Aside

The documentary “Walmart: The High Cost Of Low Price” revealed the stories of walmart employees and former managers about the companys policies and problems associated with employees. This film got a lot of response and attention from the public which is a nightmare of public relations. Walmart fought back with the help of former presidental advisors and campaigns. On the other hand, there still seems to be a number of employees who enjoy working for walmart and feel as a part of community. So what is Walmart doing right or wrong? Walmart has been under criticism due to their anti-union policy. There are numerous of cases where active employees who have been trying to unionise, have been fired and managers are known to have union prevention chapters in their work manuals. Although unionising is not allowed in the states, you can’t stop the power of people. Their employees have had some success in organising non-union groups in order to improve working conditions and facilities for employees. And surprisingly, successfully. For example, the Walmart Workers Association in Florida has had success with their activities, Walmart Workers of America was successful organising the employees without forming a union and in China, they actually work with officials to organise unions. I wonder if this allowawnce is influenced by the fact that most unions and organisations in China are controlled by the government anyway or the different work philosophy of hard-working not-complaining chinese… or has it anything to do with the little fact that China is Walmarts biggest trading partner? The exploitaton of employees in many forms, globally and within the States, has been reported: underpaid hours, illegal firing, unionising punishments, working overhours and even physical violence have been just some examples. When it comes to factories overseas, there have been cases reported of using child labour, failing to provide equipment for employees health protection and not to mention working inhuman hours. Wage violations have been reported in a mix with lawsuits of not giving enough working hours for more skilled, experienced and higher paid employees and giving hours to cheaper, part-time workers. On one had, it seems like a nice move to give opportunities to new employees, but it should be done without violating others rights. In the States, another big issue where the employees of Walmart remain the losers is health insurance. The whole health care system in the USA is not benefiting the most deprived people so health insurance provided by work is one of the options. Walmart has proudly introduced their health insurance for employees on their website, however, the New York Times found internal memos providing suggestions to spend less on health insurance. Easy steps like hiring more part-time people (last chapter), discouraging unhealthy people from working by adding physical tasks to every job are just one of them. Luckily, many states have been starting issuing laws to protect employees with new laws for big corporates and their health insurance systems. However, this doesn’t mean Walmart could not find ‘another way’. Then again, there are still numbers of employees who are actually happy working for Walmart and feel like a part of community. They get help from the company, are encouraged and have anpositive outlook on life. I personally have never asked any ASDA employee (which is under Walmart chain as well) if they liked working there but I’m sure the world is not just black and white. I believe that Walmart could do better. I believe that investing in the resources and having interest in employees could bring double back. Right now, although Walmart offers millions of jobs worldwide, their employees remain losers in their controlled and tough system. What do you think, are the employees of Walmart winners or losers in this case?

 Merilin Notton

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