Walmart should pay a living wage or face the corporate death penalty!

On Black Friday, more than 1,500 protests took place at Walmart stores around our country. Organizers reported more than 100 arrests in civil disobedience actions. The events centered around Walmarts low wages, unethical treatment of workers, and their history of trying to prevent employees from forming unions. This year, thousands of workers and supporters joined the protests – showing just how much the movement has grown since last year's Black Friday strikes, which included only 400 people.

The workers' rights group Our Walmart does not yet have a count of exactly how many workers joined events last Friday, but the group described the events as “widespread, massive strikes and protests.” This growing movement is a clear indication that workers – and their supporters – are fed up with the low-wages and unfair treatment from Walmart and other corporations. Employees of one of the largest companies on the planet shouldn't have to turn to government benefits to buy food or pay for housing. And, taxpayers shouldn't be subsidizing a company that refuses to pay people a living wage.

It is a privilege to do business in our nation, and our commons makes those huge corporate profits possible in the first place. If corporations refuse to pay workers what they deserve, then they shouldn't have the right to do business here. As Congress continues to slash social services, like food stamps and heating assistance, life is getting harder and harder for those trying to live on minimum wage. Rather than sentencing the poor to a life of hardship, it's time take away these corporate charters, and tell companies like Walmart that Americans won't subsidize their unethical wages. If Walmart refuses to pay workers enough to survive on, than they should have no right to do business in our great nation. It's time to tell Walmart to pay a living wage, or face the corporate death penalty. It's that simple.


ckrob's picture
ckrob 9 years 26 weeks ago

Rather than framing as paying workers, how about the employer is buying a person's time which is a limited resource given the other demands which allow for a person to function successfully in a family and society. That limited time resource has a minimal value even if the person is unskilled. We can list the essentials necessary to function and that cost is what must be paid for eight hours of a citizen's time. This would be a floor for wages and only then can competition with additional skill sets emerge to justify greater compensation. Adjust the above annually for inflation.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 26 weeks ago
Quote Thom Hartmann:It is a privilege to do business in our nation, and our commons makes those huge corporate profits possible in the first place. If corporations refuse to pay workers what they deserve, then they shouldn't have the right to do business here.

The lives of its workers isn't the only thing megaCorps like Walmart and McDonalds harms. They also destroy local businesses. They eliminate competition all over the communities they infest in every aspect of the retail world. I do my best to avoid shopping at these cut rate sweatshop community parasites; however, lately it has gotten so bad that they have monopolized the market in many basic goods and services. As they flood the market with these slave wage jobs that further burden our social safety net with people who work but can't afford food they drive mom and pop out of business at the same time and destroy real living wage jobs. How? Smart and good business? No! Providing for a niche? No! Competing in a fair market? No! They do it by robbing taxpayer money to subsidize their labor force. This sort of business practice is predatory, an abomination, and, should be illegal. The sooner we stand up to these criminal enterprises that want to parasitically bully their way into ruining our way of life and raping our cities the sooner we can begin to rebuild our once proud communities and business districts.

Vegasman56 9 years 26 weeks ago

And today most Americans will run off to Walmart for the everyday low prices. If we keep going down this road, the plot to destroy America the crash the 2016, Thom’s new book, will come true. I do suggest reading this book. I believe the Thom Hartmann is one of the true patriots of this country. Instead of the false patriots who believes in self preservation that is dominating for profiteering, as they seek the destruction of the middle-class for their economic power and their kingdom. We must raise the minimum wage to a living wage.

but as to Walmart, The cost is too high.

beast250 9 years 26 weeks ago

It is all about economics. Economists have failed society and life won't get any better for the masses until we change how we perceive money.

I personally favor a currency based on energy and because all resources can be quantified using energy. We can judge people based on energy consumption, but also pay them for energy production.

If we look at economics from an environmental perspective, what is better a vagrant that consumes minimal resources or a multi-millionaire that owns a chain of restaurants and bars.

If society offers a sustainable life job to everyone, that all employers would have to compete against; the minimum wage argument would become mute (along with healthcare).

That job is the personal generation of hydrogen from home.

Why harangue about unemployment rates when if we do employ people in these resource consuming jobs, we end up harming ourselves and or progeny.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 9 years 26 weeks ago

Don't forget what they do to the Amazon rain forest.

