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Wal-Mart Swamped With Job Seekers

Whoa...

(Crain's) -- The new Wal-Mart Stores Inc. location opening Friday in suburban Evergreen Park received a record 25,000 applications for 325 positions, the highest for any one location in the retailer's history, a company official says.

Despite the fact the company says these numbers underscore demand for Wal--Mart jobs in the community, critics wonder how many of these positions are lower--paying part--time work.

The only other site that's come close to the number of applications is a store in Oakland, California that received 11,000 applications for about the same number of positions last year.

Wal-Mart's Chicago-area manager Chad Donath said generally stores receive between 3,000 and 4,000 applications for about 300 to 450 positions. He says Wal-Mart has been participating in job fairs and advertising the positions as it does in other communities but this time "we got an amazing response."

Twentyfive thousand applicants. Clearly, some people value Wal-Mart jobs despite the opinions of some critics. And I have to wonder about the criticism expressed in the article. Even if the 325 positions really are low-paying or part-time positions, where do you think those 325 people were working before? I'm guessing that they all didn't leave better jobs to go to work at Wal-Mart. Most of them probably had lower paying jobs. Or maybe even no jobs at all.

The point is, I can hardly see the point in criticizing a store that just brought hundreds of new jobs to a community where at least 25,000 people (and probably more) need work, low-paying, part-time job or not.

I have also heard, from someone in a position to know, that Wal-Mart will soon be announcing that they've added over 20,000 new jobs to the U.S. During a time when companies like Ford and GMC are laying off tens of thousands of workers at a time - mostly due to the fact that they can no longer afford to pay for the health benefits these employees require - Wal-Mart is adding jobs.

Kinda makes you think that Wal-Mart should keep rejecting all those union demands for higher wages and more benefits.

You can read more from Rob Port at SayAnythingBlog.com


Comments (35)

Click <a href="http://walma... (Below threshold)
George:

Click here to read the facts rebutting Wal-Mart's false claims about its employee health care plan.

No, no, no. Walmart is evi... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

No, no, no. Walmart is evil. Did you forget your talking points?

I have seen this same thing here in our little community. Walmart closed their store and opened a SuperCenter here. They were swamped with applicants. People were quitting their jobs with other retailers to go to work for Walmart. As far as I can tell, they seem to be quite happy with that decision.

This company with $10 billi... (Below threshold)
George:

This company with $10 billion in annual profits keeps dumping health costs off onto taxpayers -- you and me. This may be the single biggest case of corporate welfare in the U.S.

The Walton family laughs all the way to the bank with the huge profits they made from their underpaid employees who lost their previous jobs to Chinese manufacturing which makes the products for Wal-Mart to sell with U.S. government subsidies.

Well, George, back in Lousi... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

Well, George, back in Lousisana in my home town, where unemployment was nearly 20% Walmart was a godsend. People got work, got some spending money and brought new life to a dying area.

But since Walmart caters to all those red staters guess it must be killed off.

Oh, and wy was unemplyment so high? Because the ship building plants we had became unionized to "make things better for the workers" and ended up killing the industry.

Steve L.,I can rel... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Steve L.,

I can relate to your claim. When Walmart opened a SuperCenter in Destin, Florida when I lived there, a younger friend of mine was ecstatic when she was hired by them. She quit her job at a department store and was much happier at Walmart.

Might be worth mentioning t... (Below threshold)

Might be worth mentioning that some of those applicants could be seeking a job at Wal-Mart as a second job.

Ricardo's "Iron Law of Wage... (Below threshold)
Rock Boulder:

Ricardo's "Iron Law of Wages" at work. The problem is not with WalMart per se, the problem is economic globalization and the premium value placed on cheap labor. Cheap labor wherever it can be found is the most sought after resource in global business. For any given product or service, as long as global businesses can find someone who will do the work of production cheaper they will go there and employ that person until such time as it is no longer economically feasible.

We in America can ignore this and trumpet cheap clothes and TVs, but there is a price for everything. WalMart is only doing what any other business would/will do if they were able.

