“Stand up. Live better” was the mantra heard throughout the nation this holiday weekend as thousands of Wal-Mart workers staged a strike. The walkout hit hundreds of cities on Black Friday, traditionally regarded as the busiest shopping day of the year. OUR Walmart the worker organization that is coordinating the protests is being backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.
At issue for the workers is what they call Wal-Mart’s retaliation against speaking out for better pay, fair schedules and affordable health care. Such retaliation can include shuffling around their shifts, cutting hours and moving them around departments. Currently, Wal-Mart employees start at $7.53 minimum wage. It is well-documented that many Wal-Mart employees need to file for public assistance, such as food stamps, in order to supplement their low income. The low wages of their workers has been compared to the salary of the company’s CEO. A report on ABC News placed CEO Michael Duke’s at $35 million per year.
Wage plans for 2013 don’t appear to get any better for the employees. The Huffington Post recently obtained a document titled “Field Non-Exempt Associate Pay Plan Fiscal Year 2013”. The 33 page plan outlines a pay structure that makes it almost impossible for an employee to earn more than poverty-level wages. Most workers at Wal-Mart began at minimum wage. The company allows their pay to rise through incremental promotions – at 20 to 40 cents per hour. A flawless work performance will earn the employee 60 cents per year. A person who is hired as a cashier, starting at $8 per hour, and receives the average one promotion that most employees earn, will be earning $10.60 per hour after six years of employment.
If you feel your employer is practicing unfair employment tactics then you need to contact an experienced Illinois employment attorney to help protect your rights.