Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Always Low Wages. Always.

January 26
Pity poor Wal-Mart. After becoming the largest corporate political contributor in the country it turns out there was one politician in the Congress they forgot to buy: Representative George Miller (D-Calif.). His office recently issued a report that, among other things, pointed out that Wal-Mart "blocks union organizing efforts, pays employees an average $8.23 an hour (as compared to more than $10 for an average supermarket worker), allegedly extracts off-the-clock work, and provides inadequate and unaffordable healthcare packages for employees."

What kind of democracy is this? Attempts by the retailing giant to have Miller's election decertified have so far not met with success, however an ad was placed in Soldier of Fortune magazine by a family owned Arkansas grocery and sundry business looking for a "problem solver" willing to travel. Discrete inquiries only.

But back to the report: "Wal-Mart's low wages and inadequate benefits not only hurt workers directly, but impose costs on taxpayers. The report estimated that one 200-person Wal-Mart store may result in a cost to federal taxpayers of $420,750 per year – about $2,103 per employee. These public costs include: $36,000 a year for free and reduced lunches for just 50 qualifying Wal-Mart families. $42,000 a year for Section 8 housing assistance, $125,000 a year for federal tax credits and deductions for low-income families, $100,000 a year for the additional Title I [educational] expenses, and $108,000 a year for the additional federal healthcare costs of moving into state children's health insurance programs (S-CHIP)."

But hey! Soap is cheaper and the workers always say "Hi." Even the ones that are blinking morse code for SOS.

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