WalMart actually creates competition for some jobs. Those who leave other retailers to go to WalMart force the losing retailer make their jobs more attractive, ie. better wages and benefits.

WalMart is not the problem. WalMart is a symptom of consumerism run amuck. As long as we demand our cheap clothes and TVs at any cost, there will be a WalMart and its suppliers.

Some things our poor little... (Below threshold)
Nahanni:

Some things our poor little brainwashed LLL poster George doesn't realise are...

1. Many of these people are either unemployed, underemployed or are new workers such as teenagers, retirees and former stay at home moms. In the case of the under/unemployed they were probably already on welfare/unemployment which means the state was ALREADY paying their ALL of health care, along with ALL their living expenses. Not to mention they were generating NO revenue for the state in the form of income tax.

In the case of the new workers the majority of teens and stay at home mom types have insurance from their parents or hubbies that has full time jobs. I realise that George probably is a full blown LLL thus has no understanding of and nothing but disdain for the "traditional family unit" so does not understand this.

In the case of retirees they are already receiving medicare/medicaid. Most of the retirees I know who work at Wal Mart do so in order to have something to do cuz they got bored sitting around doing nothing. The bit of extra pocket change helps, too.

2. As Faith + 1 pointed out alot of folks who are searching for jobs are doing so because the unions have made the cost of doing business impossible for many companies so they either move those jobs overseas or to "Red" states which are mostly right to work states. Look at California which is hemmoraging jobs because so many companies are movig out to more business friendly states. Recent case in point is Nissan which is taking it's corportate HQ and 80,000 jobs to Tennesee.

3. A point that needs to be made but does not pertain to Wal Mart per se. There is a reason that the oh-so-bleu states are losing residents and jobs at (what should be to them) an alarming rate. The Democrats and their union buddies have made it so difficult for anyone to conduct business in the blue states. The toxic combination of high taxes, business killing but oh so politically correct stupid regulations and artificially high union wages have made the costs just too high for anyone to open a business there. A fine example is Nissan which will save billions of dollars by moving out of California. Their employees will have a better life for they can find much more affordable housing and lower taxes which means they keep more of their pay. It also means that Nissan doesn't have to pay them as much as they did in California because their employees dollar will go SO much farther in Tennesee then in high tax and high cost of living California.

On a side note companies are bailing out of Europe and Canada to the US for the same reasons. And the European model is what all the LLL's want us to adopt.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For people who clain to be so much more intelligent then the rest of us the LLL's sure do not have a clue about the basics of business.

Every Wal-Mart basher I kno... (Below threshold)
Dwight P:

Every Wal-Mart basher I know talks about Wal Mart employees being underpaid. Can someone please tell me what an acceptable wage would be for the type of unskilled work that these jobs entail? 15/20/25 Dollars an hour? What would it be?

I find terms like "underpai... (Below threshold)

I find terms like "underpaid" amusing. If someone is "underpaid" it really means they think they should be getting more than any employer is willing to pay them.

Apparently having an over-inflated sense of self-worth isn't restricted only to the "overpaid."

George is just a union hack... (Below threshold)
Bob Jones:

George is just a union hack. I can't wait for Walmart to close some stores in Maryland to drop their employee numbers to 9,950. They ought to convert some to 1099 basis and help some folks become self employed. Stick that up your ass Georgie

I would assert that the who... (Below threshold)
jim:

I would assert that the whole Wal-Mart thing is more complicated than it might otherwise seem.

I’ve seen areas that once hosted charming and diverse retail and touristy infrastructure shuttered by the introduction of a Wal-Mart (Target similar). Some would argue that the greater efficiency of such mega-stores is the cause of that devise and, in some cases, such is likely the case. However, small retail is entrepreneurial and oft with razor-thin margins - the person/family OWNS the business. So, the customers depart for a time to the new Wal-Mart and then, when a specialty or simply non-mega-brand item is sought, they return to the smaller stores where they once could get such only to find them gone. Those entrepreneurs have lost their asset and income stream and had to become hourly employees elsewhere. The loss of those stores leads to much more homogeneous everything. In some cases, the folk who used to come for the charm no longer come at all and that hurts the local area itself, even if the Wal-Mart parking lot at the edge of town is always full.

