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PSN on October 5, 2006 - 10:12am
Let no one tell you that the problem America faces is that our workers are treated to well. In addition to having the National Labor Relations Board basically sign on to a union-busting agenda, the nation's largest private sector employer offers more bad news for workers.
Just a week after Wake-Up Wal-Mart revealed that the retail giant was cutting health care plans, the same organization has now outed Wal-Mart's new plans to increase the number of its employees that are part-time, while capping wages of all workers.
The New York Times story on these moves quote a number of current Wal-Mart workers across the country also citing a number of recent and specific abuses: demands to be willing to work any time of the 24-hour-day on short notice (nearly impossible for parents with small children) and removal of stools for elderly or disabled cashiers (making a full work day nearly impossible).
At the end of the day, the result of the policies appears quite clear: force long-time workers out. Keep wages even lower. Promote high turnaround. Pay less in benefits.
The most troublesome element is that Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in America. As noted by the Times, their revenues total more than the next five largest retail operations combined. They set the direction for American employment practices and the direction they are setting is less stability and fewer rewards, lives where the wage you make when you're 25 is the same that you'll make when you're 60.
Of course, there's a bright side: taxpayers are subsidizing the whole operation.