This story just hits too close to home. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
The storage containers are attractively displayed at the Walmart on Atlantic Boulevard in Canton. The bins are lined up in alternating colors of purple and orange. Some sit on tables covered with golden yellow tablecloths. Others peer out from under the tables. This isn't a merchandise display. It's a food drive - not for the community, but for needy workers. "Please Donate Food Items Here, so Associates in Need Can Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner," read signs affixed to the tablecloths. The food drive tables are tucked away in an employees-only area. They are another element in the backdrop of the public debate about salaries for cashiers, stock clerks and other low-wage positions at Walmart, as workers in Cincinnati and Dayton are scheduled to go on strike Monday. Is the food drive proof the retailer pays so little that many employees can't afford Thanksgiving dinner?Hmmmm... Could be. The story gained national attention with Bill Moyers & Company picked it up.
...[T]he lower end of our labor market is hopelessly broken, with full-time workers unable to make ends meet. Wal-Mart’s profits, like those of other low-wage employers, are already subsidized with public assistance that allows their workers to get by. Studies have found that a single Wal-Mart store in Wisconsin costs taxpayers between $900,000 and $1.7 million per year in public benefits. As I wrote recently of McDonald’s workers’ reliance on the safety net, “This isn’t how a ‘free market’ is supposed to work. These workers are selling their labor for less than the cost of production — less than what it takes to provide basics like food, shelter and health care. Low-wage employers are in turn keeping the cost of their products artificially low by socializing a chunk of their labor expenses.”Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.