Wal-Mart employees in Cleveland, Ohio have banded together to help their fellow employees, those are living in poverty and may be hurting more than usual this holiday season. Yes, it is a noble thing they are doing for their co-workers. But here’s where the story becomes not so heart-warming:
As the Business Insider mentioned in three poignant points:
“Wal-Mart is one of the richest companies in the world.
Wal-Mart has a market value of $260 billion and made $17 billion in profit last year.
But Wal-Mart does not pay its employees enough to buy food for the holidays.”
It’s so incredibly sad that Wal-Mart employees aren’t paid enough to get by and that fellow workers have to pitch in to help them. Fellow employees and not Wal-Mart themselves who have plenty of money to spread around to those who depend on them for their welfare. And I’m not the only one finds this a blatant example of corporate greed, Ashton Kutcher thinks so too.
The actor, producer, and avid Twitter user (who has over 15 million followers) tweeted out, “Walmart is your profit margin so important you can’t Pay Your Employees enough to be above the poverty line?”
Wal-Mart quickly replied saying:
“It’s unfortunate that an act of human kindness has been taken so out of context. We’re proud of our associates in Canton.” Ashton quickly replied “you should be proud of your associates but I’m not sure if they should be proud of you.”
Wal-Mart then sent Ashton a video that touts what Wal-Mart does for it’s employees and replied with facts and figures in defense. Ashton replied saying, ” Wal-Mart does a lot of great things but it needs to be a leader on this issue as well.” Wal-Mart’s reply was more promising saying, “We know we can always get better as a company. This year we’ve made providing more opportunities for our associates a top priority.”
Wal-Mart stopped their tweets, but Ashton still had the subject in the forefront of his mind, and about an hour later he linked to a blog post that, as Salon notes, is “a study estimating the cost of Wal-Mart workers’ use of public assistance.” Along with the link, Ashton wrote, “Walmart should be the leaders not the low water mark.”
And you know what? I’m thankful for Ashton Kutcher bringing this up. He may be an actor, but he has a huge following and bringing attention to situations like this, and engaging in a conversation with the company in question, is a powerful step. Let’s hope that Wal-Mart takes their statement that “we can always get better,” seriously.
Photo Source: PR Photos