It has just been made widely known that Alice Walton, one of the richest women in America and one of the heirs of the Walmart family fortune donated $353,400 to the Hillary Clinton campaign. The contribution was made in December of last year and it was quietly disclosed last month and it’s now been made known to the wider public.
Hillary Clinton served on the Walmart board of directors between 1986 and 1992, at the same time as John Tate, an executive vice-president who was also a board of director. Tate was notorious for his anti-union policies against Walmart’s workers, who went on record to say:
“Labor unions are nothing but blood-sucking parasites living off the productive labor of people who work for a living.”
He served four of the six years with Hillary Clinton, she was largely silent about Walmart’s efforts to destroy the organization efforts of the Walmart’s workers, who are some of the most abused and underpaid in corporate America. This is a woman who calls herself a champion of women and working people yet stood by silently for six years while Walmart abused its workers. Walmart, the largest retailer in the world, who rakes in billions in profits by selling substandard products made from slave labor in the third & developing world, will not give their millions of retail workers a fixed predictable schedule, health benefits which don’t leave them starving after pre-tax deductions and a living wage so that their workers don’t have to depend on food stamps, food pantries and the generosity of others just to eat.
At a 1990 stockholder’s meeting, Hillary Clinton said – “I’m always proud of Wal-Mart and what we do and the way we do it better than anybody else.”
Since the time she’s served on the board of directors, she’s sought to distance herself from Walmart. She’s consistently downplayed the time she served on the board of Walmart, not mentioned in her autobiography and even went so far as to return donation funds from them in 2005. Clinton insists she is against any corporations who discourage labor organization. She has obviously changed her her mind about her association with the Walton family.
To demonstrate what a betrayal it is to working people women and children (Walmart employs a lot of low-wage earning women, many of whom have children), here’s a list of the “best of” reel of the worst labor practices by Walmart.
Anti-Union practices: Walmart is notorious for its anti-labor organization practices. Any workers or store who seek to unionize are first intimidated by the big bosses from hicktown, Arkansas who fly in via private jet to explain to workers why unionizing is bad, and the reason is, ‘you will leave us no choice but to close the store’. They also show a video showing its anti-union stance to all of its new hires, ‘explaining’ to them the virtues of remaining unorganized – flexible schedule and self-determination without the interference of bad union bosses. While it is legal for companies to relay to their employees their stance about union organization, it is not legal to intimidate or in anyway discourage by force any efforts at organization, this would include – threatening layoffs, store closures, hour reductions and denial of promotions.
It’s claims that their stance is consistent with all other “discount retailers” is false.Walmart is not like any other discount retailer. Walmart is not the Dollar General Store chains or the 99C Store chains who actually sell discarded items from other retail stores at a discount price of $1. Walmart sells a full range of products, from groceries, pre-packaged foods, electronics, flat screen televisions, video game consoles, clothing and other household items. And it is able to sell them for cheaper than its competitors because they suppress the wages of their retail workers, all 1.3 million of them.
Walmart, as much as possible, keep a majority of their workers on a part-time basis so that they do not have to give them health benefits and 401K. Many workers who need full time work and overtime to supplement their income are consistently denied, all to save a few bucks so they can continue to sell at prices lower than other retailers:
There is enough wealth to spread around in America. Last year Walmart made $16 billion in profits — so there is no excuse for not giving associates, like me, a living wage; for not giving associates who want it, 40 hours a week, and overtime whenever needed, and full-time benefits. Walmart doesn’t seem to understand or doesn’t care to understand that while it is profiting from the current “low-wage” business model, the company can still profit and improve the current situation of its workers if the company would implement a business model suited more to the needs of the individual rather than the profits of the company. Until this change takes place, workers like me will continue to struggle. The struggle is very real. Trust me, I know. I work at Walmart. – Jamaad Reed
Walmart also consistently engages in wage theft by way of training workers for their new promotions but that promotion never comes.
