The following content was contributed by our New Jersey State AFL-CIO Trustees:
As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, a Walmart store in Ohio decided that the best way to show its appreciation for their employees was to hold a food drive for them. A number of bins were placed out with signs asking customers to donate to employees so that they could enjoy Thanksgiving dinner. It is outrageous that one of the world’s most profitable corporations – which made $15.7 billion in profits last year alone – is paying their workers so little that they are unable to provide their families with a decent Thanksgiving meal.
This is not an isolated problem. In fact, Walmart has a payroll deduction that allows workers to donate to their colleagues in need throughout the year. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “workers can get up to $1,500 from co-worker donations to address emergencies like homelessness, serious medical problems and major car repairs.” While this sounds like a generous arrangement, having a job in itself should provide workers with enough economic security to weather most of life’s ups and downs.
It is also not surprising that Walmart would expect the community and employees to pay for its labor costs. This is a company that has high-jacked our nation’s welfare system and figured out that they can pay workers less by forcing them to rely on food stamps and other public assistance programs. It’s also hard to believe that Walmart is concerned with their workers’ Thanksgiving holiday since employees will be expected to report to work for Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is a family holiday not a corporate holiday. Therefore, we ask that you join with your friends and family to keep it that way by shopping at union grocers that treat their workers with respect and dignity.