Posted in the Rochester Forum
While Rob Walton raked in at least $420 million in Walmart dividends alone last year, low pay and arbitrary scheduling force many of Walmart's workers to rely on public assistance to make ends meet.
In nearly all of the 23 states which have disclosed the information, Walmart has the largest number of employees on the public rolls of any employer. As reported by Mother Jones:
In 2004, a year in which Walmart reported $9.1 billion in profits, the retailer's California employees collected $86 million in public assistance, according to researchers at the University of California-Berkeley. Other studies have revealed widespread use of publicly funded health care by Walmart employees in numerous states. In 2004, Democratic staffers of the House education and workforce committee calculated that each 200-employee Wal-Mart store costs taxpayers an average of more than $400,000 a year, based on entitlements ranging from energy-assistance grants to Medicaid to food stamps to WIC-the federal program that provides food to low-income women with children.
Walmart always counters these facts by talking about low prices. But the profits of Walmart are enormous. The Walton family, which owns nearly half of Walmart, is as wealthy as the bottom 42 percent of American families combined. An average Walmart worker, who earns about $8.81 an hour, would need to work one year to earn as much money as the Walton family earns in Walmart dividends every three minutes.
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