Walmart and Healthcare

August 1, 2006

docAs we look at the uninsured in Escambia County, I think we need to look at our larger employers, particularly the out-of-town companies, and see how they’re impacting our healthcare system.

Here is an internal memo (written for the WalMart Board of Director’s 2006 retreat) by Susan Chambers – Executive VP for Benefits – that the NY TIMES got a hold of:Walmart Internal Memo

Chambers recommends targeting younger, healthier workers and to arrange for, “all jobs to include some physical activity (e.g., all cashiers do some cart-gathering).”

She acknowledges that 46% of the children of Wal-Mart’s 1.33 million United States employees were uninsured or on Medicaid.

Here is the link to the full NY TIMES ARTICLE (you may have to register to read it fully): Click here.

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12 Responses to “Walmart and Healthcare”

  1. Raymond Says:

    Like I said , Why don’t we “run em out of town”?

  2. routzen Says:

    I’m not saying that. The point I’m making about healthcare, uninsured and the amount of your tax dollars that are already going to pay for their care is that the issue is deeper than deadbeat, generationally poor people.

    We’ve got profitable large corporations using the welfare system to their advantage.

    Who gets hurt is the little guy – the small business owner who can’t compete price-wise and who still tries to treat his employees fairly.

  3. Raymond Says:

    Ok, not the answer I was hoping for. How about this…. “WHY” not run walmart out of town?

  4. Sara G. Says:

    Well, Rick, there goes any chance of you ever getting any advertising from Wal Mart. They will pull your papers from their racks soon – just like they did the PNJ last summer, when O’Brien wrote much tamer things.

  5. routzen Says:

    Running them out of them isn’t possible or legal. Free enterprise is still part of our economy. Public and governmental pressure is what’s needed.

  6. Raymond Says:

    still not getting it…..What would it hurt if we ran them out of town? Forget the legallity.

  7. J Says:

    It’s not that easy. Walmart can’t be “run out of town” as if it were some kind of misunderstood beast. Even if we wanted to, it would take more than angry villagers armed with pitchforks and torches to remove this creature. Removing Walmart isn’t necessarily the right answer. Society constantly pressuring Walmart to accept a higher level of responsibility for the welfare of its employees is something that communities can do to bring about change. Without pitchforks.
    Vox Populi Vox Dei…

  8. Raymond Says:

    STILL not getting it, I’m NOT propossing to Run them out of town, But my question is, What Harm would it cause if they were run out.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    I would welcome a move like that. Would be really nice to see some commerce return to the hands of the small business owner.

  10. GoSaveAnotherCity Says:

    Why not run Walmart out of town?

    Actually, for several reasons:

    (1) Even with their crappy benefits, they employ maybe 200-300 workers per store (just a guess) at a better than minimum wage. I can think of five stores in Escambia County – Creighton, Hwy 29, Blue Angel, Mobile Hwy and soon, Warrington. That’s 1,000-1,500 people that would need to find another job.

    (2) The average soccer mom would flip if they were gone. Like them or not, they do keep prices down, they’re convenient and they carry just about anything you can think of. Your local dime store/hardware store/grocery store would not be able to compete with the breadth of Walmart’s selection/purchasing power.

    (3) Local government would flip if they were gone. Again, they might not be the employer they should be, but they own property, pay taxes and help recycle our purchasing dollars by keeping them here. Remember, sales taxes and property taxes are the main sources of municipal budgets. If we lose sales taxes, guess what happens to your property taxes?

    (4) They also stimulate other business growth. Have you ever seen a Walmart that wasn’t surrounded by restaurants, other stores, etc.? I haven’t. Much of that goes away (or is forced to relocate at significant cost) if Walmart goes away.

    An interesting side note: Keep an eye on the City of Chicago, which passed an ordinance last week nicknamed the “Big-Box Minimum Wage Ordinance.” It basically says that any company with at least $1 Billion in annual sales that has a retail store in the Chicago city limits that exceeds 90,000 square feet is required to pay a minimum wage of at least $10.00/hour, along with additional fringe benefits of $3.00/hour. This issue will certainly end up in court, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

    For the record, I agree that Walmart should be socially responsible to provide a better overall wage package for their employees, but I can’t see where running them out of town is the answer. More negatives than positives to a local economy if they leave.

  11. Lilyana Says:

    I don’t know much about the way WalMart handles their hiring of human resources to operate their stores. I do know that Unions are almost a thing of the past… but everyday I read more and more over the abusive treatment many of these store workers get from their employers … and the worst part of it… that most of the time this abusive and illegal treatment goes umpunished… Most of the time the workers do not have the economical means to file legal suits against them and the capacity to expose the situation to the general public supporting the store, which could also help in letting the store managers know of their discontent with these sad situations, and request that they stop the practice right away.

    Basically, I agree with your comment.. but I think, this problem could be solved if a “strong” Union/Federation (Teamsters, SIU, etc.) comes in and tries to unionize all WalMart workers… so they can channel their demands for better pay and working conditions… letting the Union negotiate fair working hours, salaries, life insuance, retirement benefits, healthcare, and medicines plans, vacations, promotions based on workers merits, outstanding performances and years of dedicated services, as well as other fringe benefits.

    I hope somebody out there reads this and if he or she knows of some Union/Federation who is strong enough to do the organizing job and then hold elections… to really GO FOR IT… I know that many workers will appreciate their help and concern to do justice to these workers in need.

    My best wishes go to all of them.

  12. Tamer Hosny Says:

    tamer

    Interesting post. I came across this blog by accident, but it was a good accident. I have now bookmarked your blog for future use. Best wishes. Tamer Hosny.

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