Wal-Mart Asks Workers To Donate Food To Its Needy Employees

Wal-Mart logic: instead of paying workers a living wage, we can encourage low-wage workers to donate to less well-off workers.

Photo Credit: Northfoto / Shutterstock.com

Wal-Mart doesn’t pay its employees enough of a wage so that they can afford to buy quality food for Thanksgiving.  So one store in Cleveland had a novel idea: launch a food drive for its own employees. It’s targeted at the low-wage workers who could afford to donate food to other, even more low-wage workers.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer first reported on the story, and now it’s being picked up by a number of outlets, including Business Insider.  “Please Donate Food Items Here, so Associates in Need Can Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner,” read a sign advertising the drive affixed to a tablecloth.

"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,” Norma Mills, who lives near the Wal-Mart in Cleveland, told the Plain Dealer. Some workers at Ohio Wal-Marts went on strike today.

Wal-Mart has defended the food drive as way of helping their employees.  “This is part of the company's culture to rally around associates and take care of them when they face extreme hardships,” said a company spokesperson.

Supporters of Wal-Mart workers who have been periodically striking say it’s proof of the need for their movement.  Some Wal-Mart workers have joined the growing low-wage worker movement for better wages and benefits.  The majority of workers at the corporation earn less than $25,000 a year.

While some workers said they appreciated the food drive, others had a different take. One employee named Scott Stringer said he plans to go on strike. He makes only $9.30 an hour.

The food drive “captures Walmart right there,” Cornell’s Kate Bronfenbrenner told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “Walmart is setting up bins because its employees don't make enough to feed themselves and their families.”

 

Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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