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:
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.


Anonymous said...'s inflation calculator says that inflation from 2001-2007 (the latest year for calculation), says that $6.40 in 2001 would be the same as $7.52 in 2007. So she has seen an increase above the rate of inflation, not stagnation. She is making 64% more now than at her hiring without adjusting for inflation, and 40% more adjusting for inflation. Seems like a pretty impressive raise to me.

I wonder if the gloried "Mom & Pop" stores that supposedly Wal-Mart has eliminated would have given these people as much a pay increase as Wal-Mart? I highly doubt it. Have you ever worked for a "Mom & Pop" and understand how their employees (often their own families) are overworked and underpaid?

liberal pastor said...


You are either being disingenuous or you're naive. How much has the cost of food gone up? Fuel? Or how about healthcare, which has continued to outpace the rate of inflation. Sure, she is making more than the rate of inflation, but her "real" wages, like those of everyone except for the most wealthy, have stagnated. This economic fact for middle and poor America is well-known and well-documented.

You did't read anything in my post, not I might add in the Mother Jones article, glorifying mom and pop stores. That isn't the issue. Wal-Mart is a fair target because of their size and influence within the American economy.

Anonymous said...

You wrote:
"With inflation factored in, her wages have basically remained stagnant."

It's a categorically untrue statement. With inflation factored in, she has received a 40% raise. There was nothing in your post talking about "real wages" (a tenuous term, at best), nor about other costs. Don't try to move the goalpost.

Talk about disingenuous. Pot, meet kettle.