Wal-Mart has weathered repeated controversies regarding the treatment of its employees. Recently Wal-Mart has cut so many employees that they cannot keep their stores organized or their shelves completely stocked. Nationally over the past five years, the Wal-Mart corporation nationwide has dropped 120,000 employees, even as they have opened 500 new stores.
Wal-Mart is attempting to address the consequences of understaffing its stores by promoting 35,000 part-time workers to full time and adding another 35,000 temporary, part-time workers to its payroll.
Most of Wal-Mart’s full time employees rely on public benefits such as food stamps and Medicaid to survive, since even full time employment does not constitute a living wage. Wal-Mart’s explains that its low paid labor force keeps their products’ prices down. By contrast, Wal-Mart’s main competitor, Costco, pays its employees an average wage of $21.96 per hour–or 40 percent higher than Wal-Mart’s average pay. Recent corporate media reports have failed to cover Wal-Mart employees’ protests over lack of medical coverage.
Aviva Shen, “Wal-Mart Cut Employee Hours So Drastically They Can’t Even Keep Shelves Stocked, Losing Customers,” AlterNet, September 24, 2013, http://www.alternet.org/walmart-cut-employee-hours-so-drastically-they-cant-keep-shelves-stocked-losing-customers
Student Researchers: Kelley Blake, Alexandria Douglas, Ben Lattig, Brandon Medina, Elania Mendoza and Kevin Neal. (Santa Rosa Junior College)
Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman (Santa Rosa Junior College)