Snark: to annoy or irritate

"Snark" has been in English language dictionaries since at least 1906, and Lewis Carroll used the word to describe a mythological animal in his poem, The Hunting of the Snark (1874). Most recently, the word has come to characterize snappish, sarcastic, or mean-spirited comments or actions directed at those who annoy or irritate us.

At first, this blog was just going be a place to gripe, but because it's more satisfying to take action than it is to merely complain, now most of the posts/reposts suggest ways to get involved in solving problems.


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Friday, October 26, 2012

Support Walmart Workers

Take Action!Walmart Stores Inc. — notorious for years for trampling the basic rights of American workers1 — has become the focus of a historic strike by its store workers.
In an unprecedented move, recently Walmart workers went on strike across the country,2 informing Walmart management that strikes will spread throughout November if Walmart doesn't listen to their demands.3
We need to show solidarity with the Walmart workers who are standing up to Rob Walton, Walmart chairman of the board and the rest of Walmart's management for a safe workplace and a decent standard of living.
Walmart's 2.1 million employees make it the largest private employer in the world, trailing only the U.S. Department of Defense and the Chinese People's Liberation Army in overall employment.4 Fully 1.4 million of them work at Walmart stores in the United States.5
And while Rob Walton raked in at least $420 million in Walmart dividends alone last year, because low pay and arbitrary schedulig force many of Walmart's workers to rely on public assistance to make ends meet.
In nearly all of the 23 states which have disclosed the information, Walmart has the largest number of employees on the public rolls of any employer. As reported by Mother Jones:
In 2004, a year in which Walmart reported $9.1 billion in profits, the retailer's California employees collected $86 million in public assistance, according to researchers at the University of California-Berkeley. Other studies have revealed widespread use of publicly funded health care by Walmart employees in numerous states. In 2004, Democratic staffers of the House education and workforce committee calculated that each 200-employee Wal-Mart store costs taxpayers an average of more than $400,000 a year, based on entitlements ranging from energy-assistance grants to Medicaid to food stamps to WIC-the federal program that provides food to low-income women with children.6
Walmart always counters these facts by talking about low prices. But the profits of Walmart are enormous. The Walton family, which owns nearly half of Walmart, is as wealthy as the bottom 42 percent of American families combined.7 An average Walmart worker, who earns about $8.81 an hour, would need to work one year to earn as much money as the Walton family earns in Walmart dividends every three minutes.8
Too often, when the workers at Walmart stand up for their rights they are subjected to retaliation and intimidation.9 Walmart's appalling record of treating workers poorly also includes blatant disregard for their human rights, discrimination against women, and infliction of damage on small businesses and the environment.10
Walmart needs to know that we have those workers' backs on this. That is why we are joining our friends at Making Change at Walmart campaign to turn up the pressure on Walmart to end its exploitative employment practices.
Walmart has set the standard for driving wages down and maximizing profits. Forcing its executive to meet the workers at the negotiating table would be a major milestone. It would have reverberations throughout the retail world and be a victory for those who are fighting for higher wages and better working conditions for American workers.
Thank you for taking action.
Murshed Zaheed, Deputy Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. Pallavi Gogoi, "Walmart's Record on Human Rights," Bloomberg Businessweek, May 1, 2007.
2. Dave Jamieson, "Walmart Strikes Mark New Chapter In Labor's Fight With Mega-Retailer," HuffingtonPost.com, October 15, 2012.
3. Harry Bradford, "Walmart Black Friday Strike: Workers Threaten To 'Take Action' On Retailer's Busiest Day [UPDATE]," HuffingtonPost.com, October 11, 2012.
4. Mike Ivey, "Biz Beat: Walmart's low-wage reach runs deep," The Capital Times, July 10, 2012.
5. Henry Blodget, "Walmart Employs 1% Of America. Should It Be Forced To Pay Its Employees More?," BusinessInsider.com, September 20, 2010.
6. Sasha Abramsky, "America on $195 a Week," MotherJones.com, January/February 2009.
7. Josh Harkinson, "To Match Walton Heirs' Fortune, You'd Need to Work at Walmart for 7 Million Years," MotherJones.com, September 20, 2012.
8. Ibid.
9. Josh Eidelson, "Wal-Mart punishes its workers," Salon.com, July26, 2012.
10. Walmartat50.com.

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