he attributed the company’s success to its ability to evolve with the times, Collins also focused a lot on foundation. Sam Walton wanted a local store that celebrated the American way, and he rewarded his employees for hard work and dedication.
Nowhere in the history of Walmart’s early days does it say Walton retaliated against his employees, nor is there any indication that he would have ever accepted the current form of doing business.
We are in slow economic times, Walmart is seen as a cheap place to buy food, clothes and household supplies, but at the end of the day, it does cost our nation.