In essence, the nation's biggest employers of unskilled labor often leave workers having to feed from the public trough. In 2004, a year in which Wal-Mart reported $9.1 billion in profits, the retailer's California employees collected $86 million in public assistance, according to researchers at the University of California-Berkeley. Other studies have revealed widespread use of publicly funded health care by Wal-Mart employees in numerous states. In 2004, Democratic staffers of the House education and workforce committee calculated that each 200-employee Wal-Mart store costs taxpayers an average of more than $400,000 a year, based on entitlements ranging from energy-assistance grants to Medicaid to food stamps to WIC—the federal program that provides food to low-income women with children.When Obama unveils his proposals for healthcare reform and universal coverage, I sure hope Wal-Mart is a big public supporter. We are already subsidizing their business big-time.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Making it at Wal-Mart
Aubretia Edick is 58 and works in the pharmacy department of a Wal-Mart in Hudson, New York. Edick's starting pay was $6.40 in 2001; today it is $10.50. With inflation factored in, her wages have basically remained stagnant. She is among several profiled in a Mother Jones story America on $195 a Week. It's not just about Wal-Mart but since the big-box retailer is the largest in America, it features prominently in the story: