Thursday, November 21, 2013

AMERICAS SLAVE LABOR FORCE

THE UNSKILLED 47%
Johann Wagener 11-22-13


This is not about color, gender, or religious beliefs. It crosses over  these lines and specifically targets an "economic class" commonly referred to as the "unskilled."

When I posted this question on one of my favorite blogs "what is the job description of an unskilled worker?" this is one of the responses  I received that I thought expressed the views of many of the "free market enthusiasts"

Yes, there are unskilled workers. Or more appropriately, workers who have jobs that require no real skills.

Skills required to do 95% of the jobs in a fast food restaurant -

Show up on time
Leave on time
Don't steal
Be friendly
Be polite
Do what you are told
Make change

McDonald's creates profits by buying a case of hamburgers for $20, a case of buns for $5, and turning it into $200 worth of sandwiches. Turning $150 worth of syrup and $2 worth of water into $3,000 worth of soda.

Should McDonald's share more of their profits with their workers? Absolutely. Regardless of other factors, they do have employees and they should try to help those employees have decent lives. But from a pure business perspective, the value added to McDonald's business by labor is probably worth just about $8 an hour.


This also appears to be what many of the large retail outlets use as a job description for their employees in light of the way they are treated;

For example when it comes to holidays which are defined as; hol·i·day ˈhäliˌdā/ noun1.a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done"Thanksgiving Day is a federal holiday"


President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving Day a national holiday in 1863.
Thanksgiving was originally celebrated on the final Thursday in November, but President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed it to fourth Thursday in November to ensure it wouldn't fall too close to Christmas.
I posted this question on my favorite blog;

Is employers mandating that their employees work on national holidays a form of oppression?

and this is one of the responses;

You have the right not to be employed. Any retailer, restaurant, hotel, hospital, police force, has the right to operate any hours they choose and they can, and do, mandate their employees work whatever days they see fit. It should not be surprising to any adult that has shopped on a holiday that many retailers are open every day of the year. In case you should go brain dead when accepting a job with such a company, you can bet that you will be told in your interview that your failure to accept work on an assigned holiday will be treated as a resignation.

Walmart is again at the forefront of these innovations on how to celebrate holidays in America. One Walmart executive went so far as to say; (boy! he's really got a set of big one's)

"Wal-Mart associates are really excited to work that day, it's a pretty high energy day for associates as well." Walmart executive says employees are excited to work on Thanksgiving [Published Daily Kos - Nov 14 2013


I wonder if the families and friends of these gifted, talented, well paid, stalwarts of the corporate world were to announce that they would not be able to join them on Thanksgiving because they were so "excited" about going to work that day. I would like to be a door mouse so I could be there to hear their responses.

I'd be willing to bet my Thanksgiving turkey that this sentiment is being echoed behind closed boardroom doors all across America when the discussion turns to the 47%, but these folks are slick enough to not let anyone in on it; as one famous Republican did when he so eloquently said;

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what … who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims. … These are people who pay no income tax. … and so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
— Mitt Romney, remarks at private fundraiser, Boca Raton, Florida, May 17


Read more: Romney comment about 'dependent' 47 percent not his first misfire in Palm Beach County

That got a standing ovation from an audience that I'm guessing was made up of these corporate giants. Who else would be rich and dumb enough to fork up $50,000.00 for a meal just to listen to a very foolish politician to embarrass them and himself thanks to one of those "unskilled" workers who gave Americans a glimpse of what goes on behind those closed doors. I'm also guessing that the staff attending future events like this will be frisked and required to surrender their cell phones; though this might also be a violation of their rights. Still, no one seems to care much as long as it stays on the 47% side of the tracks.


In case you haven't been able to understand what I'm saying and are thinking that I must be one of those BSC socialists-communists pigs I am including a short list of the Big Retailers who are "requiring" that workers spend  the better part of Thanksgiving and the day after with them rather than their families which I'm certain they are not at all excited about.

In fact one of the Big 8; Kmart's plan to be open for 41 straight hours beginning at 6 a.m. Thanksgiving morning is drawing criticism. At this Kmart store in Connecticut, shoppers wait in line to take advantage of sales on Thanksgiving Day



I can't fault those standing in line which I know represent the Romney 47% because I, along with other American of good conscience, realize that these people are not excited about stand in line (some even camping out) but desperate to find a way to afford providing for themselves and their families. 

A noble and admirable act on their part given that these retailers will only drop their grossly inflated profit driven prices on Holidays which they know targets the low income and impoverished.  