They won't be happy until NOBODY can afford anything BUT going to Walmart or McDonald's.

Wendalore's picture
Wendalore 9 years 26 weeks ago

Yes!! Thom for President!!

Wendalore's picture
Wendalore 9 years 26 weeks ago

"Employees of one of the largest companies on the planet shouldn't have to turn to government benefits to buy food or pay for housing. And, taxpayers shouldn't be subsidizing a company that refuses to pay people a living wage."

But isn't this a kind of socialism?

Kend's picture
Kend 9 years 26 weeks ago

the best way to get wages up is to improve the economy. Take where I live in Alberta , A freind of mine just bought a condo for his employees to stay in, he pays for all there education costs because he can't get anyone to work in his restruant with out these perks.

We have have almost zero unemployment here. I saw on the news there is 650 billion dollars worth of projects that have been approved. Create a good business atmosphere and people will invest.

By the way if you know anyone that has a trade or skill there is help wanted signs everywhere. I heard they are fast tracking short term work visas for some jobs. You can also work in camps on various rotations and can still live in the US. 18 year olds are coming right out of high school making $10,000 a month.

George Reiter's picture
George Reiter 9 years 26 weeks ago

We have set before us today an economic system which can be described as Conspiratorial Capitalism. The economic conspirators of today have morphed into a destructive force entity prophesized by Thomas Jefferson:

"In every government on earth is some trace of human weakness, some germ of corruption and degeneracy, which cunning will discover and wickedness insensibly open, cultivate and improve. Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves therefore are its only safe depositaries. And to render even them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree." - Notes on the State of Virginia, 1782, Thomas Jefferson

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 9 years 26 weeks ago

The Walton family, the richest family in the world, will tell you that their low wages are meant only for those reaching for the first rung on the economic ladder. What they won't tell you is that over three decades ago a president and his political party, being robbed of their sound minds and thus their essence, removed all of the middle rungs. By this removal it was thought that if the wealth from all of those middle rungs went into the offshore bank accounts of people like the Waltons, somehow it would trickle down to the rest of us.

Tear down that ladder with the corporate death penalty!.....and start sharing the wealth in this fine country.

Vegasman56 9 years 26 weeks ago

Wendale here some video to look at

The True Patriot Network Patriotism IS Progressive! Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer discuss their book, The True Patriot, and the progressive movement surrounding it.

Banned TED Talk: Nick Hanauer "Rich people don't create jobs"

and one more

How Economic Inequality Harms Societies: TED Talks Richard Wilkinson

And remember to progress, you always pass on the left

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 26 weeks ago

It's been years since I shopped at Walmart. I got tired of the guilt I always felt about shopping there. I also got tired of the hassle. They not only rip off their workers, they rip off their customers too. I kept getting overcharged at the cash register, which was the same old game all the grocery stores were playing... except that Walmart did this more than anyone: charging full price for items advertised at sale price, while counting on the customer not noticing. Well, THIS customer pays attention! And like I told Walmart's cashiers, I'm happy to donate to causes & organizations I believe in; however the Walton family freeloaders are not on that list. - Aliceinwonderland

Suze O's picture
Suze O 9 years 26 weeks ago

" If corporations refuse to pay workers what they deserve, then they shouldn't have the right to do business here."

I have to ask: Why do these rich parasites have to LIVE here and use our commons without paying for it? That doesn't just go for their businesses, it should apply to their residency in this country. There are places they can go to avoid all taxes, and aren't "obligated" to help this country. I'm sure Somalia is open for business. They would have warm sunshine, a beach, land for a vast estate, and all the willing, low cost laborers they could want.

Moreover, if they move their company HQ there, we can consider them a foreign company and slap all kinds of duties on products they want to sell here. That will protect our own mom-and-pops here in the US. If Somalia is too backward for them, they can build their own islands out in international waters. There they can live in their own little world without EVER having to deal with us; as Orson Welles said in "Citizen Kane," they can "lord it over the monkeys" on an island; which reminds me of a former employer of mine who always used the adage, "If you only pay peanuts, you're going to get monkeys." Walmart apparently views its employees as little more than monkeys.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 26 weeks ago

Vegasguy -- I now know how Marg Thatcher started the downfall of the world economy. In England they pass on the right.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 26 weeks ago

