WAL-MART REJECTS 5,700+ IN CLEVELAND…

In what can only be seen as a condemnation of the mayoral stewardships of Jane Campbell and Frank Jackson, and the total absence of leadership from its city council member past and present, Cleveland's only Wal-Mart turned away more than 5,700 job applicants. From Cleveland's Plain Dealer: When thousands of people compete for a few hundred ordinary jobs, trend watchers say it's an indication not only of a less-than-stellar economy but also of a workforce short on marketable skills. The huge number of applicants wouldn't have caught anyone's eye had these been skilled, high-paying jobs, the types of positions that thousands of people always seek. But these were regular retail jobs with low-to-average wages and benefits, not the sort of positions typically in high demand. Target wouldn't disclose the number of people who applied to work at its Steelyard Commons store. I love that mention of average wages and benefits. If Wal-Mart has become even close to the average then the economy is in much deeper doo-doo than I previously thought. Amy Hanauer, executive director of Policy Matters Ohio, said she finds these ratios "deeply troubling," reminiscent of bread lines in times of great poverty. She said the figures paint a bleak portrait of the regional job market and underscore the need for more and better employment opportunities. "That's Depression-era kind of imagery," she said. ". . . You can't have an economy that works that way. It speaks to the need to generate a different kind of employment in Cleveland." Last evening I watched On The Waterfront, and the image that leapt to my eye was that of the stevedores lined up in hopes of finding a day's worth of back-breaking labor. ...Wal-Mart is a large, established company, and a job there represents stability, perhaps more than at other retailers. "It's security," he said. "Wal-Mart is going to be around... and people just want to make ends meet." Yes, Wal-Mart will be around, until it isn't and with an annual employee turn-over rate hovering near 50 percent, the 300 people who did find jobs shouldn't feel all that secure. And there there's the tale of how Wal-Mart is not the place where people make their dreams happen, but rather where they go when their dreams have faded. Daniel Sherman, 49, of Cleveland, is an "instock supervisor" at the Steelyard Wal-Mart. As such, he's in charge of about 12 people on the dock. "I own the back room," he said. "It's probably one of the tougher jobs in the store." He enjoys the job, he said, citing a 401(k) and the employee discount as benefits. Furthermore, the Wal-Mart of 2007 is more "enlightened" [Thanks to a $34 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor. JH] than it used to be when it comes to making sure employees are on the clock when working. "It isn't like the old days," he said, when Wal-Mart was accused of requiring some employees to continue working after they had clocked out. Still, Wal-Mart was not his dream. His goal was to be an attorney. Sherman said he used to work at Ford's Lorain Assembly Plant but lost that job when it closed. After that, he said, he enrolled at Cleveland State University and spent four years earning a law degree. But after failing to pass the bar exam, he found himself not only out of the legal field, but out of work, period. Then he heard about the new store. Now he's in a supervisory role from which he said he could see himself retiring. "After four years of law school, you, too, can work at Wal-Mart," Sherman said with a laugh. "Life's a funny thing. . . . You may actually be Mr. Wal-Mart until it's time for the old rocking chair." Shame, shame, shame on every man and woman who has the audacity to call themselves a leader in Cleveland. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.

3 Responses to “WAL-MART REJECTS 5,700+ IN CLEVELAND…”

  1. […] like I’m part of a team. Today’s Cleveland Plain Dealer story is a great example. While Jeff’s post is excellent, he didn’t bring you my favorite quote. Here it is, with full context: Sadly, […]

  2. […] Writing On The Wal co-blogger Jonathan offers a further fisking of the Plain Dealer’s love […]

  3. […] WAL-MART REJECTS 5,700+ IN CLEVELAND… In what can only be seen as a condemnation of the mayoral stewardships of Jane Campbell and Frank Jackson, and the total absence of leadership from its city council member past and present, Cleveland’s only Wal-Mart turned away more than 5,700 job applicants. Keep reading… […]

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