The overall result is traffic jams in the roads at the Wal-Mart with attendant fast food spots and gas stations, but not much else. An analogy might be the assembly line versus craft: greater output of adequate products at lower cost while dehumanizing the process and maximizing repetitive, carpal tunneling of people.

Our society needs both. We just need to make sure the Wal-Mart/Targets don’t exterminate the other.

Rock:We in Amer... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Rock:

We in America can ignore this and trumpet cheap clothes and TVs, but there is a price for everything. WalMart is only doing what any other business would/will do if they were able.

Watch out man, dont be looking at the big picture.

It's funny how people rally to support WalMart for the 350 jobs it brings to a place, when that retailer basically pushes products that are produced in other countries for a pittance, so that larger profits can be made. Jobs are lost here in the good old USA when companies like WalMart do business with those cheap overseas workers instead of Americans. We lose thousands of jobs, but get all excited when Walmart opens a store and offers a few hundred?

Remember people, Americans could be producing the things that we buy, but companies like WalMart need to make billions more dollars, so they prefer to peddle wares that are produced overseas by a super cheap labor force. Ironically, even when jobs here are scarce here, we buy into it.

I wouldnt call WalMart evil; they are just doing what businesses do. We, as the consumers, buy the products and therefore support the whole system. At the same time we undercut our own labor market.

You guys sure do find a lot... (Below threshold)
George:

You guys sure do find a lot of rationalizations for
corporate welfare.

Then you must agree that ALL corporations should
get a $1000 per employee taxpayer funded subsidy
for its health care plans.

Why should any corporation be paying full price
for employee health care when Wal-Mart (who can
easily afford it) gets off with a discount?

Nahanni, don't you think that this subsidy
contributes to higher taxes? How does that figure
into the "basics of business?" This is a very
reason for the higher taxes that you blame for
job losses.

And Dwight, it's not the wage per se; it is the
total compensation. Wal-Mart is far behind in
this area -- even with respect to other retailers.

Bob Jones, thanks for the cheap, personal attack.
I expected better in this forum.

Ryan - if it wasn't for the... (Below threshold)
Dwight P:

Ryan - if it wasn't for the union thugs here in the US demanding ungodly wages for their workers then the manufacturers wouldn't have to move overseas and everyone COULD buy American. But because a guy working on an assembly line somewhere pushing a button for 8 hours a day thinks he should be making $100k a year these companies say screw it and move overseas.

Bob Jones, speaking of Wal-... (Below threshold)
George:

Bob Jones, speaking of Wal-Mart in Maryland, Wal-Mart was the ONLY large profitable corporation
in Maryland that did not pay its fair share for
health coverage for its employees. Last year,
Wal-Mart sat at the top of the Fortune 500 Companies
with over $288 billion in revenue.

This company with $10 bi... (Below threshold)
Phinn:

This company with $10 billion in annual profits keeps dumping health costs off onto taxpayers -- you and me. This may be the single biggest case of corporate welfare in the U.S.

I love how George/union flack manages to talk about a garden-variety Great Society welfare program (Medicaid, or whatever state equivalent) that dispenses taxpayer-paid health care benefits directly to individuals, and claim that it's .... get this, corporate welfare!

Sure, George. Up is down. Black is white.

That's not corporate welfare. It's just welfare.

Dwight:It's not just... (Below threshold)
George:

Dwight:
It's not just union jobs that are being moved
overseas. Do you honestly believe that
non-union workers can compete with Chinese
laborers selling their wares with US subsidies?

This topic has little to do with unions. That's
a different problem.

Phinn:I believe I la... (Below threshold)
George:

Phinn:
I believe I laid it out pretty clearly.
Look at the Maryland situation.

