NOW: Shame on Wal-Mart

Oct 01, 2002

The NOW (National Organization of Women) and organized labor advocates are again taking exception with how Wal-Mart treats its employees.

Yesterday and this past weekend, NOW activists protested against Wal-Mart’s practices in locations around the country. Linda Klinge, president, Oregon NOW said, “They are the most sued for sex discrimination, wage discrimination, discriminations when it comes to promotions.  Women are the bulk of its work force and only about a third are managers or supervisors.”

NOW estimates that approximately 750,000 women work as associates in Wal-Mart stores, earning an average wage of $6.10 per hour. The federal minimum wage is $5.15 per hour. Wal-Mart’s position is that it pays competitive wages.

Moderator’s Comment: Does NOW have a legitimate beef
with Wal-Mart?

Wal-Mart makes an easy target. They have the deepest pockets
and are the most visible business in retailing.

NOW is looking for Wal-Mart to pay its employees a living
wage which, in some places, would mean doubling current compensation. Philosophically,
most consumers would probably support the idea of paying associates a living
wage. Practically speaking, however, we’re not sure that they would be willing
to subsidize Wal-Mart associates’ raises if they understood how it would affect
purchase prices. [George
Anderson – Moderator


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