There was a point in time when I was training to become the customer service manager as well. However, after close to six months of “training” — often doing this job all by myself — I wasn’t offered the position yet I was still scheduled to work as the customer service supervisor, and I wasn’t compensated for the work I did. – Jamaad Reed
Besides low pay, wage theft, unreliable working hours, Walmart also has a history of discriminating against women. Women make up the majority of Walmart’s employees, 815,000 in total (47% of its sales workforce). Women were consistently denied raises and promotions. One affidavit after another says a woman who’s worked at one store for 9 years without a promotion, or a woman who was employee of the month twice in one year didn’t receive a raise nor promotion, Duke v. Walmart was filed as a class action lawsuit in 2001. It made its way through district courts, appeals courts, federal courts and finally the Supreme Court in 2011. The Supreme Court decided 5-4 that this suit could not be a class action lawsuit because there is no way to prove that Walmart as a whole company had a consistent policy of gender discrimination, even if every single allegation provided in the affidavits were proven true, they still could not prove that Walmart, the corporate entity had a deliberate policy to discriminate against women. The women were free to file smaller independent lawsuits against their former employer but a class action suit was out of the question. Justice Scalia (the jurist with the brilliant mind) led the majority followed by Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Kennedy. Walmart had an outright victory, they know that these low wage earning women do not have the means to file an expensive lawsuit against them.
Perhaps most disgraceful of all is the pay at Walmart is so low that many of the workers, most of whom are women with children need public assistance and food pantries to feed their families. Food insecurity is a huge problem with Walmart workers. Workers have had to empty their pockets and put their single dollar bills and loose change together to buy lunch to share, which by the way employees do not enjoy an employee discount. Employees get discounts on grocery items but not deli food items or pre-packaged food items. In a store in Oklahoma City in 2014, Walmart organized a food drive for their employees during the holidays as most do not have enough leftover to host a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal for their families. If this isn’t the ultimate irony I don’t know what is. Walmart sells food and groceries, the leftovers are probably thrown away or if they are feeling charitable, donated to local soup kitchens or food pantries, which by some point their sales associates may need visit to feed their families. So instead of just giving leftover food and groceries to their associates from the store directly, they create an extra hurdle.
In 2015, Walmart gave a raise to about 500,000 of their employees. Their wage floor is no longer the federal minimum wage, their hourly wages start at $9 per hour and by February of 2016, it would go up to $10 per hour. Even at $10 per hour, and assuming the associate is lucky enough to work 40 hours a week, that is still only $19,200 per year and yet the CEO acts like he’s doing everybody a big favor. Despite the floor wage increase, Walmart still did not guarantee all its associates full time employee privileges should they want to, some stores have decreased the hours of employees after the wage increase was instituted.
Back to Hillary Clinton, she just accepted a hefty donation from the family who invented the ‘low wage’ business model. The founder of Walmart Sam Walton died in 1992 leaving his wife and heirs billionaires. It is estimated the widow of Sam Walton and his four children each are worth around $20-30 billion each. They are not involved in the day -to-day running of the company. They sit back and collect their dividends, the family still own about 40% of Walmart stocks.
If voters have the niggling feeling that Hillary Clinton treats her supporters with contempt, this proves it. She is fully aware that young voters are abandoning her in droves in favor of Bernie Sanders, but she made a shrewd calculation against Sander’s un-electability and will continue her business as usual to get where she needs to go, and that is to accept big donations from Wall Street, rotten and corrupt corporations like Walmart and rub in our noses.
My support for Hillary Clinton ended some time ago, I did so with a heavy heart and disappointment but my decision was right. She has sold out over and over again. I am by no means a political idealist where I expect clean records for political candidates. I was accepting of the fact that she is the establishment, that she shifted from political activism to being a career politician – one can’t be in politics for 40 years and not be tainted by it. Now she’s not even a feminist who cares about the lives of women and children. She cares about herself and the 1%. She doesn’t deserve our support and words like “even if they (the youth) don’t support me, I support them” (paraphrase) is further proof of her condescension.
#NotWithHer, #NotHillary, #FeelTheBern