Saturday, February 14, 2009

Corporate Greed... Smoke Screens... and the Working Man

Wal-Mart released Q4-08 earnings reports Tuesday (02/17/09). They were impacted by the ailing economy, stronger dollar and increased costs ($3.8 billion, or 96 cents a share, compared with year-earlier earnings of $4.1 billion, or $1.02 a share). Still, they turned a very hefty profit. With the pressure of the economy crushing everyone's spirits, and their wallets, saving a few bucks by shopping at Wal-Mart makes sense. But some of Wal-Mart's actions this past week don't make sense... at least not on a human level.

The company has announced that it's closing a return center in Georgia and laying off all 400 employees. That's the second round of job cuts the retailer disclosed this week. Last Tuesday Wal-Mart revealed that it's cutting 700 to 800 positions at its corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. In addition, The Economic Times has reported that the retail giant is considering outsourcing business processes to India... contracts worth 300 to 500 million dollars. Hey, that's good for America!

As all of this was taking place, a spokesman for the company announced that the retailer would create thousands of store level jobs this year... which makes everything alright. Eliminating higher paid jobs and creating lower wage positions is exactly what American workers need... no?

This is the kind of thing that threatens to drag the U.S. down into the depths of depression. Why can't the country's largest retailer wait until we emerge from the economic crisis we're in to address these business issues? Why? Because the bad economy is a great smoke screen to restructure the company so it generates more money for the Walton family and other major stockholders of Wal-Mart. The little working minions at the bottom levels of the corporation don't matter... it's the bottom line that's important.

The right thing to do would be keep all current employees working and create thousands of new jobs. The frustrating thing is, Wal-Mart could do exactly that and still be profitable! But then of course, we wouldn't get to transfer a little more wealth to the top... and that's what America's all about... right?

No comments: