Black Friday, for those of you who don’t live in North America or watch the news, is the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving and was invented by retailers to mark the official beginning of the Christmas shopping season. This year, the department store Kmart opened their stores at 6 am on Thanksgiving Day and stayed open for 41 hours straight. This event, among others across the nation, prompted employees to finally take a stand.
Activists organized demonstrations at McDonalds, Walmart and other minimum wage companies to protest mistreatment of employees and the lack of a living wage. The Monday before Black Friday, a video was released on a new website called Worker Center Watch. Here’s the kicker: Worker Center Watch is led by Joseph Kefauver, the former president of public affairs for Walmart.
Corporations fear that the new wave of activism could have a multiplier effect that goes way beyond better pay and benefits for their workers.
~ Lee Fang, thenation.com
When the protests at fast food locations began back in July, McDonald’s released a video to their employees. It included the following cost breakdown of how the average person can afford to live on a minimum wage income. Minimum wage in the United States is $7.25, or about $15,000 a year for full-time work. Of note is the line that says “Income (2nd job)” and the line that states heating is $0. Also included is savings of $100 and monthly disposable income of $800. This was meant to illustrate that if you were careful with your money, you should have no problem living on minimum wage. The result was a PR nightmare that showed the world how truly greedy, unsympathetic and downright stupid the executives really are.
Companies like Nike, Nordstrom and Walmart are now experimenting with how aggressive they can be with their employees, readying themselves to defeat labour unions. The retailers are also questioning why there are people working full-time minimum wage jobs when these positions are meant for people in school looking for part-time work. I don’t think it has to be one way or the other, mistreating people or dealing with a union. Walmart needs only look at their bottom line to realize that instead of an annual profit of $447 billion (I’m not making that number up), they can make a little less profit and pay their employees a little more per hour. Imagine the good press they’d receive by becoming the first company to treat their employees like people.
THE SQUARES – WEEK 48
I was lucky enough to receive some new yarn for my birthday so I used them in squares one, five, six and bonus square eight.
I’m in love with a new stitch combo! Start with an odd number of stitches, then single crochet two together, chain one across, sc in last stitch. It makes a thick, warm and reversible square. I can imagine how cozy a whole blanket would be!
Square Count: 336
Bonus Squares: 8