Walmart Employees Holding Food Drive — For Walmart Employees

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Walmart has explained why it can’t pay its people more before, but the explanation for this one should be fun: A Cleveland Walmart store is having a food drive for its own employees.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer says the store has a row of orange and purple plastic bins lined up for donations. “Please donate food items so associates in need can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner,” a sign hung over them reads.

The bins are in an employee-only area, the paper says, so it’s not like they’re asking the public for a handout. Here’s the official Walmart response:

Kory Lundberg, a Walmart spokesman, said the food drive is proof that employees care about each other.

“It is for associates who have had some hardships come up,” he said. “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,” he said.

Lundberg also said the initiative was decided at the store level, not higher up. There is a company-wide program called The Associates in Critical Need Trust, which is funded by employee contributions, that gives employees grants of up to $1,500 for hardships.

Nationally, Walmart associates make an average of $12.87 per hour, Lundberg told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The company considers people working 34 hours per week to be full-time, and the average full-timer works 37 or 38 hours per week.

That means annual pay of about $25,000 for the average employee, but under Walmart’s definition, a minimum-wage full-timer at this Ohio store could be making as little as $14,000 a year.

According to Forbes, Walmart earned $17 billion last year. According to the Huffington Post, “The Walton family was worth $89.5 billion in 2010, the same as the bottom 41.5 percent of U.S. families combined.”

What do you think about Walmart’s food drive? Comment below or on our Facebook page.

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  • DemosCat

    Of course, your figure of “as little as” (should have been “less than”) $14,000 assumes Ohio’s higher minimum wage and absolutely no days off for anything, whether sick or for holidays. 34 x 52 x $7.85 = $13,878.80

    I think it’s more realistic to assume 50 weeks per year rather than 52. At 50 weeks, that’s 10 unpaid days off for the more important holidays and a sick day or two.

    Also keep in mind not everyone gets to work “full” time. Many businesses – restaurants in particular – have a deliberate policy of hiring enough employees to guarantee everyone is part-time, now defined as 29 hours or less so that the employee is not required to offer medical benefits.

    I also suspect Walmart’s claim of an average $12.87 per hour includes store managers, which skews the average up.

    Someone working 29 hours per week for 50 weeks a year at the national minimum wage of $7.25 will only earn $10,512.50 a year with no benefits in 2014. That’s also below the $11,490 threshold for an individual to receive an ACA insurance subsidy. In Red states where the Medicaid extension has been rejected, this means a very low income individual gets no assistance at all; not even catastrophic insurance is affordable. I know of someone in this exact position.

  • Andrew Wood

    SHOULDNT THEY BE HAPPY MAKING 7 BILLION DOLLARS AND FUNNEL THAT OTHER 10 BILLION DOLLARS BACK TO THE EMPLOYEES????