A Wal-Mart spokesman says that a recent food drive at it store in Canton, Ohio — in which employees donated food to their co-workers — is a sign that teammates at the store look out for each other. Labor organizers says it’s an indication that Wal-Mart doesn’t pay its workers a living wage. Who’s right?
(Photo via Cleveland.com)
“It is for associates who have had some hardships come up,” says Kory Lundberg, a Wal-Mart spokesman. “Maybe their spouse lost a job. This is part of the company’s culture to rally around associates and take care of them when they face extreme hardships.”
Norma Mills, who lives in Canton and organizer with Stand Up for Ohio, tells The Cleveland Plain Dealer that the food drive infuriated her.
“Then I went through the emotion of compassion for the employees, working for the largest food chain in America, making low wages, and who can’t afford to provide their families with a good Thanksgiving holiday,” says Mills. “That Wal-Mart would have the audacity to ask low-wage workers to donate food to other low-wage workers — to me, it is a moral outrage.”
Cashiers at Wal-Mart make between $7.23 and $11.42 an hour, nationwide. It’s not difficult to imagine that a worker on the lower end of that scale might not be able to afford Thanksgiving dinner, especially if they’re unable to get full-time hours.
Whatever the reason behind those orange and purple buckets, one thing’s for sure: it’s exactly the sort of publicity Wal-Mart doesn’t need.
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Wal-Mart food drive: proof of co-worker compassion, or sign that workers are being underpaid? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.