I am left to wonder why the people in these lines haven't thought on just staying home for; let's say a week and not buy anything at one of these Big 8 retailers and see what happens then. 

I'm certain there will be a lot of wailing from mostly free-market Republicans that will say this is going to kill jobs, and blah, blah, blah.

What they are not saying is that these jobs are keeping their employees below the poverty line which not only oppresses them and their families, but require American taxpayers to subsidize them while at the same time chains like Walmart are piling up the profits;

Wal-Mart employs more people than any other company in the United States outside of the Federal government, yet the majority of its employees with children live below the poverty line. "Buy American" banners are prominently placed throughout its stores; however, the majority of its goods are made outside the U.S. and often in sweatshops. Critics believe that Wal-Mart opens stores to saturate the marketplace and clear out the competition, then closes the stores and leaves them sitting empty. Freedom of speech issues also come into play. Musicians are at the mercy of Wal-Mart's stringent content rules, forcing many to create "sanitized" versions of their albums specifically for the discount chain. The sentiment behind Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton's promise of a "better life for all" belies questionable business practices - many that have been challenged by employees, unions, environmentalists, recording artists and human rights organizations. Wal-Mart employs more people than any other company in the United States outside of the Federal government, yet the majority of its employees with children live below the poverty line. "Buy American" banners are prominently placed throughout its stores; however, the majority of its goods are made outside the U.S. and often in sweatshops. Critics believe that Wal-Mart opens stores to saturate the marketplace and clear out the competition, then closes the stores and leaves them sitting empty. Freedom of speech issues also come into play. Musicians are at the mercy of Wal-Mart's stringent content rules, forcing many to create "sanitized" versions of their albums specifically for the discount chain. The sentiment behind Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton's promise of a "better life for all" belies questionable business practices - many that have been challenged by employees, unions, environmentalists, recording artists and human rights organizations.

What boggles my mind is that Americans are the first to condemn countries like China for their slave-like business practices: which by the way has no effect on our doing business with them) but barely make a whimper about what is gong on inside our own borders. 

Take Walmart, for example one of the giants in the retail industry as these stats reveal;



Forbes magazine, polling business executives (not employees) has ranked Wal-Mart among the best 100 corporations to work for. Yet the employees on average take home pay of under $250 a week. The salary for full-time employees (called "associates") is $6 to $7.50 an hour for 28-40 hours a week, which is typical in the discount retail industry. This pay scale places employees with families below the poverty line, with the majority of employees' children qualifying for free lunch at school. When closely examined, this amounts to a form of corporate welfare, as the taxpayer subsidizes the low salaries. One-third are part-time employees - limited to less than 28 hours of work per week - and are not eligible for benefits.

General merchandise retailer Walmart is the world's largest private employer, with about 2.2 million Walmart workers as of 2013. This is roughly equivalent to the combined populations of the world’s 50 smallest countries. Walmart employs about 1.3 million workers in the US and 96,800 people in China. Worldwide, there are more than 9,000 Walmart stores, and they serve about 200 million customers every week. It is estimated that every second, 330 people are purchasing items from the company, with yearly spending averages of $4,000 US Dollars (USD) for a family of four.

More about Walmart:


An estimated 70% of all goods sold at Walmart stores are produced in China.

Walmart had more than $444 billion USD worth of sales in Fiscal Year 2012, which would make the company the 26th-largest economy in the world if it were a country. Its 2012 earnings were $2 billion USD more than Austria’s gross domestic product (GDP).

In the US, $1 USD out of every $4 USD spent on groceries is estimated to be spent at Walmart.
Walmart has come up with a brilliant strategy to avoid repercussions from Americans who begin to question these slave-labor business practices; and I must admit this is indeed brilliant. Give that CEO another $ million
in bonuses if he's able to successfully pull this off;



I've been left with one conclusion to reconcile as to why this kind of corporate violation of human rights can go on right under our noses. It's that many Americans are in a state of "denial" which is usually the prime reaction to trauma that is too  much for an average person to endure. It is usually driven by "fear" which Republicans are very good at instilling with buzz words and talking points about "losing jobs" or destroying, the economy, being invaded by migrants who pick our fruits and vegetables, or bringing down America. All very effective distractions designed to keep many American in a state of paranoia and paralysis that they are unable to see what is actually going on behind the scenes.

