Wal-Mart Enacts Unfair Wage and Work Policy
By Gina Mittal, Communications Intern
NOW staff photo
Olga Vives, NOW Executive Vice President, leads a protest against Wal-Mart's unfair labor practices.
Consistent with their pattern of discriminatory and anti-family actions, Wal-Mart, the largest employer in the United States, announced more policies that will hurt employees. The new policies cap wages in certain positions, allow the hiring of more part-time workers in lieu of full-time workers, and revise scheduling practices in a manner that could force some employees to be on-call 24 hours a day. They have also tightened their employee attendance policy, going so far as to mark shifts that were started 10 minutes late as being "incomplete."
NOW has continued to criticize Wal-Mart as a "Merchant of Shame" since 2002 because of the company's unfair labor practices and policies, including class-action allegations of sexual discrimination in pay and promotion on behalf of 1.6 million current and former female employees. According to statistics gathered for the lawsuit, women are 92% of cashiers at Wal-Mart, but only 14 percent of managers. Even at the highest levels, there is a huge wage gap between female and male vice presidents.
Wal-Mart has been charged with wage abuses, exclusion of contraceptive coverage in insurance plans (which, because of lawsuits was changed on January 1), violations of child labor laws and the Americans with Disabilities Act, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and encouraging employees to file for public benefits to mask the company's failure to offer adequate wages and benefits.
The new wage and work rule policy is intended to weed out the higher-wage, full-time workers, replacing them with part-time employees with lower wages and no benefits. By capping wages and requiring employees to be available around-the-clock, Wal-Mart will force out employees with family or caregiving responsibilities, predominantly women, as well as long-time employees who will be denied salary increases and forced into unreasonable working hours.
"Wal-Mart's new policies continue to show the greedy side of this retailer" says NOW Executive Vice President Olga Vives. "Despite many claims of corporate responsibility and care for its 'valued' employees — including their recent ad campaign, Wal-Mart's main interest is to continue enriching the Walton family, executives and shareholders at the expense of its workers."
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