Sunday, January 31, 2016

Attention Walmart Shoppers

In Louise Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed, Ehrenreich works many low-wage jobs to test what it's like to have to survive in poverty. One of such jobs was as a Walmart "associate", folding and unpacking carts of tried-on cloths for for $7.00 an hour, eleven hours a day. What she discovered here was that in large corporations, such as Walmart, workers are suppressed by corporate strategies that trap them into unfair wages, health benefits, etc.

One such method, as Ehrenreich learns during an eight our long training session, is the demonizing of the idea of unionization. For example, various associates told her in thus training session of this sense of family all Walmart employees have, leading Ehrenreich to the conclusion that Walmart was trying to convince these new employees that, "Once, long ago, unions had a place in American society, but they 'no longer have much to offer workers'"(145). She continues, "Walmart is booming; unions are declining: judge for yourself" (145). Unions aide workers and establish a fundamental basis at which a large corporation such as Walmart must meet. Unions make workers life easier and by convincing and tricking workers into accepting bellow average wages and benefits such as healthcare. While working there, she explains, "I feel oppressed too, by the mandatory gentility of Walmart culture" (156). And with little to no benefits, Ehrenreich explains Walmart employees are, "real-life charity cases, maybe even shelter dwellers" (175).

The codependent relationship between blue collar and white collar workers in such companies have become a problem that needs to be addressed. Unionization, raising the minimum wage, programs such as Medicare, are all things that can help low-wage workers and establish their rights. No longer shall Walmart, "rather just keep hiring new people [rather] than treating the ones it has decently" (184).

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