Occupy Christmas

International Day of Action – December 25

what would happen if….

Posted by Press on December 6, 2011

I was asked not too long ago what would happen to the 99% if people stopped shopping at big retail chains, as we are asking. We have already shown facts and figures on what would happen to the community if people shopped locally, but lets look at the other side of things.
Yes, a large number of the 99% work in the same retail stores that we are boycotting. If people stopped shopping in those stores how would this effect those workers? As some of you have asked, aren’t we hurting the 99%, not helping them?
My question to those people is this, have you ever worked there?
In January 2011 Walmart showed a profit of just over 16 million.  Walmart has one of the highest profits yet has the highest number of employees on welfare. The Seattle times in 2006 recorded “It cost the state an estimated $12 million in 2004 to provide government-subsidized health care to Wal-Mart employees”(2) And in 2011 in Ohio “Ohio taxpayers spent more than $67 million “for the year” on food stamps and Medicaid for Walmart workers” (3)

What’s the point of working for a multi million dollar company when you still have to be on welfare? These companies keep their employees on low wages with zero job security.

Time after time these larger companies break the rules, or creep just along the edge, knowing that most people are not going to take them to court. Job satisfaction is low on their priority list because it’s cheaper to recycle employees than it is to have a five year veteran with two weeks paid vacation and full benefits. Sam Walton has even said “I pay low wages. I can take advantage of that. We’re going to be successful, but the basis is a very low-wage, low-benefit model of employment.” (4)

It’s this kind of mentality that drives many of these companies. Most people aren’t aware of their legal rights and allow these things to happen because they are afraid of losing their jobs or retaliation from their managers. Discrimination, creating a hostile work environment, breaking FMLA laws, the list goes on.

As much as I hate to say it, I doubt people will ever completely stop shopping with these companies, but I at least hope that even a fourth of the people will stop and start spending locally. As stated in a previous post, this could bring back hundreds of thousands of dollars to small towns, and into the millions with larger cities. This newfound money would hopefully create jobs for people allowing them to leave their minimum wage jobs for something better, allowing hem to come off of welfare and give back $67 million to Ohio and who knows how much to other states. It’s impossible to say what the future will bring, but by shopping with these companies you are telling them that it’s ok to treat their employees this way.

1) http://finance.yahoo.com/q/is?annual&s=wmt
2) http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002791346_walmart07m.html
3) http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2011/01/rep_robert_hagan_slams_wal-mar.html
4) http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/walmart/secrets/inside.html

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