¶ … Wal-Mart
This work will discuss two problems or issues in my work setting (Wal-Mart) for their significant ethical implications. The work will look at ethical, legal and value principles in the face of the issues or problems. Wal-Mart has taken considerable grief and many legal hits over the last ten years, in part because of its massive size but also because of its massive success and arguably bad ethical decision making in the past. Wal-Mart is constantly under the eye of society, despite and because of its popularity and success. The two most logical ethical problems or concerns I have with my workplace are therefore reflective of two of the biggest compliant made against Wal-Mart, both which have to do with employee treatment and to some degree conditions. I myself have not experienced stressors associated with these issues but have watched as others have and would support that both have a reflected undercurrent in the way that Wal-Mart does business with its employees.
Wal-Mart and Union Busting
Union Busting arguments against Wal-Mart claim that the chain spends a significant amount of money each year ensuring that its employees do not join unions. Though these tactics are highly secretive and hard to prove former workers, and the press that has adopted them, claim union-busting is rampant and that employees are frequently bullied by management not to join or involve themselves in union activities and removed from the schedule (rather than fired) if they do (O'Loughlin, 2006). The only way to really document these activities is through anecdotal evidence as former employees provide biased "proof" of union-busting at Wal-Mart or through what some say is coincidental business and department closures associated with unionized sites (Farfan, 2009).
Additionally; the ethical violation is one of choice, not of right. It should be noted that union memberships and formations are not necessarily the best friend of the worker, as though collective bargaining might become possible employees, especially in low wage professions may find that joining a union feels a lot like paying a lot to get a little, as members are required to pay union dues, attend and support union functions (even stop work during a strike with limited or no compensation) and in short stretch their limited resources even further with no guarantee of better conditions, wages or benefits. The ethical violation then would surround the fact that all employees should have the choice of joining a union or not, and should not under any circumstances have that membership (or lack of membership) be a condition of employment. Though this is often the case in some industries, as union membership is a condition of employment that is rarely the case in the retail sector. With all these facts in hand many Wal-Mart employees are still adamantly attempting to unionize, most likely because they have been told they cannot by overt and covert action, some of which include Wal-Mart closing entire stores within a year of unionization and eliminating entire departments of their stores (across the country) when one store department in a single store successfully unionized (Farfan, 2009). Farfan in fact notes that thousands of workers are still signing union cards even in the face of the fact that Wal-Mart has never allowed a store or department that has done so to exist for more than a year (2009).
The reality is that there is simply no data to back up the reported union busting that is said to take place at Wal-Mart. Regardless of anecdotal evidence, the legal actions on the part of Wal-Mart are fundamentally tied up and if they are not then Wal-Mart is more likely to settle lawsuits out of court than allow the complaints to go health care coverage of workers is unethical as they create limitations of coverage eligibility based upon low wages and large percentage of part time rather than full time workers to offset costs of paying for or offering affordable health coverage. Wal-Mart also continues to support and encourage employees not eligible for health benefits to seek public assistance. These claims are not new, and in fact are recurrent media claims in discussions about Wal-Mart which is currently the largest retail employer in the nation. WakeUpWalmart, a consumer and employee rights organization backed by several unions claims that more than 700,000 employees of Wal-Mart have no health benefit, while Wal-Mart claims that of the 1.4 million people it employees in the U.S., 1 million are eligible and 94.5% of its associates have coverage ("Union-Backed Web Site…" 2009).
The AFL-CIO recently made public a report that claims that; According to the report, "Wal-Mart's refusal to pay decent wages and provide affordable health insurance to its workers puts it atop the list in at least 19 of the 23 states surveyed here. This abuse of poverty health care programs means Wal-Mart is directly contributing to the nation's Medicaid crisis," (Geisel, 2006, p. 30). While Wal-Mart retorts with the claim that the data used by the report is both flawed and out of date and that it has made extensive strides toward expanding health care coverage to its workers and even went so far as to expand, at great expense, health care coverage to part-time employees children (O'Laughlin, 2006).
The report says, for example, that in Maine about 10% of Wal-Mart employees get health insurance through Medicaid and other public assistance programs, while in New Jersey, Wal-Mart had more employees and dependents enrolled in Medicaid than any other employer, even though Wal-Mart is only the 8th-largest employer in the state (Geisel, 2006, p. 30).
The business tactic of controlling costs of benefits, and extreme allocation for any large employer, is not unusual and is practiced in similar ways by hundreds if not thousands of employers. Yet, Wal-Mart gets attacked for it because of the economy of scale. The massive number of associates that work for Wal-Mart at any given time are a significant portion of the whole of those who are employable in the whole U.S.. According to PBS Wal-Mart employs more people than any other company in the U.S., second only to the U.S. government (PBS Documentary: Store Wars, 2001).
Due to the economy of scale issue, if Wal-Mart utilizes unethical business practices, such as eliminating employee eligibility for health care coverage and encouraging individuals with low wages to seek public assistance than they are creating a bigger problem, collectively than a smaller employer would be. From a legal perspective, Wal-Mart is doing nothing wrong (until laws change, which they might) yet ethically it is supporting poverty, rather than success. Individuals who work for low wages and have no benefits are fundamentally barred from access to so many things, including but not limited to the right to health and wellness. The result might be as destructive to communities as almost any other issue facing Wal-Mart and other employers, as increasing the welfare rolls to give shareholders greater profits benefits no one in the long-term and severely limits resources…
Wal-Mart is the name that is well-known to all the households these days because it has established itself as the largest retailer the world over. The sales of Wal-Mart are growing with every passing day as the sales totaled up to more than $280 billion, according to the reports published in 2004. However, it should be noted Wal-Mart did not appear on the international with more than 4500 stores in
Wal-Mart and Employee Rights Labor cost is always considered as the main issue, mostly in case of employees' unionization at Wal-Mart. This was noticed when Wal-Mart showed a remarkable earning at the rate of 44% per annum for its labor working on hourly basis. Another point which brought this issue ahead was when the sales clerk of Wal-Mart in 2001 earned wages below Federal Poverty Scale. According to an issue of
There is an increasing amount of research also showing how big box retailers including Wal-Mart when they enter local economies, are driving smaller retailers that provided a basis of price competition and employment are being driven out of business (Harris, 2006). On top of their fear and anti-growth sentiment many communities have about big box retailers moving into their communities, many also fear Wal-Mart will move their manufacturing jobs overseas
Many other stakeholders are simply not addressed in Wal-Mart's mission or vision at all. The environment is not addressed. The company's stakeholders in China are not addressed, although the firm's strong relationship with the Chinese government must place that government as a major stakeholder in Wal-Mart's enterprise. Although Wal-Mart does have stores in China, it is not nearly the factor for Chinese consumers as it is for American ones, although
The Price-Sensitive Affluents, Wal-Mart has learned (Wal-Mart Annual Reports) is more interested in finding an exceptionally good deal and not necessarily concerned about the shopping experience. This is particularly true as one of the strongest factors influencing the execution of their strategy, the emerging global recession during this timeframe, takes hold. Again as with the Price Value Shopper and the paradoxical purchasing patterns of the Brand Aspirational segment show,
Wal-Mart's Sustainability Report helps to highlight the many ways in which the company hopes to become more sustainable (2009 Wal-Mart Global Sustainability Report 4-9). According to a recent news article, Wal-Mart has been striving to increase to quality of certain products while at the same time helping to bolster the quality of life for many of the farmers and workers that grow and produce its products (Wal-Mart International). Recently