If one were to look this is what they would find; Top 10 World’s Biggest Retail Giants 2013
is the undisputed retail leader in North America and tops the global list of retailers, but the company’s international operations in 15 countries outside the United States generate just under 25 percent of annual sales. Their Slogan “Save Money, Live Better” is very customer friendly. The company is the world’s third largest public corporation, according to the Fortune Global 500 list. The company employs nearly 2 million people and is the biggest private employer worldwide. Wal-Mart has 8,900 stores spanning 15 countries under 55 different names. In India, it operates under the name “Best-Price”.

As Wal-mart grew rapidly into the world’s largest corporation, people started criticizing its impact on local stores, particularly small towns with “mom and pop” type stores. Even studies suggested that such an expansion would lead to shutting down of small town shops and local businesses. This was also one of the primary reasons several economies were initially hesitant in allowing them to open up their stores in their country.

The primary reason why Wal-mart is famous is because of the considerably low prices offered and that is the reason for its huge base of loyal customers. This truly reflects the “Low prices, always” advertising slogan that Wal-Mart started with. An interesting fact is that a survey suggested that the average income of a customer who shops at Wal-mart is much below the calculated national average. And if that’s surprising then the next fact is a shocker, about one-fifth of them lack a bank account.


Interesting Fact - A poll was conducted after the 2004 US Presidential Elections, which revealed that 76% of voters who shopped at Wal-mart atleast once a week had voted for George.W.Bush, while the rest 23% supported John Kerry. This revealed that in comparison to other voters, Wal-mart shoppers were most politically conservative.


My concern for future generations is that the ranks of Walmart shoppers will continue to grow even larger.


Share of self-described middle-class adults who say it’s more difficult now than a decade ago for middle-class people to maintain their standard of living: 85

Percentage of Americans that consider themselves to be “lower class” (the highest percentage ever):8.4

Percentage increase in salary growth for the median worker from 1979 to 2012: 5

Percentage drop in average real income per family since 2007: 8.3

The median net worth of a family in 2010: $77,300
and in 2007: $126,400

Percentage of Americans that are unemployed/underemployed rate: 14

Number of states in which poverty rates rose between 2007 and 2010: 46

Approximate poverty rate from 2009 to 2012: 15

The last time it remained at or above 15 percent for three years running: 1965

To me that has a lot to do in answering why Americans would prefer to stand in lines; reminiscent of soup lines in the Great Depression years,  Depression-era Soup Kitchens


As for those Americans who might still be able freely choose how they want to spend Thanksgiving I'd ask;

What would be more enjoyable for you and family? Jumping in you crossover and hurrying down to your nearest Walmart or Mega-Mall to spend Thanksgiving pushing your way through crowds of people?

You might also want to remember the army of "unskilled" workers tending to your needs are not there because they are excited, but rather because they are afraid of losing the only thing that probably stands between them and the streets. A below poverty level job provided them by one of the 21st Century slave masters who would rather oppress them than to send them home with a turkey to share with their families on Thanksgiving.




Retailers open this Thanksgiving 

Aurora Farms Premium Outlets: Opening at 8 p.m.
Best Buy: 6 p.m.
Big Lots: 7 a.m.
Dollar General: 7 a.m.
Gander Mountain: 8 a.m.
Kmart: 6 a.m.
Kohl's: 8 p.m.
JCPenney: 8 p.m.
Lodi Station Outlets: 10 p.m.
Macy's: 8 p.m.
Office Depot: 8 p.m.
OfficeMax: 8 p.m.
Sears: 8 p.m.
Staples: 8 p.m.
Target: 8 p.m.
Toys "R" Us: 5 p.m.
Walmart: 6 p.m.




I'll leave the rest up to decide what to do on Thanksgiving. I know what I'll be doing after looking up the word "holiday" in the dictionary.

hol·i·day ˈhäliˌdā/ noun a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done.

I'll just save my shopping for next week and visit one of the retailers that were respectful of the American people and our holidays to place those values before profits;

My hope is that there are enough Americans out there that want to share their holidays with families and friends, that will be willing to send a message by just staying home on Thanksgiving and demand better pay for worker and lower prices from the Walton family and friends on the days that follow.


 AAFES Exchange
Aeropostale
Ace Hardware
Bass Pro Shops
Bed, Bath, & Beyond
BJ's Wholesale Club
Costco
Fred's
GameStop
Gordmans
Half Price Books
Harbor Freight Tools
Havertys
Home Depot
JoAnn Fabrics
Lowe's
Menards
Nordstrom
PETCO
PetSmart
Radio Shack
Rite Aid
Sam's Club
Sportsmans Warehouse
Stein Mart
Tommy Hilfiger