Likened by Wal-Mart spokesperson Kory Lundberg to the “Super Bowl for retailers,” November 23 is now D-Day in the brewing battle between big box retailer Wal-Mart and thousands of disaffected employees trying to organize for better pay, fairer schedules and increased health benefits.
OUR Walmart, a union-backed organization of Wal-Mart employees, says it has mobilized thousands of associates for a nationwide Black Friday protest to end the retailer’s retaliation against workers agitating for reform. Wal-Mart is entirely union-free in North America and has filed suit with the National Labor Relations Board, arguing that the sit-ins, protests and walk-outs over the past month are illegal.
Before you hit the streets on Black Friday to shop till you drop here are some key figures about Wal-Mart’s powerful position compared to its employees that might make you think twice about what retailers to support.
1.3 million – Wal-Mart employees in the United States. Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in the world.
$15.7 billion – Wal-Mart’s 2011 profits. The company is currently number 2 on the Fortune 500.
$8.75 per hour – average starting salary for a new Wal-Mart employee. That’s turns out to be an annual salary of $15,500, which is about even with the federal poverty level for a 2-person household.
$8,653 per hour – Wal-Mart CEO Michael Duke’s $18 million annual salary converted to a 40 hour-a-week hourly wage.
$13 per hour – Hourly wage the OUR Walmart group is demanding from Wal-Mart.
$4.83 million – The fine Wal-Mart agreed to pay the U.S. Department of Labor in 2012 for failing to pay overtime wages to more than 4,500 employees nationwide, .
$56,068.58 – Online donations received to sponsor striking employees on Black Friday.
12 – number of cities where Wal-Mart is currently facing strikes since October 4, 2012.
0 – number of strikes Wal-Mart has faced since 1962.
$312 billion — Wal-Mart’s revenue in 2005.
4,700 – number of children of Wal-Mart’s Alabama employees receiving Medicare assistance in 2005.
16 million – the number of US children – that’s 1 in 6 – that struggle with hunger. As Current has previously reported, roughly 20 percent of American children live in a home with parents who are unable to regularly put food on the table.
Check out Jennifer Granholm” at 10E/7P on Current TV,’ as we talk with striking Wal-Mart associate Martha Sellars about she’s planning to join Friday’s walkout.