Suze -- The corps currently "lord it over the monkeys" in congress. is the thing we need to do.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 26 weeks ago

Kend -- also the best way to improve the economy is to get wages up.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 9 years 26 weeks ago

It's all the same. What they don't pay in wages they should pay in taxes. It's when they refuse to do either that we've got a problem. Right now they pay too little of either.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 9 years 26 weeks ago

It's cyclical, economy improves because wages are higher and wages go up because the economy improved. Somebody has to make the initial investment when there's no demand. That's government. Otherwise you have a downward cycle or spiral of no demand and thus no jobs.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 26 weeks ago

I'll continue to shop at Walmart not only because I think it is pretty dumb to pay more money for the same goods elsewhere. Yes, they don't pay their employees very much and that is a real shame. But if they didn't have a job at Walmart...they probably wouldn't even have a job at all.

And in addition, I get a chuckle every time some merchant gripes that Walmart is ruining business. Well, that's just too darn bad...I assume that most business people are the ones who made Walmart possible in the first place for, most likely, being Republican. Yes, I know there are a few "liberal" merchants out there...I guess? You made your bed, Republicans, now wallow in it! Oink! Oink!

I just wonder how much of the anti-Walmart propaganda is being fed by Republican merchants who don't really care at all about slave labor but just that Walmart is beating them at their own game.

By all means, if you can afford to shop elsewhere then do so. But a lot of people can't afford to be so uppity.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 26 weeks ago

Palin- Like I said, it's been years since I shopped at the local Walmart. But I don't recall their prices were that different from everyone else's. And I wouldn't assume most merchants are Republican.

Frankly, it disturbs me that you take slave wages so lightly. It is not okay for fulltime workers to be stuck in poverty. Work is supposed to get people out of poverty! Remember, your tax $$ is paying for benefits Walmart refuses to cover for employees; they even instruct their new employees on how to apply for welfare to get the food & healthcare they need! Doesn't sound like much of a bargain to me.

We vote with our money. Don't forget that. - AIW

radster63's picture
radster63 9 years 26 weeks ago

Oh yes, the great debate about working at a no skill job yet wanting top dollar. I do agree that the minimum wage is greatly outdated and needed to adjusted periodically to keep pace with a no skill or schooling type job level of job. I do offer those that are really unhappy with their present pay level at the driveup window or Walmart greeter job, go to school and better yourself. You truely will love yourself in the long run becuz you would qualify yourself for a field or line of work you have worked for. Employers do have a clear idea of what they can pay in a given area and still stay in business. COSTCO employees for example make around $20/hr and I have yet to see a COSTCO store that is boarded up and shutdown. Walmart tends to be the very last place I shop as I don't like the way they do business and their prices are actually higher then the grocery store across the road. I have compared my sales slip many times against Walmart and yes they are screwing us about as simple as it can be said. The big 18" high price sign does not mean it's really cheap, it just means they have big numbers.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 9 years 26 weeks ago

Ever hear of "the high cost of low prices"? I don't shop at Walmart, I consider the savings an ill gotten gain.

They have a great dumpster though.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 26 weeks ago
Quote Aliceinwonderland:We vote with our money. Don't forget that.

And I haven't forgot that...I AM voting with my money...and I am voting against all of those Republican merchants who made Walmart possible.

The Walmart many voters are they compared to all those Republican merchant voters? I think the biggest hurt, by shopping at Walmart, is on the many, many Republican merchants who don't get the business that they would have had they not made it possible for behemoths like Walmart to exist. They are being beaten by the masters of the game...their own kind playing their own game. And now they want our sympathy or our their businesses instead of Walmart? Ha! Wallow in it Republican crap hounds!

And I would argue that the majority of merchants ARE Republicans or who have, one way or another, tried to maximize their profits by squeezing their employees and squeezing the customers for all they can get. They all have played the marketing game and may have internalized their faux benevolent super-egos to believe they are magnanimous beings when they are really just lizard-brain connivers out to take people for all they can.

Oh, yeah, and there are plenty of very well to do people who think they are Democrats or liberals or progressives but who don't see themselves in the the mirror of truth. They are also out to take other people for all they can get, as well, only they hide behind their "liberal" facades".

