The national conversation about employee benefits and fair compensation has turned into an argument. The minimum wage in the United States has not kept pace with our rising cost of living, nor has it kept pace with the increasing profits reported by many large corporations.
As far as benefits, many employers have long taken measures to keep from having to provide healthcare or other perks to their workers, usually keeping hours below the threshold that would legally require them to invest in their employees.
Walmart is not the only perpetrator of this injustice, it is certainly a widespread problem and many companies and corporations are complicit in such policies. But I use Walmart in my example, as the biggest retailer in the world, they make themselves an easy target.
I can’t believe how many middle class Americans will jump to the defense of these corporations, shouting down the employees asking for a living wage and benefits, they’re just looking for a ‘hand-out’.
“Its not supposed to be a career blah blah…, teenagers can do it blah blah blah…”
If this is you, it might be high time you turned off Fox News, stepped outside your house and saw that most the people working retail or fast food these days are adults. In their twenties through their seventies. And it’s not that they are unskilled, it is the fact that the jobs have left this country. Look at anything you buy at Walmart and tell me if you ever see a ‘Made in the USA’ sticker on it.
These companies are reporting billions in profit every year, some of them tens of billions, Record numbers. But the workers who are often the face of the business, assisting customers and collecting the money; paying them a living wage would be a ‘hand-out’.
Employees are paid as little as legally possible. To make things right, some reatilers assist and instruct their employees on applying for SNAP, food stamps, public assistance, whatever is available to make up for the fact that the employees cannot live on what they earn. Fifty two percent of Americans who have a family member working in fast food receive food stamps and other government assistance.Why the hell doesn’t that piss you off?
Hours are kept just under the threshold for mandatory benefits, such as health care. If one of these employees needs medical assistance or goes to the hospital, and doesn’t have insurance and can’t pay; who do you think foots that bill? You do, and I do. It means higher medical costs and higher insurance premiums and sometimes higher taxes as the Hospital, Clinic or Medical Center tries to recoup that loss. Why the hell doesn’t that make you blood-spitting furious?
I’m not knocking anyone attempting to run a business and get rich, but these corporate entities take every step they can to pay for the minimum upkeep, as little as possible in taxes, and pay the workers the lowest legal wage; and we get stuck paying for it, we’re expected to make up the difference.
We are paying for greed. We are paying Corporate America to bend us over and we smile as we’re violated. We are paying them to piss on America; our systems, our values, and our citizens. You’d call it a hand-out to pay an employee enough to survive, but you don’t mind throwing your legs in the air and spreading when the poor, little Multi-national needs you to pay for its business practices. If you are not already brain-dead, or don’t enjoy your corporate intrusion served up cold, dry and abrasive, Why in the hell aren’t you outraged?
Oh, but look at the low, low prices..
*with acknowledgements to Trey Parker and Matt Stone who named a South Park episode ‘Something Walmart This Way Comes’
© Robert E McWhorter