The Case On Wal-Mart

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In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich, a social critic and journalist, embarked on a ground-breaking experiment. To understand the typical low-wage worker, she left her comfortable life and took on various jobs and attempted to survive on minimum wage in three different places in the nation. One of her stops was Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she was employed by Wal-Mart, America’s largest employer employs with approximately 1.3 million workers in this country alone. Founded in 1962, Wal-Mart was Sam Walton's vision of great customer service and was meant to be a way to lower the cost of living in America. However, it seems that the corporation chooses to forgo certain issues such as fair wages and decent healthcare for its employees, so that they may afford their low, low prices. In her New York Time’s Bestseller, Nickel and Dimed, Ehrenreich states that “[u]nderneath those vests […] there are real-life charity cases, maybe even shelter dwellers” (175). Ehrenreich’s claim that Wal-Mart employees are dreadfully paid and mistreated are still accurate today, seven years later, as is evident by the statements of current statistics and recent articles that Wal-Mart continues to pay their employees minimum wage while the company’s CEO has a multimillion dollar salary, fails to provide decent health benefits to half of their employees causing these workers to rely on the government, and is strongly anti-union so that the company can continue to exploit their employees. In fact, she states that most of these employees cannot even afford some of the products sold at this low price retail giant. In February of 2006, as a response to mounting pressure from bad publicity, Wal-Mart announced a pay raise for all their employees. Wal-Mart Watch, a campaign website representing the Center for Community and Corporate Ethics, presents further information on the raise. It was a mere

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