Super-Centers Are Leaving Part-Time Workers To Fend For Themselves

Wed Oct 08, 2014 06:06:59AM

Walmart, our nation's largest retailer, is cutting some 30,000 part-time employee's health care benefits, due to the rising costs for the company. The reports are showing that rising costs in keeping part-timers covered through their providers are costing them upwards of $500 million in increased charges this year alone, thanks in large part to the mandate that requires every adult citizen to be enrolled in some version of healthcare now. Basically their employees are all the sudden wanting to sign up that have never had coverage prior, and Walmart didn't anticipate such an overwhelming response. Crazy, right? Even part-time workers are interested in health insurance coverage.. go figure.

Question for me though becomes, why cut the coverage altogether? $500 million seems quite small in comparison to the billions and billions in pure profit the company makes each and every year. And with being the undisputed number one retail employer in the country, to my mind, comes with it a certain burden to make sure your employees are sufficiently taken care of, and provided for.

This is a disturbing trend when it comes to one of (if not the most) profitable companies in the world. More and more are they finding ways to pay their employees less, while offering them less and less incentive to be 'a part of the team'. 'Save Money. Live Better.', a Walmart slogan that seems only now suited for it's customers, and not for most of the employees that front line their registers, their bag check-out lanes, cart collecting systems, etc throughout the thousands of stores littered across the country.

What blows my mind is this stat, provided by local news channel KTLA5: The cheapest and most popular Wal-Mart plan currently costs employees as little as $18.40 per paycheck. (That’s going up to $21.90 next year.)

That is cheap. Begs the question though: why not just slightly increase the charge a bit more, instead of cutting the offering altogether? If you were to, say increase the premium by $5 or even $10 a paycheck, that could go a considerable way into decreasing the companies added expense, while still offering their part-timers a good deal on decent coverage. And while passing expenses onto the employee is still not an ideal solution by any means for such an extremely profitable company, at least it would be better than just having all their part-timers now left fending for themselves.

But that seems to be the new philosophy for the big retail chains that employee so many Americans these days. Target, Home Depot and Trader Joe's are among the other big name retailers that have decided it's simply too expensive to provide health care options for their part-time workers.

This modern-day, cultural practice of big business passing the buck on any and every added expenditure, but reaping every reward and utilizing every corporate tax loophole is appalling to me. This says nothing to the already known issue of the low wages that workers already make in so many Walmart stores, and doesn't even scratch the surface on the food stamp issue, that sees Walmart once again benefiting from our tax dollars and corporate tax loopholes.

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