The Walmart Black Friday Strike

I've seen some stuff about this bandied around Facebook, and there's a piece on it in Huffpo:

Walmart's Internal Compensation Documents Reveal Systematic Limit On Advancement

Here's an excerpt:
The company website declares that "a job at Walmart opens the door to a better life" and "the chance to grow and build a career." But interviews with 31 hourly workers and one former store manager reveal lives beset by paychecks too small to handle the bills, difficult to manage part-time schedules with hours subject to constant change, and little reason to hope for career advancement.

If you have no idea what this is all about, here's the gist of it: a bunch of Walmart employees are complaining about the low wages, and are planning to strike on Black Friday. I think that it won't happen. Maybe some people will strike, and they'll probably just get promptly fired and replaced.

Most Walmart jobs have practically zero entry barrier. Forget college – you don't even need a high school diploma to be a stocker or a cashier. That isn't just Walmart; that's pretty much the norm at grocery stores period. If you think you're going to support your three kids and drive next year's Accord working as a stocker or cashier, you need your head checked.

The thing about low-entry-barrier jobs is that practically anyone can do them. They're simple jobs and the workers are easy to replace. That means that lots more people are going to be applying, because they're easy jobs to get. The volume of applicants and workers also means that an even smaller percentage are going to make it to managerial positions. That's just reality. Not everyone has what it takes to run a store.

The girl profiled in the above article says she works at the deli counter. The fucking deli counter. Not only that, but she only works part-time. And she makes $13,000 a year. Yeah, you can't really live well off such a low wage. But how much are you expecting to make working part-time at a job that practically anyone can do? She expected to pay off student loans and have nice new clothes working part-time at a deli counter? Seriously?

Don't get me wrong – I'm all for collective bargaining and fair wages. But this is just kind of ridiculous. These aren't high-skill jobs. You don't need much of an education – hell, hardly any education – to do them. Walmart is a popular target for stuff like this, because they're the biggest boys on the block. And I'm not about to become Walmart's defender, because there may indeed be some practices that are ethically shady. But on this particular issue, the idea that you should be able to make a comfortable living off of a part-time job that doesn't even require a high school diploma, Walmart is just doing what any retailer would do. Some people just need a reality check. 


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