You may have seen the photo above making the rounds on the internet. It’s from a Canton, Ohio Wal-Mart store where management put out bins for workers to donate food to other workers for Thanksgiving dinner. In Giving thanks: A luxury that Wal-Mart workers can’t afford, a blog post written for CELA Voice, Sharon Vinick and I discuss why this photo is so significant.
We argue that the photo has gone viral for a reason: it captures perfectly the fact that Wal-Mart associates earn so little that many will struggle to put dinner on their table this Thanksgiving — and management knows it! We discuss how the low wages lead many Wal-Mart workers to rely on public assistance, forcing taxpayers to subsidize Wal-Mart the tune of between $900,000 and $1.75 million per store each year! At the same time, Wal-Mart’s CEO makes more in an hour than a full-time worker makes in an entire year!
We give credit to efforts that have been made to establish fair, living wages for workers, ending with a call to action:
In the coming days, as Americans prepare for — and recover from — their Thanksgiving feasts, we should not only give thanks for what our families have, but make a commitment to helping other families who have far less. Real help requires more than just a few spare canned good thrown into a bin. It requires that we address the reasons that our nation’s workers are in need. We should applaud Governor Jerry Brown for signing into law AB-10, a bill that will increase the minimum wage in California to increase the minimum wage to $10 per hour in 2016. And, we should lobby Congress to pass the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, which would increase the federal minimum wage for all workers, including those at Wal-Mart, to $10.10 by 2015. Such legislation could help in ensuring that all workers can afford a Thanksgiving feast, without relying upon the kindness of their co-workers.
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