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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Walmart Goes All Kafka For The Holidays: Food Drive Set Up for Employees (Video Update)

Posted By on Wed, Nov 20, 2013 at 11:06 AM

Two Walmart employees are seen speaking on camera about the recent tsunami of bad press stemming from a food drive taking place at the Canton store.

"We as associates - we're a family," Cheryl says in the video. "We have come together as a team to help out those fellow associates who are in need of help."

Originally posted Nov. 18

  • OUR Walmart
Swarming both the Cleveland press circuit and the national media machines is a little story about a Canton-area Walmart that just wants to help its employees as the holiday season approaches.

...Never mind the fact that the multinational corporation sets forth neofeudal policies on the reg and guarantees a life of government assistance and, you know, an incessant need to seek out food drives and free meals.

It just so happens that the Ohio Walmart in question has garnered big media attention for its holiday food drive. Store management has set out plastic bins for shoppers to donate food for employees. The Plain Dealer, among the first outlets to run with the story, posed this question this morning: "Is Walmart's request of associates to help provide Thanksgiving dinner for co-workers proof of low wages?"

Um, yes. Yes it is.

And here's an excerpt from that story that shows that this seasonal food drive is just one component of a company-wide tacit admission of hardships imposed on employees:

[Walmart spokesman Kory] Lundberg said holding the food drive at the Canton Walmart was decided at the store level. However, the effort could be considered in line with what happens company-wide. The Associates in Critical Need Trust is funded by Walmart employee contributions that can be given through payroll deduction. He said employees can receive grants up to $1,500 to address hardships they may encounter, including homelessness, serious medical illnesses and major repairs to primary vehicles. Since 2001, grants totaling $80 million have been made.

The story has positively taken off on Twitter, Facebook, et al. today. Here's a quick rundown of national outlets running the story:

- The Nation
- Slate
- The Atlantic
- The Consumerist
- Huffington Post

If the news sources listed here seem to tilt a bit left on the ol' political spectrum, that's no accident. Though the story contains good intentions, it's a bleak look for the already justifiably maligned corporate titan.

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