Skip to main content

Walmart is in damage control mode as Black Friday approaches, bringing with it planned protests across the country. Vice President of Communications David Tovar went on CNN to unload all the company's ridiculous claims about how well Walmart treats its workers and how just a few bad apples put up to making trouble by the union are the source of all this terrible publicity, only to meet some tough questioning by host Carol Costello.
COSTELLO: The wage gap in this country continues to grow ever wider. you know, we hear from economists all the time, we need a strong middle class to make our overall economy stronger. Is it Walmart’s responsibility to make sure that its employees can support a strong middle-class lifestyle?

TOVAR: We’re working hard every day to provide more opportunities for associates. [...]

COSTELLO: But if a lot of them are making $15,000 a year, you can’t live a strong middle-class lifestyle on that. You just can’t. [...]

TOVAR: Our average rate is about $12.40 an hour far a full time associate. We also offer comprehensive benefit packages as low as $17 a pay period, which is very affordable and we also pay quarterly bonuses, which is something that not a lot of retailers do…. And we know that they appreciate that, they also get a 10 percent discount card. So you have to factor in all of those things when you’re looking for how we’re helping associates.

But you don't get to be a vice president of communications for Walmart without knowing how to keep to your talking points and lie with a smile on your face. Costello did a good job following up with Tovar, but I'm left with a few more questions.

In the interview, Tovar claimed that a majority of Walmart workers are employed full-time, which is interesting since Walmart has always refused to say how many of its workers are full-time. Does Tovar's claim on CNN mean Walmart will be releasing numbers that can be verified?

And how do Tovar's claims line up with the internal company document on pay structures, which:

[...] details a rigid pay structure for hourly employees that makes it difficult for most to rise much beyond poverty-level wages.

Low-level workers typically start near minimum wage, and have the potential to earn raises of 20 to 40 cents an hour through incremental promotions. Flawless performance merits a 60 cent raise per year under the policy, regardless of how much time an employee has worked for the company. As a result, a "solid performer" who starts at Walmart as a cart pusher making $8 an hour and receives one promotion, about the average rate, can expect to make $10.60 after working at the company for 6 years.

If Walmart is such an amazing employer, with a majority of full-time workers, paid an average of $12.40 an hour (that's $25,792 a year, by the way), why, in state after state, does Walmart lead the list of employers whose workers receive public assistance?

If Walmart is so good to its workers, what's with all the gender discrimination lawsuits? Did the union put thousands of women up to falsely claiming discrimination? What about wage theft and safety violations all up and down Walmart's supply chain? Did the union get a wide range of government agencies to fine Walmart and the contractors it tightly oversees for stuff that never happened? For that matter, at Walmart's own stores? In recent years, Walmart has paid hundreds of millions of dollars to settle wage theft charges.

Stand with Walmart workers this Black Friday.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 10:05 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site