Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Times Hits Wal-Mart Lowballing of Workers

In a hard hitting editorial today the NY Times hits at the Wal-Mart plan to rid its payroll of some of its higher paid workers. The story, first reported in the paper yesterday, told about how the company was looking to create as many part-timers as possible in a move to reduce labor costs.

All of this underscores the concept of Walmartization-the process, started by Wal-Mart but increasingly emulated by other retailers looking to keep up with the giant competitor, of reducing the labor force to as low a level as possible in order to maximize corporate profits. The Times editorial hits this point hard: "While the company would like the world to focus on the benefits derived from its low prices, we cannot ignore how the nation's largest private employer often grinds up its hourly workers in the same machine."

Another key issue here is the pattern that the Times points out; Wal-Mart's poorly compensated workers"turn to government programs" for benefits that should be forthcoming from the flush mega-retailer.

This is a warning to places such as Ramapo where the Walmonster is busy trying to sell its new development. A full examination of the costs and benefits of the project must include the levels of public subsidies that generally are utilized by the poorly compensated work force.