Walmart food drive sparks protests

A member of union-backed United for Respect at Walmart, whose members include employees of the retailer, protest a Thanksgiving food drive for associates. The organization argues Walmart should pay high enough wages so associates can afford to make a Thanksgiving meal. 

Courtesy/United for Respect at Walmart

You wouldn’t think a Thanksgiving food drive would be controversial.

But a Walmart in Canton, Ohio this month inadvertently sparked an uproar by putting out collection bins with a sign “Please donate food items so associates in need can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner.”

Some Walmart employees and observers saw the food drive as proof that that the mass merchandiser didn’t pay livable wages.

But Walmart said the sentiment behind the collection bins — a decision made at the store level —  was twisted out of context. The bins were for employees who might be enduring tough circumstances, such as losing a home to a fire or other misfortune.

“What these associates are doing is making sure if there’s someone out there with a special, critical, unforeseen need, that they’re being taken care of,” Walmart spokeswoman Kory Lundberg told “They’re getting what they need and they’re getting support.”

Tiffany Beroid of Organization United for Respect at Walmart told

“As Wal-Mart workers, we do come together and support each other, but we shouldn't have to collect food from or for each other when our employer is making $17 billion in profits. Wal-Mart should publicly commit to pay us $25,000 a year," said union-backed OUR Walmart's Tiffany Beroid. "We don't want handouts, we want an employer that pays us enough to cover Thanksgiving dinner for our families.”

Do you think Walmart deserves the heat it has taken for the food drive? What are your thoughts on minimum wage?

(19) comments

Rich Gray

Wal-Mart is my LAST choice of store to shop at. I do not respect them as a corporation but I know many people that either work for them or other companies that supply Wal-Mart. So when I do have to go to Wal-Mart I feel OK about it.
But Wal-Mart Corporation needs to look at some of this countries former power house retailers that are now in trouble and take note. Empty shelves to me are unforgivable and yet many times what I am at the store for is not on those very shelves.
Wal-Mart will point out that they contribute to charities and they do BUT PAY YOUR OWN EMPLOYEES A DECENT WAGE!

Gary Miller

Those "power house companies" with empty shelves all have the same problem. They pay employees so (too) much consumers revolted from picking up the tab.

Yes Rich, consumers really do control how much employes are paid.

George Croix

Both the title and the story should have made the effort to differentiate between what one store in Ohio did vs what any or all others are doing.
Your headline would leave readers of a local newspaper to assume that local Wal-Mart(s) were involved or doing the same. Even the last sentence in the article alludes to Wal-Mart in general.
C'mon. Report, don't indoctrinate.

Ann Derek

Walmart hires people for entry level jobs, for the most part. If these whiney employees want a higher paying job, do what other people do - get an education or go to work someplace else. I'm sick of these sheeple thinking they're owed a living just because the unions want to sign them up to further their liberal cause.

Curtiss Brown

I know you are from the Mainlandl and all but you should realize that 'entry level jobs' are actual jobs. They are necessary jobs for the functioning of the economic system that is WalMart and they should be reasonably compensated. The determination of reasonable compensation should not be a function solely of the masters of WalMart but input from the workers and the community as well.

You are comfortable with paying taxes to give health care to the employees of WalMart? Shouldn't WalMart pay enough for their own necessary workers so that they do not have to sponge off of you?

George Croix

Interesting issue.
The ACA will provide some subsidy for a family of four making as much as 94,000 bucks a year. That's roughly 45 bucks an hour for one person for a year at an average 2080 hours per year.
The sponge just keeps getting bigger, no matter how much money is paid per hour.

Raymond Lewis

On Forbes recently published list of the country's most wealthy, Wal-Mart had three in the top ten. Each with a net worth of over thirty billion...that's with a 'b'. The total together was north of 100 billion. Much of the wage and benefit complaints against the giant is deserved. Others like Cost-Co seem to do a better job for their employees and still do well for their bottom line.

Gary Miller

How do you know Cost co does OK for it's bottom line.
Do the owners, the Chineses peoples army, report profits?

Raymond Lewis

IHOG, you must be confused. COST-co was founded by two Americans, one of which remains the CEO. In no way is it associated with any Chinese owner ship. Do your home work. If you can provide evidence to the contrary, I stand corrected.

Gary Miller

Less volume, fewer employees equals less overhead. Cost-Co's business model is predicated on those facts.

Jarvis Buckley

If Walmart cared anything at all about our island and it's history, they would
Replace the memorial that was destroyed by Ike. The St. Mary's Orphanage
Where so many children died in the 1900 storm. They built the store on top of the
Site. Capitalism at its worst. Walmart.

Gary Miller

Paying more than a job is worth is a HANDOUT.
Unfair to consumers who must pay the difference.
If pay were doubled would the product or service be worth double?

Wal *Mart's 1.400,000 (1,4 million) employees serve over 2,000,000,000 (2 billion) customers. Who should they serve?

$17 billion profit? Not enough to properly service their outstanding shares of stock. Who deserves that $17 billion?
The stockholders who financed the company or a union that contributed nothing but strife?

Unions would like to reduce the take home pay of Wal*Mart employees by deducting union dues. Union dues are before tax, forcing members to pay taxes on money the union takes from their paychecks.

Kevin Lang

If Wal-Mart's wages are not sufficient to allow its employees to be independent, who do you think is making up the shortfall? If they need healthcare and cannot afford it, or the wages aren't enough to allow them to feed their families, then they will receive government assistance. Do you think that's a more "efficient" cost for the consumers than a wage hike? Perhaps to Wal-Mart shoppers, since a government tax is going to hit ALL consumers, regardless of whether they shop at Wal-Mart.

