Up Against Wal-Mart - Assignment Essay

The article “Up Against Wal-Mart” by Karen Olsson is the detailed explanation of how Wal-Mart treats their customers and more importantly how the million dollar company treats their employees - Up Against Wal-Mart - Assignment Essay introduction. Olson kicks off the article by telling a story about Jennifer McLaughlin, who is a twenty-two year old Wal-Mart employee. She goes on to explain the daily work tasks that she completes. She complains how Wal-Mart runs their business, and also how terrible the company treats her as an employee. Jennifer is forced to work over time, is underpaid and also treated unfairly.

Employees say that they cannot say no after being asked to work off the clock. The workers at Wal-Mart also started to try to create a union which highly concerned Wal-Mart. A union at Wal-Mart was never formed due to the company’s anti-union group that was started and created by Wal-Mart. In ten separate cases, Nation Labor Relations Board has ruled that Wal-Mart repeatedly broke the law by interrogation of workers, confiscating union literature, and firing union supporters (Olsson). The issue of creating a union was not the only concern of the Wal-Mart workers. They also were concerned with how they would pay for health insurance.

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In Jennifer’s case, for her to have Wal-Mart covered health insurance it would cost her a $85 dollar chunk out of her pay check. The work force does not understand how a company that is account for 2 percent of America’s domestic product and has had 200 billion dollars in sales cannot give their hard working employees good health insurance. This article does make Wal-Mart sound like the bad guy, but I do not think that is completely true. Wal-Mart is running a business, and sometimes running a business means cutting resources. Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retailer, with $200 billion in sales.

They are also the nation’s largest private employer. They have a chain of 3,372 stores and about 1 million workers. All of us working Americans know that the economy in America has been slowing down, but that does not create a problem for the company because they are still going strong with sales and they also are expecting to expand their business. With Wal-Mart opening more stores, it generates more jobs for people that actually want them (Olsson). I am totally against what this article is saying about the company. I fully understand what the article is trying to say, but I think they have the completely wrong idea.

What people do not understand is that when you are hired at Wal-Mart, you are agreeing that you will do these random and annoying jobs. I feel like people act like they are not getting paid to them. Many people are jobless and would be happy to have a decent job. I do not understand why people complain bout their job. If you do not like it, then quit. It is as simple as it gets. I can relate to this because I work at a McDonald’s as a crew member. I get paid about the same as Wal-Mart employees do and also I have to up with the odd jobs and the management just like everyone else.

If I hated my job as much as the employees at Wal-Mart do, I would quit, and I think that any person with any brains would do the same. Olsson quotes Jennifer, “It’s stressful” (Olsson). Her daily work routines range from catching a fish from a fish tank to dusting off bike racks. I agree with her that jobs the like the ones that we can be stressful under a time crunch, but I also disagree with her when she says that the job at some moments during her shift is unfair. Wal-Mart staff complains about how they stay after work and how they do not get paid for their extra, off the clock work.

Liberty Morales Serna, a former employee in Huston quotes, “They would know you’d clock out already, and they would say, ‘Do me a favor. I don’t have anyone coming in—could you stay here? ’” (Olsson). I have been asked to work at McDonald’s longer than my original shift, and I can say no, just like the people at Wal-Mart can. No one is forcing them to stay any later than what they have to. Martin Levitt, who is a consultant who worked on the union avoidance program states, Wal-Mart does “whatever it takes to wear people down and destroy their spirit. ” This honestly makes absolutely no sense to me.

Spokesman, Bill Wertz defends Wal-Mart by saying, “We rely on our associates. It makes no business sense whatsoever to mistreat them. ” (Olsson). Why would Wal-Mart mistreat their workers when they are the one who make up the billion dollar business? Staff at Wal-Mart wants a union, and are pushing for one as hard as they can. A union at Wal-Mart has potential to be a good idea. That is what almost every employee at the company wants. It is Wal-Mart’s company and they can run it how they want. If workers do not like how Wal-Mart is running their company, then they can leave.

No one is holding a gun to the employee’s head telling them to stay. I cannot understand why you would continue to be treated so bad like they claim and stay with the company. Like I stated before, if you do not like your job, then quit. I don’t think Sam Walton, the creator of the business would have ever thought his company would have such a bad reputation. People only focus on the bad qualities of large companies. I know this first hand because I work for a million dollar company. People will say that me working at McDonald’s is just like me killing people. If you do not want the food, or do not like the business then do not go there.

This relates to Wal-Mart because I feel like McDonald’s and Wal-Mart are similar in this situation. People that work at places like Wal-Mart and McDonalds have to do things that seem to be unfair, but that is something that goes with the jobs. I do not think that people focusing on the bad will ever stop a million dollar company from stop running. Some people think that Wal-Mart is terrible because of the way they pay, and the way they treat their employees. I agree that the job is stressful because I can relate to the stress of a low paying job and how frustrating it can get.

I do not agree that they stay at their “miserable” job though. Why is it Wal-Mart’s fault that you cannot support your family off the salary they give you? If you do not enjoy your job and find it to be unfair, then you need to quit and find a new one that suits you better. It is not Wal-Mart’s fault that you do not have enough money to pay for things like your child’s health care. Yes, this article does make Wal-Mart sounds like a bad guy, but I do not think is completely true. Wal-Mart is running a business, and sometimes running a business means cutting resources.

Works Cited

Olsson, Karen. “Up Against Wal-Mart.” They Say I Say. (2006): 342-354. Print.

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