CBS New reported today on the Wal-Mart employees who plan to protest on Black Friday. You can read the whole article but let me just share a few snippets:
Dan Hindman has worked at a Wal-Mart near Los Angeles for four years. The former employee of the month, who makes $9.80 an hour, says he is scheduled to work on Black Friday but does not plan to show up.
“Wal-Mart needs to learn that it’s not fair how they treat us,” Hindman says.
The protesters want minimum hourly pay raised to $13, more full-time work and less-costly health care. Next year, their insurance premiums will jump by as much as 36 percent, as Wal-Mart scales back its contribution.
He says his schedule was cut to 15 hours per week when he joined a group of Wal-Mart employees who favor unionizing. He lost custody of his four-year-old son when he could no longer support him.
“So I lost my son and I’m kind of regretting working for Wal-Mart, but I have to provide, you know?” says an emotional Hindman. “It’s the biggest retailer in the world, and you can’t help me provide for my son? It kills me, dude. It really tears me apart, big time.”
Dude. Seriously? You are blaming Wal-Mart for your woes?
The first time I heard about the Wal-Mart protest I admit to feeling a bit sorry for the guys. After all, they might only get half of Thanksgiving Day off. But, then I remembered, this is nothing new. Wal-Mart and other stores have been turning back their opening time for the Black Friday sales for years. And there is a good reason they do it. People come. Simple enough. But they are also trying to adapt to the internet shoppers, finding a way to bring customers in to their stores while fighting against the ease of online shopping.
When you took the job you knew the store would be open. How is it any different from bank employees knowing they can’t be closed more than three days in a row so they have to be open on the Friday after Thanksgiving? No different from firefighters, policemen, and hospital workers who signed on knowing that their employer was open 24/7. They might have to work an undesirable shift. No different from the guy who works at a 7/11 or Circle K…heck, what about a 24 hour drug store? When you agree to work at these places you do so with the knowledge that there are days you will be scheduled when you’d rather be home. It’s life.
To the second part of your complaint: You think you should be paid more to do an unskilled job? Why? If you want to make more money you can either take a more challenging job that others don’t want or you can go back to school and/or get some training. Nobody says you have to get a college degree, there are many training programs available and even some OJT programs that pay as you learn. Wal-Mart and other department stores should pay what the market will bear. Remember, there are 30 MILLION other people out looking for work. Why should Wal-Mart pay your sorry butt more money just because you don’t think it’s fair?
Every job I’ve had has had a salary range. When I got to the top of the salary I had to make a decision did I want to stay in that position with little chance for increase or did I want to make a change, take supervisory classes or learn a new skill?
Is it Wal-Mart’s fault that you aren’t working enough hours to care for your child? It used to be that single parents often had to work two jobs to take care of themselves and their kids. Sure it’s tough. But good grief, it’s not the store’s fault that you need to make more. Get out there and find a second job. This is real life. Don’t sit there waiting for somebody to come bail you out.