Sign up for email alerts, from breaking news to weekly commentary:
Walmart's idea of Thanksgiving charity
Who says Walmart is not big hearted?
Just look at the chain's outlet in Canton, Ohio, where management has set up bins for food donations, asking people to give generously to the poor, who otherwise will not have a Thanksgiving dinner. But the bins are not for customers – they're tucked back in the employees-only area. Walmart's Thanksgiving food drive is for its own employees, beseeching low-wage workers to donate to even lower-wage workers who can't afford a family dinner on this national day of thanks.
Yes, this corporate colossus, with an annual income greater than 140 countries, wants its poorly-paid employees to buy food for fellow employees whose paychecks leave them in deep poverty. More astonishing is the corporation's insipid, self-congratulatory insistence that the employee food drive demonstrates its deep ethical commitment to the welfare of all Walmart "associates" (as it grandiosely calls its beleaguered workers). A spokesman for the giant asserted that "This is part of the company's culture to rally around associates and take care of them."
But, of course, "the company" is not taking care of them at all. It won't pay a living wage, won't provide decent health care or other needed benefits, won't allow workers to organize so they can have their own voice – and then abandons them to beg for scraps if they want to share in Thanksgiving with other Americans.
This is obscene, a moral outrage. Three Waltons – Alice, Robson, and Jim – are heirs to the Walmart fortune and are sitting on more than $33 billion apiece, profiting on the low wages the corporation pays. Oughtn't they at least pony up a pittance from their prodigious inheritance for a few turkey-and-sweet-potato dinners on Thanksgiving? To push for a modicum of fairness, contact www.ForRespect.org.
"Is Walmart's request of associates to help provide Thanksgiving dinner for co-workers proof of low wages?" www.cleveland.com, November 18, 2013.
"Wal-Mart Asks Workers To Donate Food To Its Needy Employees," www.alternet.org, November 18, 2013.
"Gross National Income (most recent) by country," www.nationmaster.com, November 2013.