Got to give CNN a little credit. Their reporters are actually challenging power for once. First you have Anderson Cooper providing quality reporting from Gaza, along with engaging in some seriously awesome (and I’m guessing stress relieving) pushback against critics who want the American media to push Gilad Sharon’s Kill ‘em All line. Then you have Carol Costello challenging Wal-Mart VP of Communications David Tovar on the company’s terrible wages. Great exchange here:
COSTELLO: The wage gap in this country continues to grow ever wider. you know, we hear from economists all the time, we need a strong middle class to make our overall economy stronger. Is it Walmart’s responsibility to make sure that its employees can support a strong middle-class lifestyle?
TOVAR: We’re working hard every day to provide more opportunities for associates. [...]
COSTELLO: But if a lot of them are making $15,000 a year, you can’t live a strong middle-class lifestyle on that. You just can’t. [...]
TOVAR: Our average rate is about $12.40 an hour far a full time associate. We also offer comprehensive benefit packages as low as $17 a pay period, which is very affordable and we also pay quaterly bonuses, which is something that not a lot of retailers do…. And we know that they appreciate that, they also get a 10 percent discount card. So you have to factor in all of those things when you’re looking for how we’re helping associates.
That 10% discount card is really raising Wal-Mart workers out of poverty……
As you may have heard, the United Food and Commercial Workers have organized pickets in front of Wal-Mart on Black Friday. Wal-Mart is freaking out, actually filing NLRB charges against the UFCW on spurious grounds, but the real reason is to intimidate its workers. Josh Eidelson is covering the actions for The Nation and I encourage you to follow his reports. Unless Wal-Mart buys you off with a 10% discount card.