Perhaps "corporate welfare" was a poor choice of
word on my part. This is "Wal-Mart welfare."

So, I take it that Phinn believes it is perfectly
fine for Wal-Mart to use the system in a way that
requires its employees to use taxpayer funds for
their healthcare -- even if it's the only big
employer doing so.

Phinn, do you pay taxes? Is that where you want
your tax money going? Do you enjoy low Wal-Mart
prices at the expense of the US federal debt?

George, you assert that Wal... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

George, you assert that Wal-Mart "did not pay its fair share for health coverage for its employees."

I'm curious: exactly what would constitute a "fair share?" By what standard is that measured? Who determines what a "fair share" is?

More to the point, why is it any of the government's business? I don't buy the "public health" arguments on mandatory seat belt laws, smoking restrictions, or motorcycle helmet laws; I'm sure as hell not gonna buy it here.

J.

Anyone see the news article... (Below threshold)
Jo:

Anyone see the news article today in Newsday where Hillary is asking that Walmart pay health benefits for their employees?

When asked if she demanded the same thing when she was a paid board member of Walmart 14 years ago, she said she doesn't recall.

I think we can safely conclude that that means the answer is no.

http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/ny-uswalm264601565jan26,0,3081473.story?coll=ny-top-headlines

So let me get this straight... (Below threshold)
Ken:

So let me get this straight.

Elected officials, without any input from Wal-Mart, instituted taxpayer funded health care for people that couldn't afford it on their own.

Later, Wal-Mart hires some people. But because those people can't afford health care, those taxpayer-funded programs are covering their health care.

How is that Wal-Mart's fault?

And why should paying somebody to do something for you suddenly make you responsible for getting them a health care plan, or anything else besides the sale price of the service you're buying? Hiring somebody isn't like adopting a puppy - it's not supposed to be a lifelong commitment to care for them and look out for all of their interests.

So, I take it that Phinn... (Below threshold)
Phinn:

So, I take it that Phinn believes it is perfectly fine for Wal-Mart to use the system in a way that requires its employees to use taxpayer funds for their healthcare -- even if it's the only big employer doing so.

Phinn, do you pay taxes? Is that where you want
your tax money going? Do you enjoy low Wal-Mart
prices at the expense of the US federal debt?

Wal-Mart isn't "using the system," not in this aspect at least. The individuals who collect the welfare benefits in question are using the system.

But if you want to know what I really think about taxes and government in general, I object to:

(a) government requiring any business to provide any form of health insurance or any other benefit to employees,

(b) government mandating of any form of compensation, other than enforcing the voluntary agreements of the parties thereto,

(c) government manipulation of any price of any good or service or wage, under any circumstances,

(d) the use of any tax money for any purpose other than securing everyone's rights to life, liberty and property,

(e) the government's creation and promotion of unions (which are state-sponsored cartels that exist only because the State grants them the special privilege of being able to forcibly exclude potential competition for employment (i.e., those you call "scabs"),

(f) government debt of any kind,

(g) the very existence of the Federal Reserve.

I'd be glad to elaborate on any of these points if they seem unusual or confusing to you.

I’ve seen areas that onc... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

I’ve seen areas that once hosted charming and diverse retail and touristy infrastructure shuttered by the introduction of a Wal-Mart (Target similar).

While there is some validity to your point, there are LARGE counterpoints to it. How many of these "touristy" stores were only open Monday through Friday from 9 to 5? I hate to say this, but I bet a bunch of them. Too many of these small companies did things in a manner most convenient for the owners, not for the customers. A store comes along that open when people are actually off work and takes away their business and they are shocked!

Here, our local hardware store is open during the day and until noon Saturday. No evenings, no Saturday afternoon, no Sundays. If it weren't for Walmart and a national lumber yard here in town, you wouldn't be able to buy hardware items when you are most likely to need them. The only thing keeping the local place open is that there are some older people who are loyal to it, and it is conveniently located IF you have time to get there during the day.

