Update: The D.C. Council approved the ‘living wage’ bill despite of Walmart’s threats! But seriously, this post is still worth reading, the fight is not over. “Walmart Free August!”
What exactly would need to happen before people actually started boycotting Walmart? Do we need a few Walmart executives to kick down your door, barge in, slap around your wife and kids and take a shit on your floor? Would that be enough? Because, you know, in the grand scheme of things what this company is doing to America/Americans is far worse than even that fucked up scenario.
The bill that has Walmart execs up in arms is this, “The D.C. Council bill would require retailers with corporate sales of $1 billion or more and operating in spaces 75,000 square feet or larger to pay their employees no less than $12.50 an hour. The city’s minimum wage is $8.25.”
Sounds fair right? If you’re selling $1 billion worth of anything you can be sure that there are quite a few employees busting their asses to make it happen. It’s only equitable to share the wealth right? Apparently not.
A team of Wal-Mart officials and lobbyists, including a high-level executive from the mega-retailer’s Arkansas headquarters, walked the halls of the John A. Wilson Building on Tuesday afternoon, delivering the news to D.C. Council members.
The world’s largest retailer delivered an ultimatum to District lawmakers Tuesday, telling them less than 24 hours before a decisive vote that at least three planned Walmarts will not open in the city if a super-minimum-wage proposal becomes law.
Lawmakers’ immediate response, since they are in fact representatives of the people of the District of Columbia and not Walmart itself (man, that was hard to type with a straight face) should have been, “good riddance, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.”
Let’s show Walmart’s bullying execs and lobbyists just how powerful the American people can be and how sick and tired we are of subsidizing billionaire executives.
First let’s just try and wrap our heads around exactly how much money Walmart rakes in every year.
Walmart, one of the richest corporations in the world, refuses to pay its employees a livable wage or provide any form of decent healthcare, increasing reliance on government assistance, and the need for a social safety net.
At over $446 billion per year, Walmart is the third highest revenue grossing corporation in the world. Walmart earns over $15 billion per year in pure profit and pays its executives handsomely. In 2011, Walmart CEO Mike Duke – already a millionaire a dozen times over – received an $18.1 million compensation package. The Walton family controlling over 48 percent of the corporation through stock ownership does even better. Together, members of the Walton family are worth in excess of $102 billion –which makes them one of the richest families in the world.
What does Walmart do with all of those profits? They certainly don’t concern themselves with spreading the wealth and paying their workers a living wage…or giving them basic healthcare coverage.
- Starting in 2012 Walmart changed its policy so that new employees that worked less than 30 hours a week would not be eligible for company health insurance. Then actively hired people and scheduled them for 30 hours a week or less. This shifted the burden for health insurance needs straight onto Medicaid (a.k.a. you, the taxpayers).
- Luckily people that were already working there were grandfathered in and safe from that sort of nonsense. Right? Wrong, Walmart reserved the right to eliminate health care coverage for certain workers if their average workweek dips below 30 hours — in other words the managers now had their marching orders. Cut as many employees hours to under 30 as possible.
- Walmart fails to provide a livable wage and decent healthcare benefits, costing U.S. taxpayers an annual average of $1.02 billion in healthcare costs. That’s JUST healthcare costs mind you.
- Factor in the amount of food stamps and other government subsidies Walmart employees need to simply survive the that number almost triples. Wal-Mart’s poverty wages force employees to rely on $2.66 billion in government help every year, or about $420,000 per store. As many as 80 percent of workers in Wal-Mart stores use food stamps.
- Taxpayer dollars have helped individual stores and distribution centers with everything from free or cut-price land to general grants. One example: in Sharon Springs, N.Y., a distribution center made a deal with an industrial development agency for the agency to hold the legal title to the facility so the corporation could evade property taxes. Good Jobs First estimates that Wal-Mart will save about $46 million over the life of this one agreement.
That’s just a quick list that took about five minutes of Googling to compile. While Walmart is “saving” you a few cents on a giant box of Raisin Bran they’re stealing literally billions of our taxpayer dollars to subsidize basically their entire business.
It could just take one spark, one blog post to make something like this happen. Spread the word, blog about this, steal this entire article and repost it if you’d like. There is absolutely no reason that we cannot join forces and within a month bring Walmart to its knees. Band together, shame your neighbors who are still shopping there if you have to. This is something that is so doable. No huge demonstration, no chance of getting pepper sprayed, just a stop at a different store than Walmart.
Let’s make August “Walmart Free August”. Can we make this a thing? Could you imagine if tens of millions of people protested by simply not setting foot in a Walmart for the entire month of August? We can literally do this. Let’s spread the word.
There are only about three people that read this crappy blog so now it’s up to you, go post this on your blog or write something even better on your own. Tweet this, Facebook it. Do whatever you can to let people know how easy it would be to demonstrate the power of the American people when we put our minds to something. I know it sounds like a crazy pipe dream or that I’ve cracked my head and am having delusions of grandeur but this, if we could get it enough traction, could actually happen. And that my friends is what is so amazing about the power of the internet. The power to spread the word and coordinate something as simple and as powerful as this is a beautiful thing.