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Wal-Mart’s Increased Dependence on Temp Workers

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,

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)

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