To anybody that knows me it should come as no surprise that I despise Wal-Mart. At one point, I will admit, I did shop there on occasion, out of pure convenience and to take advantage of their sale prices – but I am happy to say I actually can’t remember the last time I shopped at a Wal-Mart… it has been a number of years. Today’s time capsule piece is a letter I wrote to CEO H. Lee Scott back in highschool. It was for a writing assignment of course, which ended up really opening my eyes to the dark world of cheap labour. I’ve learned a lot since then, and I do my best nowadays to support companies that are eco-friendly and ethical. I’m considering writing an updated piece of sorts on this subject in the near future, as it really is something that I believe needs to be continually brought into the limelight. As always, thanks for indulging my weird desire to read my old works and publish them 🙂
___________Wal-Mart: “Affordable, unless you’re an employee.”_________
H. Lee Scott
Dear Mr. Scott:
Wal-Mart is constantly advertised as being a very affordable place to go, and it is this which has attracted so many people on a daily basis to shop there. Your current leading slogan is, “Everyday low prices,” but what you fail to address is that this includes your employees’ wages and health care.
Wal-Mart holds the number 2 position on the fortune 500 with sales of up to $312 billion dollars. They are the largest employer in America with roughly 1.39 million workers. Quite the accomplishment; however, you also fail to provide health care to over 775,000 of those workers. This makes Wal-Mart have the highest total number of workers without company health care insurance. One would think when a company is making high numbers, well over the billions, that this would not be an issue.
On the contrary, this issue is not only affecting the employees of Wal-Mart, but also the taxpayers, and most are not even aware just how severe it is. Wal-Mart is the number one abuser of taxpayer funded public health care in the world, and this continues to get worst. Currently, 57% of workers as well as their families do not have the health care they rightly deserve. In 2005, nearly 300,000 Wal-Mart workers and their family members depended on taxpayer-funded public health care at an estimated total cost to American taxpayers of $1.37 billion.
Wal-Mart, the largest company in the world, grossing nearly the highest sales, cannot even give their workers well defined health care. It is estimated by 2010, that 1.37 billion will grow to 9.1 billion dollars. Despite Wal-Marts’ claims that only 5% of its workforce is on public health care assistance, statistics show that Wal-Mart has an average of 13 percent of its workforce on public health care assistance. The 13 percent figure is 3.25 times higher than the national average of 4 percent for all employers and 2.6 times higher than the 5 percent average Wal-Mart states publicly. This is unacceptable.
On top of this, the average Wal-Mart worker earns below the poverty line for a family of four, despite claims being made stating otherwise. Wal-Mart leads people to believe that it offers competitive wages when compared to other retail companies, when in fact, according to recent studies, Wal-Mart workers actually earn an average of 31% less than employees of other large retail establishments.
As Wal-Mart is a leading retail company in America and the world, we wish for you to consider raising the wages for your employees, and offering proper health care to your employees. If Wal-Mart does take action and seriously consider our requests, we are positive Wal-Mart will pull through as the leading organization which it sought out to be.