I found Wal-Mart's request to Congress and their observation
about their customers to be very ironic, since the vast majority of
Wal-Mart employees work for minimum wage.
The plight of the working poor will not be improved by raising the
minimum wage. As soon as employment costs for businesses go up,
prices will go up to support those costs. The working poor will
remain in the same place, although technically they will be making
I have heard of and read accounts of mining companies in the history
of this country that owned everything: the mine, all the places to
live and all the businesses that sold goods. Employees of the mine
worked for low wages, lived in squalor in the company's shacks and
could barely afford the goods at the company store. The mining
company kept all the money, and the employees were the
quintessential definition of the working poor.
has become the 21st-century's equivalent of the mining company.
Wal-Mart comes to town and, over time, runs out all the other
businesses that sell similar goods and pay living wages. The people
who formerly worked in those now-defunct businesses are forced to
work for Wal-Mart, which pays minimum wage. By their own assertion
the employees of Wal-Mart cannot afford what they need to live
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My analysis of their request to Congress is that Wal-Mart's only
concern is to make more money on the backs of their underpaid
employees. Of course, they will pay their employees more, but only
if Congress makes them.
Hey, Wal-Mart, if you want to make a real social statement and also
improve your own bottom line, pay your own employees more -- pay all
of them higher wages than what the minimum wage demands. I am very
sure that those higher-paid employees will return a high percentage
of their new buying power in Wal-Mart stores, and those who wish to
organize Wal-Mart stores will be robbed of the power and opportunity
to do so.
Step up and be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
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