When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

26 October 2005

Everyday low prices from everyday lowdown employers

An internal memo sent to Wal-Mart's board of directors proposes numerous ways to hold down spending on health care and other benefits while seeking to minimize damage to the retailer's reputation. Among the recommendations are hiring more part-time workers and discouraging unhealthy people from working at Wal-Mart.

In the memorandum, M. Susan Chambers, Wal-Mart's executive vice president for benefits, also recommends reducing 401(k) contributions and wooing younger, and presumably healthier, workers by offering education benefits. The memo voices concern that workers with seven years' seniority earn more than workers with one year's seniority, but are no more productive.
Next time you're stocking up on cheap T-shirts manufactured by Chinese prison labor, say hi to the presumably healthy 19 year-old part-timer manning the cash register.

And, hello, they're surprised that a seven-year veteran of Wal-Mart is no more productive than an employee with one year's tenure? Just exactly what mindbendingly difficult skills are they supposed to be mastering in the intervening six years?

Wal-Mart Memo Suggests Ways to Cut Employee Benefit Costs - New York Times

(See also: Actual internal memo - PDF format)

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