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This blog used to be about politics. Not so much anymore as I have worked through my fascination with that subject. It now seems appropriate that with a new president and the end of the Bush nightmare that I move on to new subjects that are more in line with my current interests. I may still occasionally express an opinion about political matters but for the most part I will be commenting on music, photography and personal observations. Thank you for reading.

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Wal-Mart Style
A short nifty guide on how to screw our employees (and the rest of the country) for our own benefit - by Wal-Mart

The NYTimes has published a memo from Wal-Mart's executive vice president for benefits outlining ways in which they can save money, by forcing out long tenured employees, employing more part timers, and healthy people that will require less cost for their health care plans.

In short - more cost shifting.

Some pearls of wisdom:

"Given the impact of tenure on wages and benefits, the cost of an Assocuate with 7 years of tenure is almost 55 percent more than the cost of an Associate with 1 year of tenure, yet there is no difference in his or her productivity (Exhibit 2). Morever, because we pay an Associate more in salary and benfits as his or her tenure increases, we are pricing that Associate out of the labor market, increasing the likelihood that he or she will stay with Wal-Mart."

In other words, they need to increase turnover and keep people from thinking of Wal-mart as a long term employment opportunity.

Wal-Mart comes to the obvious conclusion (people get payed to think this up?) that employing an army of young, part time, healthy employees with no intention of working for Wal-Mart long term, should be their ultimate low cost solution to their benefits "problems". Suffice it to say that other employers have come to the same conclusion.

Let someone else employ the "undesirables".

"The so-called "low utilizers" are the most attractive Associate segment because they cost Wal-Mart less in terms of healthcare expenses and are more productive in their jobs."

We find that Wal-Mart is also very concerned about their public reputation, as they should, because people might just stop shopping there if they only knew how the company plans to treat present and future employees

"Wal-Mart's critics, however, hold it to a "large company" standard, not a retailer standard. Despite the difference in industry economics, critics believe we should behave more like a GM or a Microsoft than a Target or a Sears."

Considering that Wal-Mart may end up being the largest employer in a small community I don't think it too unrealistic for people to think of their jobs there as being worthy of a living wage; with pay and benefits generous enough to raise a family. Wal-Mart thinks otherwise, the problem, in their eyes, is one of perception. People need to stop thinking about Wal-Mart as a responsible employer. Its ok for your kids to work at Wal-Mart for a year or so, but they don't want all you old people working there, expecting to make a living. Despite the heavy losses of high-paying, unionized jobs in the manufacturing, don't expect Wal-Mart, one of the largest employers in the nation, to take up the slack.

from the NYTimes article:

Ms. Chambers said she was focusing not on cutting costs, but on serving employees better by giving them more choices on their benefits

But.... somehow they plan on saving more than $1 billion over the next 6 years?

Wal-Mart also plans on playing a bigger role in shaping the national healthcare debate, so that they might "help shape the outcome of the public debate about the healthcare crisis in a way that is at least somewhat advantageous to our interests."

Oh goodie, national healthcare, Wal-Mart style! What can the United States do to attract healthier, more productive, less costly citizens, and discourage older, "high utilizers" from staying here?

Message: don't get old, don't get sick, we don't have a place for you.

(via eshaton, and Labor Blog with special mention to Jib Jab)

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About Me

35 yr old
Highlands Ranch
Recording Engineer
Voted for Kerry
Voted for Obama
Philosophical Type
Omicron Male
Feminist Friendly
22.3% Less Smart

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