In an employee-only section of a Canton, Ohio Walmart, purple and orange bins and signs can be seen requesting food donations. What’s unique about this particular food drive is that it’s a request for employees of the Walmart to assist other employees in need. Now the above image has become the latest symbol in a heated dividing line between those who argue Walmart underpays and takes advantage of its workforce and those who support the retail corporation.
The organization that shared the photo taken by an unidentified employee who feared for her job if her name was revealed, OUR Walmart, believes it’s a sign that the nation’s largest private employer isn’t compensating their workers enough. Organizer Vanessa Ferreira told the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
“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.”
Kory Lundberg, a spokesman for Walmart, didn’t quite see it the same as Vanessa:
“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.”
Norma Mills lives near the store and when she saw the above image she felt both “anger” and “outrage.”
“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.”
Erica Reed works at the Walmart in question and she has no problem with the drive, which she stated has been happening at her store for a few years now. In the past the drive helped her out when the father of her four kids went to jail and she stopped receiving his $500 monthly child support payments.
“It took a burden off me. I didn’t have to worry about how I was getting my turkey to feed them Thanksgiving dinner.”
Reed feels that it’s “ignorant” to disparage this act of generosity by employees looking to help their coworkers out.
What do you think about this Walmart’s in-house food drive for its employees?