There’s been a lot said in the state and national media about Wal-Mart in the last week. The following photo, taken at a Canton-area Wal-Mart location, sparked a national debate about the company:
For the most part, these stories come and go, so I didn’t plan to offer comment on the matter. Then everyone’s least favorite racist hairshirt decided to weigh in on the issue. And, who can pass up the opportunity to drop some knowledge on Ohio’s most out-of-touch politician?
Representative Robert Hagan posted an editorial on the Huffington Post lambasting this particular Wal-Mart for having the audacity to solicit donations from associates for fellow associates—God forbid anyone have any sort of kindness that’s not government mandated, right? Yet his writing left me wondering if he’s ever actually been in a Wal-Mart.
Having been a former employee of Wal-Mart—as a ground-level associate—I found Hagan’s remarks, per the usual, to be incredibly insulting. Rarely is there a time that he opens his mouth without firmly inserting his foot. Wal-Mart offers an opportunity to anyone, without thought to age, race or background, to earn an honest living and provide for their families, regardless of what any liberal politician might say.
In fact, their recent ad campaign speaks directly to the issue:
While some partisan hacks, like the good Representative, will dismiss this ad as nothing more than corporate lies, I can tell you with complete certainty that everything that’s said in the ad is 100% accurate. If you are a good employee, who shows up on time and does the work that is asked of you, there’s a good chance that within a year (likely a lot faster), you’re going to rise to the level of becoming a supervisor.
In three years, you’ll be a manager, and in five to seven years, you’ll likely be running the entire store as a general manager. And every step of the process comes with greater pay and benefits, way beyond what even the most liberal in America say constitutes a living wage.
That’s just how it works: Wal-Mart rewards those employees that take pride in their work.
As for the food drive, those offering criticism simply do not know who works at Wal-Mart. To grossly generalize, you basically have three classifications: (1) those going to school or looking to earn some extra money; (2) those who are entry-level workers in need of basic employment skills; and (3) those who are elderly, retired or disabled.
To the first group, their lives do not hinge on an increase in wage—they’re just looking for some extra cash to supplement their lifestyle. The second group needs their employment at Wal-Mart to teach them basic workplace behaviors (showing up on time, doing the work that is asked of you, general workplace etiquette, etc.). In that respect, Wal-Mart is compensating them with life skills that will pay dividends later in life. And the third group is made up of folks that likely already receive some sort of government assistance—employment at Wal-Mart provides them a way to interact with society, or earn extra dollars to supplement their fixed income.
Outside of the first example, both of the other groups of workers don’t necessarily have the means to provide for a fancy Thanksgiving meal. So why is it a crime for Wal-Mart to see if their fellow workers would be willing to help out? Who better to give to than a coworker? And when did individual charity become a bad thing?
As for the fact that Wal-Mart doesn’t give their workers 40 hours/week, I know for a fact that didn’t use to be the case. My time there—a time that I, and every other employee, was asked to work a full 40 hour week—ended just as Obama won the presidency and whisked in the not-so-aptly named Affordable Care Act. We’ve all seen the laws devastating effects, one of which has been the reduction of worker hours. Heck, it’s even happening in the Democrat-run city of Akron:
We told people that Obamacare would cost the economy jobs and force some employers to cut some employee’s hours down to part-time status to avoid Obamacare’s costs. Democrats said it wouldn’t happen.
Tell that to Tim Wheeler, who is facing having his weekly hours reduced from 40 to 29, so his employer can avoid the extra costs imposed by the “Affordable Care Act”.
So who is this heartless employer who is exploiting loopholes in the law? It must be some greedy corporation like Walmart right? Probably some capitalist pig company run by rich Republican country club types?
Nope. It’s the Democrat controlled city of Akron.
If Bob Hagan wants to point the finger at someone for Wal-Mart reducing its hours, he can place the blame squarely on the shoulders of Barack Obama and members of his own party. If not for Obamacare and the politicians who support it, those employees that Hagan claims to represent would have a full 40 hours and be better able to provide for their families.
Bob Hagan clearly has no idea who works at Wal-Mart and the struggles they face because of the liberal agenda. My guess is he’s never had to work in the restaurant or retail industries, being the son of a prominent politician. Unlike myself, and millions of others, he’s never lent a helping hand to provide for a coworker in need, and he’s never seen firsthand the opportunities that employers like Wal-Mart, McDonalds and others provide to the average, middle-class American.
And for those who doubt me, I’ve seen it. I’ve seen a high school dropout rise to the occasion, climb the employment ladder, and even finish his education. All thanks to Wal-Mart.
So, as we begin this holiday season, God Bless Wal-Mart, and it’s counterparts in the retail and restaurant industries. These employers have accomplished far more to help Ohio than Bob Hagan could ever dream to accomplish.