The Great Helmsman’s favorite retailer seems to be a bit unnerved by the threatened Black Friday action at a lot of its locations. Logically, of course, there really isn’t any reason to be; if we look at the absolutely insane compensation Mao-Mart lavishes on its upper management and the Walton family itself, most of us can quickly see a lot of room for bettering the plight of their employees AND becoming even MORE competitive on the pricing. But that isn’t what Mao-Mart is all about. From their use of near-slave Chinese workers (and, quite likely, the use of ACTUAL slaves in the form of work outsourced to North Korean prison camps) to their deliberate depression of wages so that a huge number of Mao-Mart employees are also food stamp recipients, Mao-Mart carries on in the best traditions of just about any large Arkansas operation, pre-1865. And they aren’t going to let go of that very easily. They are quite accustomed to greediness to the point of stupidity, and a freeloading mentality that makes anyone who pays taxes into a Mao-Mart supporter, whether or not you ever set foot inside one of their hideous operations.
I, myself, am more than tired of propping up a bunch of billionaires. YMMV.
Walmart has long been “stridently anti-union,” says Hamilton Nolan at Gawker, “fearing that a unionized workforce could be an existential threat to its cut-every-last-penny business model.” The world’s largest retailer and employer has assiduously nipped union-making in the bud, a strategy that has riled unions whose members have been laid off as Walmart’s cheap pricing strategy puts other grocers and retailers out of business. Walmart appears to be falling back on its anti-union strategy once again, filing a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board to preemptively ban a planned strike by Walmart workers on Black Friday.
It is the first time Walmart has made such a complaint in ten years, say Steven Greenhouse and Stephanie Clifford at The New York Times, an indication that Walmart is taking the strike to heart:
Labor experts caution that the complaint, filed on Thursday, could be meant as a warning shot to discourage workers from participating since the labor relations board often takes months to make a ruling, but it nonetheless reflects how seriously the company has come to view a group that it had once dismissed as a nuisance…
All this points to an increasingly fierce contest between Wal-Mart and labor groups that are bent on mobilizing and organizing the company’s work force, with a near-term goal of pressing for higher wages and a longer-term goal of emboldening workers to demand a union.
The protests are being organized by two groups of Walmart workers: Making Change at Walmart and OUR Walmart, both of which have the support of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. The groups claim that Walmart pays “poverty-level wages,” say Greenhouse and Clifford, and that the company retaliates against employees who dare to complain. OUR Walmart says 1,000 protests across the country and “online actions” will take place in the days leading up to Black Friday and on Black Friday itself, with the aim of raising awareness, shaming Walmart into reform, and disrupting the biggest shopping day of the year.
And I believe they’ll turn armed thugs loose on naysayers, if that’s what it takes. The Mao-Mart mentality is the worker-as-slave mentality, and they aren’t anywhere near letting go of that yet.
And besides… they most certainly do NOT “cut every penny,” or the Walton family wouldn’t be worth as much as 40% of the rest of us COMBINED. If they want to save some money, they can start with taking a chainsaw to the irrational greed that has already impoverished millions of Americans, and threatens more of us every day. But the notion that we ought to not be patronizing these greedy slave-massas also has merit, make no mistake. I have gone to Mao-Mart once in the last year, and that’s because my tent got flooded completely out and there was simply no other place to go. And I regret THAT trip.