Friday, June 25, 2010


I have only been inside a Walmart store a few times. I have been aware of their anti-union practices for a very long time and chose not to shop there for that reason. Over the years, more and more news has supported my decision.

The actions of our country's largest private employer indicate that they have no regard for their employees, and in fact count on their 70% annual turnover rate to continue to make their profits go up. The majority of their employees with children live below the poverty line, the buy in for benefits at 35% of the total cost is double the national average so less than half opt to buy in. A 2004 UC Berkeley study showed that California taxpayers pay 86 million dollars to Walmart employees - imagine what it is now!

Walmart has been sued and found guilty of numerous wage and hour violations (otherwise known as theft.) They manage by intimidation and employees are frequently threatened with firing if they report overtime, injuries or other inequities on the job such as being denied lunch breaks. Gender discrimination has been proven, as has the knowing hiring of undocumented workers and breaking of child labor laws.

And now we can add discrimination due to sexual orientation. Fernando Gallardo, an 18 year-old resident of Las Vegas, got a seasonal job Walmart. A few weeks into the job, Gallardo says, his immediate supervisor asked him "point-blank" in front of four of his coworkers if he was gay. "I told her yes, and after that she was very rude and short with me," he told The Advocate.

Following that incident, his duties were changed, he was told to wear a yellow vest and "wander around the store." His supervisor and manager stopped speaking to him. His complaints to the store management didn't change anything. He left the job after he overheard two managers talking loudly. One, he says, told the other that Gallardo was "a little girl. All he is good for is walking around the store."

When contacted, Walmart corporate spokesman Phil Keene said the company fosters "respect for individuals" as one of its core beliefs and a foundation of Walmart culture.

Gallardo has filed a complain with the Nevada EEOC. He could win monetary damages and another job with Walmart, but he is requesting that the company hold mandatory annual cultural diversity training for all Walmart and Sam's Club supervisors and managers in Clark County, Nev., with a certified cultural diversity trainer.


knittergran said...

I don't shop there either. There is NOTHING good about Walmart, low prices or no.

jenn said...

I've got a documentary about Wal-Mart in my Netflix queue that I've been anxious to watch. I've never been a fan, and this story makes me even less of one.

michiganme said...

I call it ChinaMart---because they are a conduit for all this toxic crap from China that we all continue to buy. I guess you get what you pay for.

Nan said...

Great cartoon. Walmart used to be notorious for actually providing instructions to employees on how to apply for welfare benefits like Medicaid and Food Stamps -- don't know if that's still true because several different news organizations did exposes a few years ago. They do have a health plan, but they're skilled at scheduling people so they never work quite enough hours to qualify for it (think a person has to work at least 30 hours in a week to be eligible, which is one reason why the bulk of their workforce is parttime).