Walmart workers aren’t happy, LGBT Insensitivity & Low Wages
Bryan Yates said he left a job at Walmart after he says managers harassed workers for being LGBT, and that some supervisors threatened workers with a homophobic slur. He’s now an activist with Stonewall Democrats. “The reality is a lot of these folks have a lot more going on in their life than people realize,” he said.
Walmart’s policy prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. But, Kelleigh Ramos said she’s often faced with biased remarks, such as being called “sir” by her supervisors and co-workers. “It’s people that work around you,” she said. “It’s people you work with.”
Harsh working conditions
Some say Walmart managers aren’t more lenient with employees because they’re afraid of losing their jobs if they say anything in opposition. Others say the working environment influences the “group think” and some (who otherwise wouldn’t mind or even support LGBT workers) find themselves behaving in opposition to their own beliefs. Then, add the stress of everyone being paid very low wages and are forced to work overtime.
Ramos said she’s lucky enough to have a job at Walmart. “Our reality is that a lot of people would not be able to afford to have a home or start a family because Walmart is the biggest employer around”.
Presidential candidates and union leaders agree something must be done to address abuses, but disagree on how to do it.
“The company makes a lot of money from products sourced from very poor countries, we feel very bad that Walmart can’t give more wages to its employees.”– Mr. Gautam Baniyani (Human Rights Activist & Youth Leader)
Wage increases….for some
As many as 165,000 Walmart employees were promised a raise in 2020.
The company announced on Jan. 16 that it would be raising its starting wage for hourly workers to $11 an hour beginning in February. Walmart is also boosting its minimum wage for all employees to $15 an hour by the end of 2020. Walmart said the pay hike was its first wage increase since 2015. The company also said it would provide one-time cash bonuses of up to $1,000, depending on the length of service.
There is a slight problem with this major breaking news. Walmart has nearly 1.5 million employees in the United States. That means only 11% of the workforce received a raise. The remaining 89%???? Ask your favorite Walmart associate in your neighborhood. Are they enjoying their raise this year?
Walmart also promised a one-time payment of “$300 for full-time hourly associates and $150 for part-time hourly associates” to be paid to all hourly employees by the end of April. This was to offset a reduction in hours caused by the pandemic. Many associates claim that they didn’t receive their stipend. In addition, accounting for the drastic cut in hours and the practice of classifying most “associates” as part-time the, seemingly caring act of compassion, for some seemed more like the cost of a publicity stunt.