You forgot “hold holiday food drives for your own employees”
Also, this strategy just makes no sense to me since it is not sustainable in the long term.
Did you know that back when Congress voted to cut food stamps, Walmart warned that this affected their profits? And did you know Walmart’s same-store sales have dropped for 14 out of the last 21 quarters?
Making sure your profits depend significantly on the government-provided social safety net seems fairly bone-headed to me. Especially if you provide political contributions to groups dedicated to shredding said safety net.
Walmart is the U.S.’s largest employer after the federal government. So if you employ a huge number of people who live and shop in the same communities where your stores are located, why on earth would you cut their wages to the bone? Why would you support groups that try to cut their incomes even further? With what money are they going to be buying shit at your stores?
After making a big deal of publicly supporting the Affordable Care Act, Walmart—the nation’s largest private sector employer—is joining the ranks of companies seeking to avoid their obligation to provide employees with health insurance as required by Obamacare.
It was not all that many years ago that Walmart announced, in response to harsh criticism over the low pay provided to Walmart ‘associates’, that the company would provide a healthcare benefit to its part-time, low earning employees. The uncharacteristically generous nod to worker needs was short lived as the company partially pulled back on the commitment in 2011, citing premium rate increases that Walmart deemed beyond their capacity to pay.
Now, Huffington Post is reporting that the party is over for many more existing Walmart employees, along with all employees hired after February 1, 2012 that the company can classify as “part-time.”
According to the 2013 Walmart “Associate’s Benefit Book”— the manual for low-level Walmart employees—part-time workers who got their jobs during or after 2011 will now be subject to an “Annual Benefits Eligibility Check” each August.
Employees hired after Feb. 1, 2012, who fail to average the magic 30-hours per week requiring a company to provide a healthcare benefit, will lose their healthcare benefits on the following January. Part-time workers hired after Jan. 15, 2011, but before Feb. 1, 2012, will be able to hang onto their Walmart health care benefit if they work at least 24 hours a week.
Anyone hired before 2011 will not be cut off from the company provided health insurance.
Of course, Walmart carefully controls employee work schedules and will have the opportunity to design worker hours in a manner that will keep employees at a level below the threshold required to accomplish company healthcare benefits pursuant to the law.
While there have been increasing reports of American employers reacting to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act by making plans to cut employee work hours so that these companies may deny health insurance as a benefit of employment—particularly in the restaurant and fast food industries—it appears that Walmart has been planning this move all along.
If they can get away with it, companies like Walmart will always cut hours in order to get around changes in the law. Unfortuantely, I don’t know of any way to prevent them from doing this.
— Diane Sweet, Wal-Mart Said ‘No’ to Paying for Fire Safety in Bangladesh
So the times put together a pretty accessible dataset on the 48 U.S. companies that have received more than $100 million in subsidy in the past 5 years. Definitely worth a look.
Oh goodness yes. Click through for some ridiculous benefits governments have given to big flagship companies. Google got $100 million from the Illinois government, for example. And Texas has transferred $277 million to Amazon. GM is obviously way ahead of everyone else with $1.77 billion in transfers in the last five years AND then it went ahead and closed lots of the subsidized facilities anyway. Sneaky work, GM!
For a fun leftist outrage exercise express the cost of these transfers in terms of school lunches and/or subsidized housing. For a fun libertarian outrage exercise express the cost of these transfers in terms of deadweight loss when companies locate their facilities where subsidies are highest instead of where costs are lowest.
Details of the meeting have emerged after a fire at a Bangladesh factory that made clothes for Wal-Mart and Sears Holdings Corp. killed more than 100 people last month. The blaze has renewed pressure on companies to improve working conditions in Bangladesh, where more than 700 garment workers have died since 2005, according to the International Labor Rights Forum, a Washington-based advocacy group.
At the April 2011 meeting in Dhaka, the Bangladesh capital, retailers discussed a contractually enforceable memorandum that would require them to pay Bangladesh factories prices high enough to cover costs of safety improvements. Sridevi Kalavakolanu, a Wal-Mart director of ethical sourcing, told attendees the company wouldn’t share the cost, according to Ineke Zeldenrust, international coordinator for the Clean Clothes Campaign, who attended the gathering. Kalavakolanu and her counterpart at Gap reiterated their position in a report folded into the meeting minutes, obtained by Bloomberg News.
“Specifically to the issue of any corrections on electrical and fire safety, we are talking about 4,500 factories, and in most cases very extensive and costly modifications would need to be undertaken to some factories,” they said in the document. “It is not financially feasible for the brands to make such investments.”
Wow that is some effed-up cost/benefit analysis. I’m not sure what the correct policy response from the wealthy industrialized countries buying the output is, here. Tariffs on goods produced at factories without safety audits, possibly? Obviously there needs to be something done to fix this system but it’s hard to think of a way of doing so that would be feasible to enforce. (via jakke)
An effed-up, but not uncommon calculation. In order for goods to be cheap, human lives have to be devalued.
