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Walmart's big "we're going to hire 100,000 veterans" announcement drew the big headlines, but that wasn't the only public relations ploy the retail giant launched Tuesday. Walmart U.S. CEO Bill Simon also claimed:
[...] that part-time employees would receive more information about full-time job openings and have the first shot at those jobs, and added: “We will also bring more transparency to our scheduling system so part-time workers can choose more hours for themselves.”
OUR Walmart member Venanzi Luna responded in a statement, calling it "a win" that Simon had addressed the issue of part-time scheduling at all, but noting that "we need these words to translate into real action, and we will continue to speak out to make sure that Walmart is addressing this problem, not just making a publicity statement."

Simon's announcement that Walmart would buy more American-made products similarly drew questions:

Wal-Mart's U.S. unit says about two-thirds of the goods it buys for its stores are made, sourced from or grown in the United States, citing data from its suppliers. It did not give a dollar amount for how much it pays for those goods, or what percentage the increased domestic sourcing would bring.

The company has previously run "Made in America" campaigns, and in the early 1990s it was criticized for promoting foreign goods as domestically made.

Last year, 55 percent of Walmart U.S. sales came from groceries like food and drinks as well as other products that are typically sourced locally. Only 7 percent of Walmart U.S. sales were of apparel, jewelry and accessories, which retailers typically get from lower-cost countries.

Even coverage of the plan to hire veterans cited Walmart's low wages and high proportion of part-time jobs more than the company likely hoped, and those weren't the only questions. The Atlantic's Jordan Weissman pointed out that:
The company claims to have an annual turnover rate of around 37 percent. With 1.4 million U.S. employees, that means it needs to hire more than 500,000 people every year at its stores (which, if you stop and try to process it, is kind of nuts). In that context, 100,000 veterans over five years really isn't that big a number.
Additionally, every veteran it hires makes Walmart eligible for tax credits potentially worth thousands of dollars per hire.

Basically, anything "nice" Walmart claims to be doing falls apart when you look at it. And while the company can still get headline writers and a few reporters to fall for its PR stunts, increasingly, people are learning to take a second look when Walmart claims it's just a big cuddly teddy bear.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 09:16 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Cuddly... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, LinSea, citylights

    ...like rough stainless steel...

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 09:58:34 AM PST

  •  Tax Credits? (4+ / 0-)
    Additionally, every veteran it hires makes Walmart eligible for tax credits potentially worth thousands of dollars per hire
    Those tax credits should only be available to companies that commit to full-time employment and then be available to the company after the second year of employment or partially available if the employee leaves of their own accord for a better job, (as a "reward for doing the right thing") because many Vets are not going to find working at a Wal*Mart a challenging job, but might find that it helps them transition back to civilian life quite well, in that it (re) introduces them to the realities of civilan employment.  

    Otherwise Wal*Mart is going to turn this into a huge tax-avoidance scam, and claim that they're as patriotic as hell, while screwing Vets as hard as possible.  They know that with most veterans they're getting hard-working, motivated, workers who will toe the corporate line, at least at first.  It's a great way to get folks into their workforce who help their bottom line by taking sub-standard wages and benefits as well as allowing them to get a tax credit which will go straight to the Walton Family and Shareholders pockets, but never be re-invested in making Wal*Mart a better place to work in terms of benefits or working conditions.  

    A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism. -Carl Sagan

    by jo fish on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 10:43:57 AM PST

  •  Wal Mart is worried about their bribery scandal... (4+ / 0-)

    “The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” — Marcus Aurelius

    by LamontCranston on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 10:57:21 AM PST

  •  Wal Mart: Their charm offensive is far more (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694

    offensive than charming. Aaagggghhh!

    They are huge hypocrites.  For once could we please have the tax credit written so that corporations like this can't game the system?  The worst of it will be the pat-ourselves-on-the-back commercials that Wal Mart is going to run.  Gack!

    What a deal for our veterans.  We think so much of you we're going to give you a job that doesn't pay a living wage and reward the gazillionaire corporation with tax credits.

