Last week, several large retailers made headlines by announcing that they would be open on Thanksgiving Day. Not content with the usual mad rush to sell holiday gifts on Black Friday, the retailers are hoping to increase sales by dragging their employees away from their families and the dinner table.
Chief among the holiday scrooges is Walmart.
When Walmart first made its announcement, its public relations team assured the press that its “associates” (Walmarts euphemism for underpaid employees) would be treated to increased pay and a special dinner. They said the associates would have “fun.” What they didn’t say is that they would cut the hours for these associates before and after the holiday in order to prevent the associates from making extra money!
Such double talk is nothing new for anyone who follows Walmart. Last year, the corporation made $15.7 billion for its owners, the Walton family. Unfortunately, that money hasn’t trickled down to the employees. Indeed, in recognition of the low wages paid to associates, some Walmart stores have been holding Thanksgiving charity food drives for their own employees!
But Walmart is far from the only corporate scrooge.
McDonald’s also refuses to pay employees a living wage. It seems the company even recognizes that fact. But, instead of raising wages, the company has created a website to help its employees better budget their incomes. The site not only recommends that its employees get a second job in order to make ends meet, it shows a recommended budget that fails to include FOOD! (One can only assume that the company expects employees to rely on food stamps to feed their families.) And recognizing the financial stress of the holidays, the company suggests that its employees might save a little extra money by SELLING THEIR HOLIDAY GIFTS!
Yet these very same companies are fighting any potential increase to the minimum wage. That is an incredible show of hubris given that the executives of both companies pay themselves millions.