Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest retailer & grocer, recently dropped health care coverage for all part-time workers under 30 hours a week. The announcement came because more people enrolled in the company health care plan than anticipated. Wal-Mart acted to cut benefits for their part-time workers as a means of saving roughly $500 million per year. The retail giant has directed the affected workers to enroll in the deeply unpopular Obamacare health coverage.
Perhaps it is not coincidental that at 12:30PM PT Thursday, workers in Wal-Mart stores throughout California staged a sit-down strike demanding better pay and full-time hours. The latter benefit would entitle them to health care coverage. Workers pointed out that the corporate office fosters a culture of intimidation against employees who speak out for better wages & hours. The company makes $16 billion a year in profits. The Walton family has amassed a fortune of $150 billion. The workers are asking for a wage of $15/hr which would amount to an annual income of $31,000. They point out that most of the workforce earns less than $25,000 a year.
Employees are correct in pointing out that it is through their work efforts that the Walton family enjoys such wealth. Protestors modeled their actions after 100 courageous women at Woolworths in 1937. At the time, Lee G. Lovett points out that the company was the nation’s largest retail chain. The women wanted better pay & benefits and succeeded. As for Wal-Mart’s protestors, they vowed to conduct the same sit-in strike on Black Friday, the nation’s biggest retail shopping day of the year, if their demands are not met.