Yesterday, I gathered my passport and drove across the Rhode Island border into Fall River, MA to get some plastic storage tubs at Walmart. Little did I know I’d run into a protest by Occupy Fall River.
I tapped one participant on the shoulder and asked what their demands were. He said “higher wages.” Me, always the noodge, said, “do you know what the Walmart employee makes now?” Minimum wage, he answered. I said, are you sure?
I went and bought what I needed and on my way out, saw two managers and asked for their comment. He said that none of the protesters lives in Fall River, none is a current or former Walmart employee yet are being sent out to protest wages at every Walmart across the nation.
One manager said to me that he and his wife have both worked at Walmart for over fifteen years, both are now managers, and both are very happy with their salary, benefits and bonus package.
As I exited, the protesters were outside so I stopped and asked them a few questions. (Note: the woman in the white jacket did most of the talking. The happy man of the group was sporting an SEIU jacket on with an Elizabeth Warren sticker said nary a word, but he nodded alot. The woman holding the placard spoke last.)
The conversation went something like this:
Me: Could you tell me the reason for your protest today?
Woman #1: yes, we want Walmart to pay its sales associates more.
Me: How much do you think they make now and how much would you like them to make?
Woman #1: They should make a decent and competitive wage.
Me: But give me a dollar figure. Your statement is meaningless unless you know what the Fall River employees make.
Woman #1: We KNOW, believe me we know, that their salaries are low.
Me: But you have not answered my question. What dollar amount are you protesting that you feel is too low?
Woman #1: [crickets]
Me: Who is paying you to protest today and how much an hour are YOU getting to be here?
Woman #1: I don’t care for your tone or your question.
Me: But it’s quite relevant. If you are protesting a wage for people who HAVE a job, a job they likely treasure dearly, no matter their position at the store, and you are getting paid by some well-funded block at a scale higher than you claim the Walmart employees make, then aren’t you being hypocritical?
Woman #2 (the one in the vest, holding the placard). If the Walmart CEO were a christian, he’d give up his salary for his employees.
Me, incredulous: You don’t mean to tell me you think by keeping a salary he earns, to keep afloat the millions of employees worldwide, he’s not being christian? What is the name of the Walmart CEO anyway?
I left but get this….The SEIU guy left as I did, in a beautiful big and very new-looking Chrysler 300. Hmmmmmm.
I did some homework when I got home and found quite a few articles about Walmart’s salary. This post is not to justify Walmart or their practices, but as a point of saying that if you Occupy….
From the website Payscale.com
that compared salaries between Target and Walmart employees:
1. Greeter/Floor Sales Representative
Target: $6.77 – $12.06
Walmart: $6.98 – $12.18 per hour
Target: $7.38 – $10.27 per hour
Walmart: $7.30 – $10.40 per hour
3. Retail Store Assistant Manager
Target: $48,003 per year
Walmart: $42,134 per year
4. Retail Store Manager
Target: $65,960 per year
Walmart: $60,326 per year
5. Retail Pharmacist
Target: $114,492 per year
Walmart: $106,138 per year
6. Department Manager, Retail Store
Target: $48,457 per year
Walmart: $29,211 per year
7. Customer Service Sales Associate
Target: $7.34 – $16.76 per hour
Walmart: $7.79 – $12.75 per hour
8. Laborer, Freight, Stock, Material Mover
Target: $6.93 – $14.08 per hour
Walmart: $7.35 – $14.90 per hour
As for time off, Target starts out by offering slightly more vacation for workers with less than a year’s tenure. Those with one year of experience at the store typically get a week off with pay. At Walmart, it’s the same.
The biggest disparity between Walmart and Target are in employee bonuses. Walmart is much more generous for some positions, offering its assistant store managers $2,948 as opposed to Target’s $2,457. Store managers at Walmart get a whopping $9,958, nearly double Target’s $4,880 for the same job.