    Thanks for the post.  We definitely need to keep on this story, so that everybody involved, Wal Mart, Congress, and the President know that we no longer accept business as usual.

    "In politics stupidity is not a handicap." Napoleon Bonaparte

    by citylights on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 12:16:46 PM PST

  •  Walmart's recent public relations efforts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694

    are a response to our campaign for employees' rights.  Walmart feels threatened.

    This tells me that our campaign is starting to catch on.  And that it is time to redouble our efforts.  Go for the jugular.

  •  my knee jerk reaction to this news report..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694

    was: what's in it for Walmart?  It's not in their corporate DNA to do nice for nice sake.  They have never shown any conscious corporate responsibility.  They continue to offer merchandise that is of substandard quality with no lasting value.  And, I didn't note any mention of offering all those veteran's a living wage.   They won't be sticking around if all that's offered is the state minimum wage....despicable.  

    Tolerance and patience should not be read as signs of weakness. They are signs of strength - The Dalai Lama

    by chicklet on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 01:23:23 PM PST

  •  Looking for a dark lining (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Mike Taylor

    in the silver cloud?

    •  That's for sure (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mister T

      Yup - Walmart are just a bunch of assholes for saying they want to hire 100,000 vets.

      Look at all the other compaanies lining up to hire 100,000 vets ..........(I think you need more than none to form a line)

      The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

      by ctexrep on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:36:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Possibly you aren't getting it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RUNDOWN

        Roughly 5% of US citizens are veterans. Roughly 10% of the labor force (age 18 to 65) are veterans.

        Wal Mart has just committed that roughly 4% of their hires over the next 5 years would be veterans. Assuming the proportion of people they hire under the age of 18 is relatively small (it is), this is less than half of what you would expect them to hire if they were picking names out of a hat.

        So you tell me: should we all bow down in thanks to Wal Mart, for committing to hire half as many veterans as they would by accident anyway, at substandard wages, and making sure that the government pays for their healt care by keeping them all well below the poverty line?

        Nothing but the best for our boys in uniform!

        •  For sure (0+ / 0-)

          I bet those greedy slave drivers at Walmart will even require the vets have to work if the get a job there.....bastards

          The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

          by ctexrep on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 05:33:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I'll check your stats but (0+ / 0-)

          "lets just not do anything" is so much better? They have a plan, however imperfect, to assist veterans with employment. Give 'em a break.

          •  To repeat... (0+ / 0-)

            ..."let's just not do anything" would result in them hiring roughly twice as many veterans as they have committed to hiring over the next five years.

            •  no it wouldn't (0+ / 0-)

              your stats (which I still haven't verified) indicate possibilities like likely outcomes. They as likely to hire X number of vets according to a pool. But making it a point to hire them, rather than hiring the typical ratio in the population , means they will (or should) hire more than they would otherwise. Stats and numbers and stuff. So yeah give them some props.

              •  Walmart didn't say they'd do that (0+ / 0-)

                They said they would hire x number of veterans over the next 5 years. They didn't say they would do anything specific in order to meet this goal.

                They can accomplish this goal by asking each person that they hire whether they are a veteran, and then checking off the box. They are more or less guaranteed to meet this goal unless they discriminate against veterans in a huge way.

                Basically, what you're saying is, 'because they said that they would do this thing, we must assume that they are going to do MUCH MORE than what they said they'd do'. When in reality, Occam's Razor says that Walmart made this announcement because they knew it would take no effort and would make them look good to people like you.

                By the way, do feel free to check my numbers. It's certainly possible I messed up somewhere. But I'm pretty sure I didn't, because this is absolutely typical of Walmart.

                •  nah (0+ / 0-)

                  They said They said they would hire 100,000 veterans over the next 5 years. Who else is doing that? ... snooze.