A constant conservative charge against President Obama is that he is inherently anti-business. However, businesses keep defying the storyline by making larger and larger profits, rebounding nicely out of the Great Recession.
In the third quarter of this year, “corporate earnings were $1.75 trillion, up 18.6% from a year ago.” Corporations are currently making more as a percentage of the economy than they ever have since such records were kept. But at the same time, wages as a percentage of the economy are at an all-time low, as this chart shows. (The red line is corporate profits; the blue line is private sector wages.):
Meanwhile, workers are getting the short end of the stick. As CNN Money explained, “a separate government reading shows that total wages have now fallen to a record low of 43.5% of GDP. Until 1975, wages almost always accounted for at least half of GDP, and had been as high as 49% as recently as early 2001.”
Nuh-uh. Creamy > chunky. But anyway, interesting article:
Shipped off to boarding school in England during the Great Depression, the twelve-year-old William F. Buckley, Jr., was sustained by regular care packages from his father. The biweekly deliveries contained a case of grapefruit and a large jar of peanut butter. In a 1981 essay titled “In the Thrall of an Addiction,” Buckley recalled that his British schoolmates “grabbed instinctively for the grapefruit—but one after another actually spit out the peanut butter.” No wonder, he sneered, “they needed help to win the war.”
Half a century later, when I left Washington, D.C., for school in Northern Ireland, I packed my bags with jars of Skippy. Not much had changed. “Mashed peanuts on bread?” my friends in Belfast asked, incredulously—as if peanuts were synonymous with maggots. The American love of peanut butter is as mystifying to many Britons as the British love of Marmite (yeast extract on toast?) is to me, but, as Jon Krampner writes in “Creamy & Crunchy,” his enjoyable and informative new history of peanut butter, there are plenty of other countries that adore the crushed goober pea. Canadians eat it for breakfast; Haitians call it mamba and buy it, freshly pulverized, from street vendors; it is popular in the Netherlands, where it is known as pindakaas, or peanut cheese. Peanut butter is also increasingly found in the Saudi Arabian diet, thanks, in part, to expatriate oil workers. Nevertheless, it remains, in Krampner’s phrase, an “all-American food.”
The average household already spends about $90 a month for cable or satellite TV, and nearly half of that amount pays for the sports channels packaged into most services.
The obvious answer, of course, is to offer channels on an a la carte basis—or perhaps on a semi-a la carte basis—but both the content providers and the cable companies fight this tooth and nail. Here’s the excuse:
National and local sports networks typically require cable and satellite companies to make their channels available to all customers….The idea of offering channels on an “a la carte” basis used to be sacrilege to the industry. Executives argued it would not lower prices because networks would just charge more to make up for the loss of subscribers.
You know what? That’s exactly what would happen. People would start to understand just how much they’re paying for sports programming and they’d be appalled. Many wouldn’t subscribe, and sports fans would be forced to pay the actual cost of their sports programming without being subsidized by the rest of us. This is exactly how it should be. There’s no reason that, for all practical purposes, every single person in the LA area should be forced to pay a tax to the Lakers and Dodgers even if they don’t care about basketball and baseball.
“This is why, conventionally, business leaders exercise their political clout through behind-the-scenes activity or cloaked in the guise of trade associations. People aren’t going to stop eating out if the National Restaurant Association gets involved in a high-profile political controversy, but Papa John’s hurts itself by becoming the face of opposition to a signature Obama administration initiative.” - Matt Yglesias
A surprisingly good article about the appropriation of Native American culture. I think the reason why is that it liberally quotes Native Americans themselves:
…[A]cts of cultural appropriation are not simply isolated incidents of “hipsters in Navajo panties and pop stars in headdresses,” said Sasha Houston Brown, a member of the Santee Sioux Nation of Nebraska. They are byproducts of “systemic racism” that perpetuate the idea that there’s no such thing as contemporary Native culture.
"Despite what dominant society and mainstream media say, Native culture is a vibrant and living culture. We are not a relic of the past, a theme or a trend, we are not a style or costume, we are not mascots, noble savages or romantic fictional entities," Brown said in an editorial for the blog Racialious, "Nothing Says Native American Heritage Month Like White Girls in Headdresses.”
It’s a discussion that is especially vital as the holiday season of mass consumerism kicks off, she said. The goal is not to ban from the marketplace beaded jewelry or clothing incorporating tribal motifs, Brown said, but to involve Natives in their creation, marketing and profits.
"Collaborations can work as long as the dynamics at hand are empowering Native artists and designers so they are actually able to participate in an equitable manner," said Brown, who advises American Indian students at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College.
As the American-Indian and Alaska Native community, which numbers 5.1 million and makes up about 1.6% of the population of the United States, works toward getting a stronger voice in mainstream media, it needs allies, including non-Natives, she said.
"What an ally does is support and help communicate the message of Native artists and entrepreneurs instead of speaking for them," Brown said. "There’s a huge market for Native and non-Native partnerships, but there’s also an inherent distrust of non-Natives coming into communities because of the examples that have been set in history. It just takes time."