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article imageOp-Ed: Walmart store has a food bank drive for own employees

By Ken Hanly     Nov 20, 2013 in Business
Canton - In a Walmart in Canton Ohio there are storage containers that are part of a food drive not for the community but for needy workers at Walmart.
Canton is a city just sixty miles south of Cleveland the location of the newspaper The Plain Dealer which wrote an article on the drive that attracted considerable attention.
Signs affixed to tablecloths above the bins say: "Please Donate Food Items Here, so Associates in Need Can Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner". Walmart always calls its employees "associates" rather than "workers".
As this happens, at the same time in Cincinnati and Dayton Ohio Walmart workers are scheduled to go on strike, although they are not unionized. Norma Mills of Canton was outraged and angered when she saw a photo of the food drive bins: "Then I went through the emotion of compassion for the employees, working for the largest food chain in America, making low wages, and who can't afford to provide their families with a good Thanksgiving holiday. That Walmart would have the audacity to ask low-wage workers to donate food to other low-wage workers -- to me, it is a moral outrage." However, Kory Lundberg, a Walmart spokesperson said that the food drive was actually proof that the the employees care about one another. This is the theme of the video appended as well. The workers, sorry associates, are all one big family. Lundberg went on: "It is for associates who have had some hardships come up. Maybe their spouse lost a job.This is part of the company's culture to rally around associates and take care of them when they face extreme hardships". Of course the head of the family the CEO has a pension that is worth more than 6,200 times that of the average non-executive associate.
An employee at the store said that she found the food drive depressing and demoralizing and took photos of the bins and sent them to the Organization United for Respect at Walmart(OUR), the group who are planning strikes in Cincinatti and Dayton.
Vanessa Ferreira an OUR organizer said when she saw the photos of the bins: "Why would a company do that? The company needs to stand up and give them their 40 hours and a living wage, so they don't have to worry about whether they can afford Thanksgiving." Having a food drive is better for Walmart Thanksgiving profits, and besides it shows that the associates care about each other while ensuring that the CEO has great retirement benefits as is no doubt necessary in a competitive economy as the story goes.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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