                •  The faulty logic part (0+ / 0-)

                  may not be in the numbers you provide. For one the vet numbers indicate 17-70) and I'd say those apply for jobs at walmart or anywhere else come from a much narrower age group. But a larger stats issue is that just because veterans (or any other population) make up X % of the workforce and walmart hires x amount of people there is no guarantee that  veterans will apply to walmart in direct proportion to their representation in the population. Indeed that would be quite a rarity. Instead walmart is trying to get more of that demo to apply at walmart than otherwise would.

                  Now unless we know how many vets apply to walmart or are hired by walmart there's no way to know if "they would have hired them anyway" is true. I think they are doing an exemplary thing, and I'm sure some good PR is in their mind as well, but give them a break.

  •  I still don't get why a huge corporation (6+ / 0-)

    like Walmart gets away with not paying their employees a working wage while the American public subsidizes what Walmart should be paying...

    Year of the Weakest Tea

    by 2014 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 07:56:23 PM PST

    •  It's called (0+ / 0-)

      Libertarianism.

      The freedom to destroy social capital.

      See WP on The Heritage Foundation

      [What a name for this piece of self-serving crap]

      The Heritage Foundation is an American conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C. Heritage's stated mission is to "formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense".[2]

      The foundation took a leading role in the conservative movement during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, whose policies drew significantly from Heritage's policy study Mandate for Leadership.[3] …

      The Heritage Foundation was founded in 1973 by Paul Weyrich, Edwin Feulner and Joseph Coors.[5] … Later, under president Frank J. Walton, the Heritage Foundation introduced using direct mail fundraising and Heritage's annual income grew to $1 million per year in 1976.[7]

      [bunch of other BIG names]

      Heritage Foundation is also a part of the Koch Foundation Associate Program.[45]

      Now you know.

      United We Understand

      by dorkenergy on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:29:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Are there no workhouses? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dorkenergy

    Are there no prisons?

    If the part-timers don't like what we give them, then they'd better quit and decrease the surplus workforce.

  •  I heard this being 'reported' (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Bob Love, RUNDOWN

    on NPR the other day, with their newsreaders gleefully reading the Walmart press releases in their chirpy voices. Not a hint of a question of Why or When or How or any other basic journalism question.

    We are often so identified with whatever thoughts we may be having that we don’t realize the thoughts are a commentary on reality, and not reality itself. -- Gangaji

    by Mnemosyne on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 07:58:41 PM PST

  •  Pssht (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Bob Love, RUNDOWN

    The company I work for is comprised of almost 30% veterans and we pay a living wage plus benefits!  It's called the Federal Government

  •  And more good things to come (3+ / 0-)

    What could possibly go wrong?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

    The world's largest retailer wants a bigger piece of America's growing health care market.

    Walmart, which already makes a lot of money from health care through its pharmacies and retail stores, is eyeing a line of business that would sell health insurance to small employers, and the company also wants to add to its chain of in-store health care clinics, the Orlando Business Journal reported in two stories Friday.

    When someone is impatient and says, "I haven't got all day," I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day? George Carlin

    by msmacgyver on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:00:05 PM PST

  •  Veterans will have a better shot at full-time jobs (5+ / 0-)

    most veterans already have health coverage, so giving veterans full-time jobs is a way for Walmart to dodge Obamacare requirements for full-time employees' health coverage (and to sponge off the government at the same time). This is the whole idea behind Walmart’s pro-veteran charm offensive (i.e. to dodge Obamacare in every way possible).

  •  Walmart should be viewed as an enemy comabatant (6+ / 0-)

    against a healthy American economy.

    I see a very beautiful planet that seems very inviting and peaceful. Unfortunately, it is not.…We're better than this. We must do better. Cmdr Scott Kelley

    by wretchedhive on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:14:15 PM PST

  •  Wow, so not only can Walmart (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RUNDOWN

    receive tax breaks for hiring veterans, but the Government can subsidize their profits further by providing those veterans with welfare to make up the difference between what Walmart pays and what it costs to survive.

    Because our veterans deserve the very best.

    Why anyone ever sets foot in that store, I will never understand.