The problem is that too many of these smaller places were ill-equipped or unwilling to adapt to changing times. For example, there was a small office supply store here in town. They sold a particular injet printer cartridge (same brandand model) for twice as much as Walmart charged. People were more thn willing to drive an extra 5 minutes to save $10 on the item. This was the same for all their goods. They survived by reshaping themselves and emphasizing their printing business and getting away from office supplies.

Too many companies won't do that. Instead, they whine and moan and complain about Walmart killing them. If they had just changed their way of thinking, they might survive. For instance, Walmart sells a case of paper cheaper than you? Offer your customers free delivery. In many cases, the extra cost of the goods is offset by the customer not having to run out and get it. Why do you think pizza delivery works so well? A place could offer pizza cheaper but no delivery and they would go down in flames. People just love the convenience.

I know it is easier to blame someone else for failure, and I am not absolving Walmart of all blame. I just think that too many people were sliding along with no competition and they got soft. When Walmart first proposed building a Supercenter here, people were dead-set against it for many of the reasons people give for opposing them, so Walmart went somewhere else. This time, they raced out and grabbed Walmart by the neck and dragged them into town. That's quite a change if Walmart is so evil.

As I understand it, the 20,... (Below threshold)
Dodd:

As I understand it, the 20,000+ jobs created figure is just for the month of January.

Steve -You posted:... (Below threshold)
jim:

Steve -

You posted:

++++++++++++++
"While there is some validity to your point, there are LARGE counterpoints to it. How many of these "touristy" stores were only open Monday through Friday from 9 to 5? I hate to say this, but I bet a bunch of them. Too many of these small companies did things in a manner most convenient for the owners, not for the customers. A store comes along that open when people are actually off work and takes away their business and they are shocked!"
++++++++++++++

We are both presenting anecdotes. There are places for both business models and we need both. I have considerable experience with small business, and I think your example is a small minority. Nonetheless, small stores evolve their times and inventory due to direct contact and feedback from customers. If they do not, they fail, unless the owner is doing it as an unpaid hobby. (And some do just that, trying generally just to break even after a nominal draw.)

The large mega-biz offers a homogenous product selection at standard hours.

Consider as a comparison here the business models of McDonald's and the one at a local, family-owned, ethnic-central restaurant. If all you will ever want to eat are burgers, "fish" sandwiches, erzatz salads, milk-less shakes, and "fries with that", then McDonalds is all you will ever want. The problems include the fact that if the family-run eatery has too few customers three months in a row, they will have to shut down and flip burgers at the arches.

Of course, one could always cook for oneself (I don't, simple self-preservation ;-) ). Similarly, if I want to get a gift or something a little different, I have zip chance of getting such at WalMart. Unless I want to try to make it myself, I have to hope that some of the unique-ry stores are still alive.

Your employer hires you to ... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

Your employer hires you to do a job, he doesn't adopt you. You are an adult, not a child. You are responsible for your own health. If you don't like the conditions of your employment, get another job. If you don't like Wal-Mart's philosophy, shop somewhere else. But remember, everytime a Wal-Mart opens it is the same as everybody in that area getting a raise, lower prices means your money buys more. Grow up people.

Jim,Where does dmand... (Below threshold)

Jim,
Where does dmand factor into you equation about McDonalds and the family owned ethnic eatery?
You mention the gift example as well, and that is your preference, but what about demand? You might like getting something kitschy to put on your desk or give to someone as a gag gift, but...
The store full of weird brickabrack that sells once in a blue moon has to sell everything a bit (often a lot) more expensively to keep the place alfoat. Even something that does sell well and often, like gum at the counter and get well cards, will be marked up to offset the slow sales of the shelf of troll dolls in novelty outfits.
Now when small town X had only the one shop to get their get well cards, they had to pay for the troll doll subsidy. When Walmart moved in, they could get cards much cheaper, and they did.
But it sound like you favor the subsidy model, to ensure there is a decent supply of a low demand product by raising the prices on high demand items.
Back to the family eatery. They need to serve the food that the people in the area are willing to pay for. Or that people outside the area are willing to travel to, and to pay for.
If their prices are too high, or if they serve food that people in the town don't like, or a combination of both, then they made a bad choice in opening that eatery in that location.
Places like McDonalds didn't become huge because the food was so great. They did because of price, and convienience (of speed and location).
The family place is likely shooting for a different angle and a different model. But being different is not justification for survival.