Also, common stock has virtually nothing to do with a company's indebtedness. A share of common stock of Wal-Mart means little more than what another investor thinks it's worth. You're not a lienholder, nor do you have title to a single can of food on their shelves. If the company goes bankrupt, you will likely get nothing.

Gary Miller


When you buy a share of stock of any company you invested in the company. Your investment deserves it's share of the corporate profits. If profits are too low the stock ( investment ) looses value. Without profits the investment has no value. Called bankruptacy.
Yes, in bankruptacy stock holders ( investors ) can lose everything. All employees can also become unemployed.
Good corporations make sure they earn enough they don't become bankrupt.
$17 billion profits for the outstanding shares of the worlds biggest retailor is barely enough to satisfy investors and service corporate debt.
Wal*Mart already pays it's 1.4 million employees $32 billion a year.
When quoting Wal*Marts profits of $17 billion you should also quote their $32 billion payroll.

Kevin Lang

Common stock has next to nothing to do with the book value of a company. Many companies have a far greater market cap than they have in asset values. In fact, many tech companies issue common stock before they've even earned a profit.

In most cases, when you buy common stock, you're speculating on the future of the company, not the present. There is nothing guaranteeing the value of your investment. The company, without adding any assets, can issue 20 million more shares tomorrow, diluting the value of your investment. Or, they can sell off 90% of their assets, virtually eliminating any security for your investment.

In many ways, the value of a common stock is very much like the value of a dollar. It's based on the assesment of what the full faith and credit of the issuer is.

Larry Kirkendall

In my youth I was the epitome of a Yellow Dog Democrat, mostly because my parents voted Democratic. Later in life I shifted my political views toward the right though it took a long time for me to call myself a Republican. In light of today's unbridled corporate greed and the in your face arrogance of our elected officials and government agencies, I don't know what to call myself anymore, maybe awake and eyes opened to this country's strife.

But specifically; Walmart's food drive, the idiocracy of it is mind boggling. Regardless of Walmart's good speak rhetoric about why the collection bins were set out they profited from it. If they have valued employees as they state, maybe the use of a tiny drop on the 17 billion profit margin would be appropriate, or even more common sense, pay your employees a living wage. I realize that any corporate giant owes its soul to the stockholders but at 17 billion profit and dividend of $1.88 a share, not many shareholders are going to dump their stock. Also, Walmart is saving $180 million on federal taxes this year by paying dividends at the end of 2113 rather than the first of 2014, this straight from the Walmart website. There's a nice little windfall to help the people that make the Walton family some of the richest people in the world.

Jim Forsythe

IHOG "Walmart has had a history of opposition to unions," And the best way to avoid a union is to go into states where it's more difficult to unionize." Walmart has very few if any union employees It also has history of not letting you work full time unless you are management

I do not know where you work or retired from but even if you were management a union may have played a part in your wages and benefits.
Think if you had to work for a low wage part time .
Also think if walmart or other companys will not pay enough to live on most likely you and I will have to pick up the cost .

George Croix

If there ever WAS any incentive for WalMart to put all employees on a 40 hour week, that is now utterly dead with the ACA's fallout making 30 hour weeks, actually 29.5, the 'new normal' for many businesses, or pay a staggering price for their business' success. A 'tax' on good performance, as it were. Very 'progressive'.
And certainly with the 'fundmental change' in DC directed hostility towards business and strangulation by regulation, THOUSANDS of new ones, of increased jobs opportunity. Robbing Peter to give to Paul doesn't make for much job growth.
Jim, I have recognized you to be a fair and honest person all the many years I've known you, agree or disagree with each other.
So, question:
With college graduates with marketable skills now competing for low skill jobs, and with formerly long time fully employed skilled people let go due to the economic principals in play that prefers to see them on Unemployment Insurance (more 'bang for the buck'...) rather than at a real paying job, WHAT is the incentive for ANY business to raise employment or salaries, especially if that businesses main client base is OTHER people struggling to make ends meet?
Aside, that is, from the special exemptions and favors that The Powers That Be have given to their political cronies that will, TEMPORARILY, aid those cronies.
Why temporary? Because BUSINESSES are the ones who create and maintain jobs, not employee advocacy groups. And right now, in this miserable excuse for a 'progressive' economy, there is a lot more likelihood that businesses, and along with them jobs, disappear, than that employees get more than token, short lived power.
I don't like that. But, you get what you vote for, even if you find out later you got lied to. Unfortunately, all the rest of us got it, too...
Merry Christmas, Jim.
Hope you and yours are well.

Jim Forsythe

The way I look at it is not a Democrat or Republican problem. It is part of cycle where we swing from pro business to pro labor. We went along this path in 80’s. If we look deep into what happens we might expose the people behind the seen that are calling shots. Look at lobbyists and we might get a hint as to what is happening. Most of the time its the same people behind seen whether a Democrat or Republican is President (all about the money)
Also to me part of the problem is that we for years told every young person to go to collage. Now we have a lot of people with large student loans and low paying jobs.
My nephew is a Veterinarian and he has own practice .He is just breaking even. The vet schools are telling the incoming student to look at something else as we have to many vets as a lot of the older vets are not retiring. You can look at this as x number of jobs in market place and now we have x+ people trying to find jobs. If everyone had a collage degree we would have collage degreed people in every job we have .
As far as the Affordable Care Act
I look for it to be changed to what they wanted us to have in first place and we will be so happy. Kind of like gas at $3.50 that is now $3.00 and no one is upset about it.

Merry Christmas, George .
Hope you and yours are well
(key board sticking please forgive anything that is typed wrong)

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