By Marquita Hill
Published December 2, 2012 by the Roanoke Times at http://www.roanoke.com/editorials/letters/wb/318495
For two quarters, they'd get a raise
On “Black Friday” some Walmart employees around the nation, for the first time, held a strike. Walmart workers earn so little that many must resort to public assistance such as food stamps or, if ill, Medicaid. So, you as a shopper may “save” when you shop at Walmart, but you, as a member of the public pay to help many Walmart employees.
Meanwhile, the six Walton heirs hold more wealth than the bottom 42 percent of Americans combined.
Yet Walmart Corporation scorns efforts to increase employee wages and is ferociously anti-union. Its attitude is that workers should be grateful to have a job.
A University of California study calculated that if each person paid an average of 46 cents more each trip to Walmart, this would provide enough to pay the average employee $12 an hour (instead of the current $8.81). If Walmart itself paid half of that 46 cents from its own great profits, it would cost shoppers only 23 cents extra per visit.
If boosting Walmart employees into a livable wage range would require so little, why isn’t it happening? Almost every American can understand what fairness means. Why can’t Walmart?