    Besides the the food they sell is Kraft poison.

  •  One of the largest , if not the largest , (0+ / 0-)

    sellers of guns and ammo want to hire a ton of Vets just before the gun rules reform ?
    I doubt there is any connection .

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:26:43 PM PST

  •  To a Vietnam Veteran, this is pitiful!!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RUNDOWN, JamieG from Md

    I commented on another post recently that after almost three years of unemployment my fears at having to take a job as a Y'allMart Greeter might just become reality.

    But alas, even that is not to be!  The Y'all-Mart veteran hiring binge, if we can call it that, is limited only to those discharged within a year.  Now, why a veteran would leave behind unemployment likely at $11 plus an hour (at least here in CA) at maximum rate, for a minimum wage job is beyond me.

    And the math further does not work in that they have around 7% veterans in their workforce, but at 100,000 over five years, 20,000 average per year, they are committed to hiring veterans at the rate of of less than 5% of their 500,000 per year turnover.

    Now, to be fair, Y'all-Mart is missing out on a lot of tax credits for non-disabled veterans since those vets have to be out of work for six months or more to get the credit.   So any truly newly discharged veterans will not qualify them.  

    But with two wars that have lasted far too long, limiting a hiring push to those most recently discharged is truly not very honorable.

    So I guess I've dodged the Y'all-Mart Greeter bullet a little longer!!! Phew!

  •  Having worked at Walmart, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    swansong50, dorkenergy, RUNDOWN

    I am not impressed. Everything is about squeezing every last penny of profit. It's as real and as sincere as DisneyWorld.
    Their management style is completely top - down; employees are disposable and bottom level managers aren't much better off.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:31:44 PM PST

  •  Walmart has a 37% Turnover Rate? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RUNDOWN

    Wow! That says a lot!

    When companies get up over 25% they are usually some big time bottom feeders...

    The worst company I ever worked for was at 30% and IMHO they really sucked. I wasn't there very long, I have a low tolerance for parasites...

    "Do you realize the responsibility I carry?
    I'm the only person standing between Richard Nixon and the White House."
    ~John F. Kennedy~

    -7.5,-5.8

    by Oldestsonofasailor on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:07:17 PM PST

  •  On the other hand maybe they have figured out (0+ / 0-)

    how their policy of moving manufacturing overseas has help to destroy the middle class in this country and that has been bad for business since those middle class workers were their customers.   Henry Ford built the middle class so that there would be someone to buy his cars.  Who knows, maybe Walmart wants its customers back.  

    The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones! - John Maynard Keynes

    by Do Something on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:01:03 PM PST

  •  This isn't even excellent news for John McCain. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RUNDOWN

    Walmart synonym:

    pariah      If you describe someone as a pariah, you mean that other people dislike them so much that they refuse to associate with them.

    Father Time remains undefeated.

    by jwinIL14 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:45:12 PM PST

  •  So they shouldn't hire vets? (0+ / 0-)

    They should not hire them because it might entitle them to tax credits? I'm no fan of Wal*Mart, but the right thing doesn't cease being right simply because you made money doing it.

  •  Hooray! (0+ / 0-)

    And now it's been announced that I can purchase health insurance at Walmart!

    Even for my employees!

    They Just Have Everything!

    People who say they don't care what people think are usually desperate to have people think they don't care what people think. -George Carlin

    by downtownLALife on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:19:57 AM PST

  •  Neither trust Walmart nor buy there... (0+ / 0-)

    NEVER.

    Screw 'em.

    Remember the many Mom and Pop or locally owned businesses that have been snuffed by the siting of a Walmarsh in a small town, urban neighborhood, etc.

    Think of the small businesses that Walmarsh has afffected as either the walking wounded or the prematurely dead.

    In essense, would you kick a vet? Nope. Neither should you kick the economic warriors overwhelmed by an alien (Walmarsh) invasion.

    Meh. Capitalism alá Walmart.

    Ugh. --UB.

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

    by unclebucky on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:30:10 AM PST

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