Despite Wal-Mart’s attempted PR stunt to gain favor, it’s becoming more and more publicly recognized that they mistreat employees and are a terrible place to work. Ever since Gawker first started publishing the submitted stories of Wal-Mart employees, the store has been garnering attention for poor working conditions and anti-union tactics.
Some of the stories are directly horrific — such as an employee death — but most are simply an explanation of how terrible a place Wal-Mart really is.
Standing up for workers’ rights is important. Although there are many people that will simply say, “don’t work or shop there if you don’t support it,” the truth is that public discussion and ridicule is a tool of capitalism — and it should also be pointed out that many people can’t find another job.
Perhaps the most chilling story in one of Gawker’s latest editions is the following:
“All evening shift employees would be forced to stay an extra hour after closing. The store is located in far Northeast Philadelphia, PA. Another employee (who worked the snack bar) and I would always be the last to leave before the overnight stock crew came in.
We would have to run, after dark, across four lanes of Roosevelt Blvd (turns into Route 1), to get the only bus home. There were no crosswalks nearby, so we took our lives into our hands every time we did this.
One day I came in, and was told she was struck and killed when two cars were doing an illegal drag race across the boulevard. Management made an attempt at regret for what happened. A photo of her was put on the wall by the snack bar until it was converted into a Subway.”
There are also accounts of management allowing sexual harassment despite employee complaints:
“There are very few women on overnights, and only one other that was close to my age. I would get constantly sexually harassed by other associates (often in front of management). One asked me every day if I wanted to [expletive]-I repeatedly told management, and they refused to do anything, and wouldn’t even take care to separate us on the floor. Finally he was arrested, for smoking meth with and then raping a 13 year old girl. My store was full of such winners.”
The same woman as the paragraph above also goes on to say,
“After about a year, I moved to the bakery. When the Health Inspector came, stores called each other frantically alerting the others of their whereabouts. We went into a cleaning frenzy, as there were many violations. Ovens and pans were never cleaned, people handled bread and meat without gloves-we’d even had expired meat sitting in our bread freezer for months. Even in the back room, where produce was stored, there were rats that ate watermelons and could carry away cucumbers that were never dealt with.”
Reports have even come in from other countries, such as the following excerpt from a Canadian employee’s story:
I worked for Walmart in canada where I live. I had a terrible experience there and would never do it again. They would force us to work when we told them we were unavailable. Threaten to fire us for asking for time off. Tell us to be active in loss prevention then yell at us when we confronted shoplifters. Told us that if we unionized we would lose our jobs…
They just went on and on about how there is an open door policy and all employees are treated fairly and equally. About how there is no need for a union and any union activity is to be reported to management.
If you support better worker treatment, boycott Wal-Mart. Don’t work there if you can help it. Make sure people are aware of the way Wal-Mart treats their workers and their union-fighting efforts and strategies. The only way to hurt a megacorporation is their profit line, and we can only do that one tiny step at a time.
Share their stories in order to bring attention to Wal-Mart’s poor labor practices and low wages.
Reposted from Occupy Democrats with permission.