Wal-Mart Vs. Harvard By Betsy Newmark

It’s a shame that people in Evergreen Park, Illinois just haven’t received the message about how overwhelmingly evil Wal-Mart is and how working there is really a form of slave labor.

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.

So what if many of these positions are part-time work? Maybe people would like those jobs. Maybe they’re mothers or senior citizens who don’t want to work full time. Maybe they’re students who want to work after school. Why don’t we grant these people the respect to expect that they know if they want these jobs and if the jobs fit their working needs?

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It’s clear that Wal-Mart haters have their standard criticisms to make whenever they’re approached by a reporter and that facts don’t really matter to them. So, they’ll just cast aspersions without any basis.

“We just think them coming out and telling the press that they have 25,000 applications is disingenuous,” says Tim Drea, legislative director for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 881. “I think it’s a PR stunt.”

Mr. Drea says he’d like to see the applications himself before putting faith in that number.

Plus, he says overall he worries that the store will hire more part-time workers rather than full-time employees with benefits.

“Wal-Mart is lowering the bar in retail from what wages once were,” he said.

Does he really think that Wal-Mart, knowing that the jackals are circling around everything they do would risk putting out a fraudulent announcement of how many people applied for a job? And, of course, the allegations that they’re hiring more part-time workers just happens not to be true.

He [the Wal-Mart manager in the Chicago area] said the 325 jobs include cashier, stocking, sales and back office positions. The average pay for non-management full-time positions is $10.99 an hour.

Wal-Mart said more than 70% of the new positions will be full-time.

So, what the union spokesman is reduced to claiming is that Wal-Mart is planning some time in the future to change these full-time jobs over to part-time jobs and the unions are on to this nefarious plan.

But, go back to that original statistic: “25,000 applications for 325 positions.” That means that only 1.3% of the applicants will get jobs. Applicants have a better chance of getting into Harvard (10.3% admission rate in 2004) or Yale (9.9% admission rate in 2004) than you do of getting a job at this Wal-Mart store. Ponder that.

This content was used with the permission of Betsy’s Page.

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