Walmart Thanksgiving: Pay Poverty Wages, Tell Staff To Donate Food To Starving Co-Workers

With just one week until Thanksgiving, the retail giant Walmart has once again placed the responsibility for philanthropy and human kindness on its underpaid staff, setting up donation food bins for it’s poor workers to help feed their poorer workers.

First, some facts about Walmart:

  • Walmart is the largest private employer in the United States, with 1.4 million employees.
  • The company, which is number one on the Fortune 500 in 2013 and number two on the Global 500, made $16 billion in profits last year.
  • The Walton family, who own more than 50% of Walmart shares, rake in billions each year from company dividends – that is, the hard work of their employees.
  • The six Walton heirs are the wealthiest family in America, with a net worth of $148.8 billion.
  • Collectively, these six Waltons have more wealth than 49 million American families combined.

And yet, as my colleague Joe Fletcher wrote on these pages, the Walton Family really are America’s least generous billionaires:

The Forbes top 400 richest Americans list includes four of the Walton family — heirs to the Walmart fortune. They rank in the 6th, 7th, and 8th places (two tied for 8th place) and have a collective $145 billion dollars in wealth.

They are also America’s greediest billionaires, according to a recent analysis by Walmart 1 Percent. They have each contributed less than 0.05 percent of their personal net worth through the years 2008 and 2013.

A report by Walmart 1 Percent released earlier this year found that the Waltons have contributed almost none of their own wealth to the Walton Family Foundation and use the Foundation to avoid an estimated $3 billion in estate taxes.

Not only do the Walton’s not contribute in taxes, or to their own “philanthropic” white elephants, but they pay their workers such abysmal wages that the rest of us need to subsidize them through tax-payer-funded welfare.

In fact, according to an April 2014 report by Tax Fairness, American taxpayers are funding Walmart to the tune of $7.8 billion every year — enough to pay the salaries of 105,000 new public school teachers.

So, this family, which makes money from the labor of others — and leaves you and me to pick up the tab for that labor — now leaves the job of ensuring those staff so poor they can’t afford a Thanksgiving dinner to other underpaid staff.  Something is profoundly wrong when a company knows its staff are so poor they cannot eat, yet refuses to do anything about it.

Cincinnati Walmart employee La’Randa Jackson said:

“My co-workers and I don’t want food bins. We want Walmart and the Waltons to improve pay and hours so that we can buy our own groceries.”

These workers are not asking for handouts, but simply a living wage. They get up and go to work every day, and still they are trapped in the kind of poverty that has no place in one of the richest nations on earth. As the Walton Family tuck into their deluxe Thanksgiving Dinner, they will surely be giving thanks to the political and economic system that permits them to live such a selfish and indifferent existence.