Have you ever wondered how many people who run charities actually divert those funds to their own bank accounts? Have you ever wondered how many of those people behind those petition sites will either sell your identity or use your identity themselves to plead for money...most of which, no doubt, goes to enrich themselves rather than go for the "cause" they promise?

"There's a sucker born every minute!" They prey on your ego. They prey on your empathy. They prey on your desire for heaven or earth. Others will just beat the crap out of you and take your money. Even Mother Theresa was no saint! She took money from gangsters who stole from other people and she gave very little of it to the poor. She gave most of it to the Church. Her main goal was not really to feed or educate the poor but to proselytize and win converts to Catholicism.

But I do shop at Costco, too. They, at least, pay their employees a bit more than Walmart.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 26 weeks ago
Quote Mark Saulys: They have a great dumpster though.
But, by getting Walmart goods the cheapest free (out of the dumpster)...isn't that also taking away business from other businesses? And some people might think that getting stuff thrown away in a dumpster is an "ill gotten gain"..actually, it could be considered stealing. You may not be making Walmart any richer, true, but you are really not helping Walmart employees. In fact, maybe you are taking away the ability of Walmart employees from doing a little "dumpster diving", themselves. I have never dumpster dove, myself, but who knows, one day I may have to. We may all have to!

As far as "the high cost of low prices"...there's always some rhetorical nonsense that seems to make sense to some people. I don't think rhetoric will outdo the cheapest prices. And I know that not all things at Walmart are cheaper than elsewhere and if you aren't aware of the price differences then you will get taken.

I definitely agree with Aliceinwonderland, though, that many of the supermarkets will rip you off if you are not careful. They will put food on sale...say a certain kind of apples. And when they key in the products at the cash register you find that they charged you for the more expensive apples. I get this all the time. I bet most people don't even scrutinize their receipts. They may be too shy to hold up the line to say anything even if they know immediately that they've been charged more. The only way to stop these criminal merchants from stealing from us is to raise hell...or, at least call them on it...hold up the line. Hold them to their advertized prices and make them get it right!

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 9 years 26 weeks ago

Dumpstering is subversive.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 26 weeks ago

I agree with Mark Saulys. Whatever "savings" there are to be had at Walmart are an ill-gotten gain.

Palin, we'll just have to disagree on this one. I think it's outrageous for a huge company like Walmart to instruct their employees on applying for welfare benefits because they're too stingy to pay a living wage. Meanwhile the Walton Welfare Queens have sucked up 40% of this country's economy!!! As a taxpayer, I resent enabling these parasites. Talk about suckers! We're all suckers.

What you do is your affair. - AIW

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 26 weeks ago

I certainly agree that the Waltons are among the stingy, rapacious, capitalist-pig class of Americans who I'd love to see lose all their ill gotten gains some day. I guess it does make them Welfare Queens, indirectly...not paying their employees and having them apply for government handouts.

But what would all those Walmart employees do if they weren't getting a paycheck (however meager) from Walmart? They wouldn't have a paycheck at all...would they? Walmart is not forcing them to work at there. Do you think there are jobs out there from all those other businesses? All those Republican-leaning businesses, who are also looking for ways to cut costs in order to maximize their profits, are shipping all the jobs overseas?

Because of the Reagan-lover business people out there who have voted for those Republican politicians, over the years, and loved their "Government hands-off", laissez faire policies and deregulation, they let businesses like Walmart be created.

Let's not be fooled and misused by all the propaganda that mostly comes from the whining from those "poor" Republican business people about how people shouldn't shop at Walmart. They are just jealous and envious that they are not a Walmart. They'd all do the same thing if they could.

The devious right-wingers are very good at originating propaganda and making it look like it came from left-wingers...and then left-wingers unknowingly become the amplifiers of the right-wing propaganda.

Deception is what wins most wars. And the wealthy have been waging war against the rest of us for many years. We greatly outnumber them and they know that they need to control the propaganda in order to keep us all in line and working against our best interests. They know that they need to be very deceptive and disarraying in order to keep their power and money.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 25 weeks ago

Palin, there is a lot of truth to your argument. But I hope you'll forgive me for saying, I still think it's a cop-out shopping at Walmart.