The only problem I have wit... (Below threshold)

The only problem I have with Wal-Mart is China. And I don't really have a problem with Wal-Mart using and benefitting from cheap Chinese labor. My issue is with elected officials and pundits teeing off on China as "bad, bad, bad" when obviously we don't care cause we benefit. Putting China on a "watch list" so we can wag our finger at them is pointless since we rely on them so much. Made In China is now as American as granny's apple pie.

SCSIwuzzy -You pos... (Below threshold)
jim:

SCSIwuzzy -

You posted:

+++++++++++++++
But it sound like you favor the subsidy model, to ensure there is a decent supply of a low demand product by raising the prices on high demand items.
+++++++++++++++


No, I think you've misread me. I went back and re-read my posts to make sure, but my assertion was that we need both WalMarts and small business stores. Otherwise, we might end up with nothing but sterile box stores and fast food outlets.

A related problem that I referenced is the temporary effects in local markets when a huge sterile store appears. Small biz oft has trouble weathering the short-to-mid term cash flow depression such can cause. Then, when the customer base becomes saturated (and it does) with eaten burgers, gobbled fries, machine jeans, particle board furniture, etc. and they return to a more balanced spending pattern, the previous choices they had enjoyed have gone under during the drought.

I just ask that you note that I have agreed all along that WalMarts and McDonalds are good things. I just don't want them to be the only things. So, if averting that sterility takes some minor tweaking, I think it is in my/our best long term interests to do so. (and I did say "minor")

No one is forcing these peo... (Below threshold)
bnorm:

No one is forcing these people to work at Wal-Mart. If a person wants employer-provided health insurance, I imagine that person would apply for employment somewhere that provides it. I wouldn't expect to work for Burger King and make $20.00 an hour with full health coverage. What reasonable person would? Why expect the same from Wal-Mart? That's why I went to school and got a job at a hospital. When did America change from the Land of Opportunity to the Land of Entitlement?

i bet all you pinko liberal... (Below threshold)

i bet all you pinko liberals would love it if unskilled laborers got health benefits from the very companies that get rich off their backs! but tell me this: how am i supposed to buy cheap crap made in china AND watch my wal-mart stocks go through the roof unless wal-mart is allowed to force these unskilled, uneducated morons into our government's medicaid program? tell me that, ya feminazis!!

i'm tired of all these union guys screwing america up!!! what's with them fighting for all those basic rights we now take for granted? the 40 hour work week, child labor laws, the minimum wage, basic safety regulations -- who needs 'em?!

and you blue states! look at how badly new york, california, and new jersey are doing in comparison to mississippi and alabama! red states have way better education, business, and quality of living! i don't need facts to prove this. i just know, man!

by the way, i'd like to remind you all that we live in a democracy, not a communist state! that means corporations get to charge taxpapers for the benefits they aren't willing to provide, okay? luck for us, dubya cut taxes so us taxpayers can't even afford to pick up the tab.

i may not believe in evolution, but that darwin guy got one thing right. survival of the fittest. if the poor are too stupid to pay for lobbyists like jack abramoff to bribe politicians, then screw 'em. god bless america!

When did America change ... (Below threshold)
Phinn:

When did America change from the Land of Opportunity to the Land of Entitlement?

1932 (with the election of FDR).

P.S. Mr. Stern, you could use a haircut.

only homosexuals cut their ... (Below threshold)

only homosexuals cut their hair.

You know, I am not a religi... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

You know, I am not a religious person, but tonight before I go to bed I am going to hit my knees and thank God that I don't have to deal with teddy in real life.




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