Opinion: Americans Failed Walmart Workers
After all the hype regarding Walmart employees’ discontent with their employer, the long holiday weekend apparently went on without any major concerns for the money-making conglomerate. Walmart made lots of money and the workers are still dissatisfied with their employer. Basically, Americans hugely failed the Walmart workers.
On Black Friday – the shopping day after Thanksgiving when America traditionally shops, primarily for Christmas gifts – Walmart workers hoped to bring an awareness to America regarding their discontent with America’s most popular and successful store and business.
As Walmart workers tried to breathe life into a difficult strike situation, they were battered at most every turn. And in the end, the strike was a bust for one reason and one reason only: America still shopped at Walmart during the four-day weekend – especially on Black Friday – without end. Of course, it’s not easy to conduct a strike-styled demonstration when a group of employees are not unionized – as they are not allowed to be unionized at Walmart. Additionally, it’s difficult to participate in a demonstration when the employer allegedly threatens to fire workers who partake in the event. Yet, via the American-grassroots way of doing things, Walmart workers – with or without Walmart’s blessings of free speech on their disgruntled employers – hoped to accomplish their goal of getting their messages of discontent out by word of mouth.
The word was that Walmart workers are discontent with a variety of working conditions and other troublesome issues such as sexual harassment, besides the average $8.81 hourly pay without benefits of which they have great concerns. Workers are concerned about less hours and being pushed out of their jobs, too. Actually, depending on who you talk to and where you are in the United States, the reasons for the Walmart protest varies somewhat. Again, it was a protest by non-union workers which is tremendously disadvantaged by the lack of a union’s organization and total workers’ support.
Yet, as one continues to read that the Walton’s family members continue to rank high on the list of the world’s wealthiest people on Forbes Magazine’s distinguished list, their workers are unsettled in their lives due to their day-in and day-out financial and work situations. The Waltons, of the Sam Walton family business fame, profit from the Walmart stores. Additionally, there are Wall Street-types who rake in lots of money from their relationship to Walmart in one way or another as well. The day-to-day workers in the aisles, at the registers, and back rooms who get the job done, however, are suffering.
Ironically, there were incredible amounts of “we care about the masses” insinuations throughout the recent presidential election campaign. There were times that it appeared as though anti-corporate and anti-Wall Street sentiments were the biggest issues of all. On Black Friday, Americans had a chance to put their alleged-concerns into action by supporting the Walmart workers. But no, it didn’t happen.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that America doesn’t give a damn about others who are financially suffering – but then again, maybe it does.
What was the sense of giving a liberally-tinged, anti-big business and anti-wealth vote if a lib is not going to back it up with action? Deep down, it’s quite apparent that many don’t give a damn – they just voted the way they were “programmed” to vote.
About Scott Paulson
Scott Paulson writes political commentary for Examiner.com and teaches English at a community college in the Chicago area. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.