Wednesday, June 05, 2013
WalMart - Keeping Families in Poverty
3 June 2013
WalMart hires more people in the United States than any other company. They recruit three times the number of people than the U.S. military does each year. Yet, the majority of their employees are families with children who live below the poverty line. WalMart promotes to buy American but most of their goods are manufactured outside of the United States in sweatshops.
Walmart has 1.4 million employees in the U.S. and a total of 2.1 million worldwide. Females make up 70% of Walmart's work force, many of whom are head of households. The average full time sales associate take home pay is under $15,576 per year. However, most of Walmart's employees are part time with an average take home pay of $250.00 per week or 8.81 per hour. Walmart's associates earn 28 percent less, on average, than employees at other large retail stores. In contrast, the average pay for store managers is $50,000 to $170,000 per year. CEO Mike Duke received $18.7 million in total compensation or he makes more money in one hour than most of his employees make in one year. The Walton family controls over 48% of the stock and together they are worth an excess of $102 billion.
This pay scale places employees with families under the poverty line that qualifies the children for free lunches. One-third of the employees work under 28 hours and do not qualify for benefits. The lower paid working families are called the "working poor" and the federal government subsides many of these families and children.
Let's put this in perspective:
Wal-Mart hires 550,000 people each year
They are the largest employeer outside of the Federal Government; around 2 million employees
America has been declining in wealth and the disparity is getting wider (The wealthiest 20% own 72%; the Poorest 20% only 3%) Apr 2013
More and more people in America are on food stamps than ever before 47.8 million (mar 2013)
More and more American's are making non-sustainable/livable wages
WalMart makes $34, 880 dollars in profit every minute
Low wages cost the taxpayers $900,000 each year for Walmart's low wages at one WalMart Super Center in Wisconson. ( Huffington Post May 2013)
California paid $86 million a year on WalMart employees in benefit programs (health and public assistance to 44,000 employees)
One Store of 200 employees may result in a cost of $420,750 per year - $2,103 per employee for free and reduced lunch programs, Section 8 housing, federal tax credits, Title 1 expenses, federal health care costs, children's health insurance programs (S-CHIP), low income energy assistance. (Democratic Staff of the Committee on Education and Workforce)
Walmart has a high turnover rate; about 70% of the employees leave within the first year. The reasons they leave is for lack of job recognition and inadequate pay. Studies show that Walmart promoted fewer women than men and women dominate the lowest paying jobs at Walmart and that men earned $5,200 more for the same jobs as the women. Although, women make up 70% of the workforce, they only occupy less than one third of its store management.
Our government is broke and they try to squeeze as much taxes from the citizens as they can for just about everything. Yet, the corporations can get away with hiding money offshore, using loopholes that saves them millions if not billions in taxes to the U.S. Closes down the factories with tax incentives to open new production overseas and widening the gap for job creation in the U.S. The last thing we need is to drain our economy with social programs for people who work and are willing to work full time.
Most of the employees at Walmart are willing to work more hours, but to save money, Walmart's average weekly hours is 28. But that is not all folks!
Walmart's new Health Plan January 2013
A memo was leaked to the NY Times stating that Walmart workers are "sicker than the national population" and tended to overuse emergency rooms. The memo made recommendations to reduce health care spending by discouraging unhealthy people from working at Walmart requiring all jobs to involve some physical activity. To hire more part time workers, to reduce 401K contributions and to put health clinics in Walmart stores. With these recommendations Walmart could save over $1 billion in health care costs by 2011. With 1.5 million employees working in the U.S. at Walmart part time not receiving health benefits, then who picks up the tab?
The average wait for full time workers to qualify for benefits is six months, compared to the retail average of 2.6 months. Walmart recently cut their contributions to the medical savings plan by 50%. The deductible for their plan is $1,750 before any assistance kicks in. The monthly premium went up from $2 to $11 dollars per pay check at a $60.00 minimum per month.
A new policy took place in January 2013 as a way to cut costs and shift the cost onto the federal government taking advantage of Obamacare.
Walmart has the right to eliminate health care coverage for workers if their average workweek dips below 30 hours, which happens with regularity and at the direction of the company managers. The response? "Walmart made a business decision" replied company spokesman David Tovar. This new policy is a step back in time from the expansion in their health care coverage seven years ago. The problem is that Walmart is known to not have anyone work over 30 hours a week and they have been doing that for years.
Walmart's network family plan is $322.60 bi-weekly with a $800 annual deductible, $500 health care credit and $4,000 out of pocket medical expenses could cast over $12,000 a year. The average full time Walmart employee makes $20,000 a year and cannot afford the health benefit.
In the last quarter of 2012 it is reported they made $67,35 billion with a $17.2 billion profit. This is enough profit to settle the Walmart's infamous employment practices and stop them from robbing America by using our social system and taxes to help keep their employees alive.
*Of those who do not work full-time, about half state that they are working part time because they cannot find full-time work. Thus the working poor face the problem of involuntarily working part time to a greater extent than other workers. Approximately 20% of the working poor are employed involuntarily part-time.
Although some people believe that the problem of working poverty would be solved by providing full-time year-round work, this does not appear to be true. Most (52%) of the working poor would not b e able to work their way out of poverty even if they held full-time year-round employment because their wages are too low. In addition, of the working poor who would be able to lift themselves out of poverty by working such hours, many are unable to do so because of health problems.
Single female headed families are especially over-represented among the working poor. Among the working poor, 49% live in families headed by a single woman. Of those who live in families headed by a single female, 28% work but live below 150% of the poverty level.
The working poor are less likely to be covered by health insurance by their employers. Only 18% of the working poor are covered by health insurance available through their employer or their union, compared to 55% of all workers. Most likely, the jobs these workers hold are less likely to offer health insurance.
The working poor need higher wages and jobs that offer full-year employment, wage supplements such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and access to services such as health care and child care.
Department of Labor
In light of the facts listed by the Department of Labor, it does not take a genisus to understand that a company that employees 70% women, pays poverty wages, does not offer viable health options, keeps their employees at a part time level while earning billions in profit each year clearly contributes to America's working poor numbers. I firmly believe that if Walmart were to increase both wages and hours and offer affordable medical plans, these numbers from the Dept. of Labor would drastically change.