Everyone has heard of Wal-Mart. Some may have heard of its impressive supply chain management, while to most others, Wal-Mart is known for its everyday low prices and huge assortment of inventory, providing its customers with practically everything they could possibly need. For Bucknell students, Wal-Mart is a necessity. It’s the perfect one-stop shop that suits the schedule of the rushed college student. I’ve never been to the Wal-Mart in town without seeing at least a few Bucknellians stocking up on food or party supplies. Most customers leave the superstore satisfied with their shopping experience as long as they did not become too overwhelmed by the vastness of the store. The main problem to consider here is how many Wal-Mart employees leave the store after their shift satisfied with their job?
I’ve recently discovered some pretty disturbing news about Wal-Mart and the way that employees are treated there in general. The company is essentially blocking out the ways that employees are able to speak out. Unions are strongly discouraged by the company and oftentimes, the typical Wal-Mart employee does not have the extra money available to pay for union dues. Even the new employee orientation has a section dedicated to preaching the evils of unions. Wal-Mart labor protests have arisen in the last year and were aimed at pressing Wal-Mart to increase wages, stop cutting workers’ hours, and to treat employees with respect. And these protesters did not all come from the same Wal-Mart store or even the same state, they came from over 28 stores and 12 different states.
Wal-Mart’s corporate culture is built around the idea of cutting costs to provide its customers with the low prices that they expect. The employees are also becoming victim to this low-cost strategy. Minimum wage is hardly enough to support one person, let alone a family. It seems as if the corporate structure of Wal-Mart is doing everything it can to keep its employees below the poverty line. Therefore it can remain in its position of power to keep its employees voiceless. This practice hardly seems to be the least bit ethical. The employees of Wal-Mart deserve to be able to voice their problems and speak out against the wrongs that may be occurring in the workplace. Wal-Mart’s hindering of this basic right is flat-out unethical.