On Wednesday night, Stephen Colbert helped turn Walmart’s food drive fiasco into a full-blown PR nightmare.
Earlier this week, a Walmart associate shared a photo from a Canton, Ohio store showing empty bins with a sign that read “Please donate food items so associates in need can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner.”
Not only is Walmart not taking responsibility for their low wages and unfair scheduling practices that put many of their employees “in need.” They are placing the burden on their fellow associates to help them out.
“Some critics out there are saying Walmart isn’t doing enough, but they’re wrong because Walmart isn’t doing anything,” Colbert told his audience. “These bins are for employees to donate to other employees. And where can Walmart low-wage employees find cheap food to donate? Walmart.”
“Anyone can afford food there,” he continued, “except people who work at Walmart.”
This is just another way Walmart, despite huge profits and exorbitant executive pay, places its financial burdens on others. Because of Walmart’s low wages, erratic scheduling, and lack of health benefits for more employees, each Walmart Supercenter costs taxpayers approximately $900,000 in Medicaid, SNAP, and other public assistance.
Walmart claims they pay an average hourly wage of $12.78, but independent analyses peg that number closer to $9 an hour. A Walmart executive boasted at a Goldman Sachs conference in September that 475,000 of the company’s U.S. associates make more than $25,000 a year, implying that the vast majority of Walmart’s 1.4 million American employees make less than that.
This business model is a choice, not a necessity. A Demos report showed how Walmart could double hourly wages just by not repurchasing billions of dollars its own stock. An analysis from Fortune magazine’s senior editor Stephen Gandel — hardly a left-winger — demonstrates that Walmart could give its employees a 50 percent raise and still deliver on its promises to shareholders.
Thus far, Walmart is refusing to listen to shareholders, independent business analysts, or its own workers. That’s why we’re standing up on Black Friday – stand with us by finding an event near you.