Ever heard of Robert Greenwald, creator of Brave New Films, who has produced all these great documentaries? One of them is aptly titled: "Walmart; The High Cost Of Low Prices". I don't reckon there's much in it you don't know already, Palin. But this guy is no whiney Republican; he's one of us. His documentary reveals that Walmart is actually a cult. The amount of indoctrination their new recruits (i.e. "associates") are subjected to is simply mind blowing. No matter what my circumstances and no matter how desperate, I would not last five minutes in that environment. Employees are forced to work overtime without compensation. Utter the word "union" and you're fired on the spot.

Let's not forget the hundreds of Indian garment makers who died in two sweatshop fires, because those pigs the Waltons refused to uphold the most basic safety standards. Before the fires, in at least one of the sweatshops, employees noticed the building was on the verge of collapse. Those who expressed concern about their safety were threatened with their jobs, told to stay put and keep working or else. If I recall correctly, when the fires broke out, women were trapped inside and unable to escape. All the doors had been locked. Tantamount to murder, in my book.

Like I say, we vote with our money. There are alternatives. You and I can go 'round and 'round 'til we're blue in the face, Palin... but after all has been said, we'll each continue doing what we choose to do. So respectfully, my friend, I see no point in debating this any further. - Aliceinwonderland

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 25 weeks ago

Aliceinwonderland: That's ok, no need to forgive you for saying what you believe to be true. And, of course, you may very well be correct. We, for the most part, are on the same side. And had I not thought of the idea that we would actually be getting back at the vast majority of Republican merchants, who made the Walmarts of this country possible, by shopping at Walmart instead of THEIR establishments, I would be thinking the way you do.

The full film "Walmart; The High Cost of Low Wages" can be viewed here:

By the way, most businesses do expect an almost "cult-like" following of their employees. I have heard many CEOs speak before their wildly applauding employees. And all the CEOs don't sound any different than the Walmart CEO did in the film.

Yes, I really like Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films documentaries.
"Many Walmart locations across the country allow motorhome campers to stop overnight (free!) in their parking lots."--

On the other hand, many Casinos allow that as well! ;-}

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 25 weeks ago

Palin -- I seem to never say anything anyone understands, but I'll try anyway. A key difference between shopping at Walmart and those other greedy heartless businesses, is the the profit from Walmart goes to Arkansas on its way to the Cayman.Islands. The local Republican merchants spend at least some of their money locally. This infusion of cash into the local economy keeps things going. Probably because of this economic cycle, and lack of same for Walmart, Thom has stated that a few years after Walmart moves into a area the total number of jobs decline.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 25 weeks ago

Thank you "chuckle". You brought an important point into this discussion. And if it makes you feel any better, it is very clearly stated and easy to understand.

Palin, we are on the same page most of the time. That's more than good enough for me. - AIW

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 25 weeks ago

chuckle8: I'd venture to say that it is not only Walmart who hides their money in offshore accounts.
"A study by James S. Henry, former chief economist at McKinsey & Company, estimates that wealthy individuals have $21 trillion to $32 trillion in private financial wealth tucked away in offshore havens — roughly equivalent to the size of the U.S. and Japanese economies combined."

A lot of businesses and wealthy Americans are also doing it. And since it is well known that most of the money that the lowly worker earns is immediately put back into the economy rather than sitting in offshore accounts...and that since Walmart is the world's largest employer...then they must also be funneling money back into the economy through their employees. All those other employers are cutting back and also trying to skimp on employee's wages and benefits, as well as offshoring jobs. I don't see Walmart doing anything that all the other businesses are trying to do is just that Walmart is beating them at their own game. So, their Ayn Randian religion is now biting them all in their backsides now. Karl Marx knew that Capitalists will eventually destroy themselves. Capitalism has to ever expand their markets and constantly squeeze the workers until there is nothing left to expand or squeeze. We're all beginning to claw our way, trampling on our fellow human beings, in order to get that last source of fresh air coming through the Zyklon B porthole at the top of the gas chamber. It will get much worse as massive bank failures happen here in the US. There will come a day when many people will beg for a job at Walmart. And that will be very sad, indeed!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 25 weeks ago

Aliceinwonderland: Me too!

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 25 weeks ago

Palin -- Would you venture to say that locally owned businesses are offshoring jobs and putting their profits in offshore accounts? I find it very difficult to think that. The loss of jobs after a few years when Walmart comes to town would tend to suggest what you venture to say would be invalid for locally owned businesses.

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