Written by dalepetrie
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Topics: employment

Monday, 15 March 2004

image for Wal-Mart Announces Plans to "Rollback" Wages, Employment Practices
Wal-Mart...slashing more than just prices!

Wal-Mart, Inc., the world's largest retailer, has announced plans to expand its wildly successful "Rollback" program to its wages and employment practices, according to a company spokesperson. "The concept of the rollback is extremely simple," company spokesperson Daniel Langtree said in a press conference earlier today, "when Wal-Mart gets a better price from its supplier on a particular product, we are able to pass the savings on to the consumer by ‘rolling back', or reducing prices. The more Wal-Mart is able to reduce its costs, the more we are able to roll back prices, and the more we roll back prices, the larger our revenue, market share and stock valuations become. This situation, along with the business friendly Bush administration policies, will allow us to roll back prices for consumers, by rolling back our overhead costs, the vast majority of which is labor.

"We determined that we could apply the rollback concept first to wages, simply by issuing pay stubs which show what an employee's earnings would have been, with a slash drawn through that number and a cute little illustration of a smiley face dressed up like Zorro, having just run his sword through the old number, producing the desired ‘slash' effect. Underneath that, there would be a line with the employee's new ‘rolled back' pay amount, with a winking smiley face symbol to the right of the number. We can start by reducing wages by 5% across the board (not counting the salaries of upper management of course), translating to an across the board savings to the end consumer for all Wal-Mart products.

"We don't anticipate any serious attrition issues in regards to this action for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that not a single Wal-Mart store has been successfully unionized, so the choice for most is to accept the pay cut or quit. Given the instability of the job market, most will be reluctant to quit, and someone who we could pay less to begin with would easily replace anyone who did quit. Given the number of people out of work, and the Bush administration's plans to loosen immigration policies with Mexico, along with their utter destruction of our education system via the No Child Left Behind Act, we expect the supply for unskilled workers to be on a steady increase for decades to come, while automation and mechanization will reduce the demand for unskilled labor to a negligible level.

"Eventually we will be able to sign people up to work for 25% below minimum wage (which we hope the Bush administration will reduce even further in the coming months), pay for zero benefits, and require them to work 84 hours per week without overtime pay, while gaining significant tax breaks for hiring the disadvantaged. Within 10 years, we hope to be able to sell pretty much everything currently in our stores for about half of what you'd have to pay today. Furthermore, we expect the wage slashing smiley face on their reduced paychecks, to bring a smile to the affected employees, making them forget all about how badly they're being screwed. This initiative has a twofold benefit in that it makes it next to impossible for our employees to be able to afford to shop anywhere but Wal-Mart, so effectively we expect to recoup about 75% of all the wages we pay out via in store sales.

"We've also come to realize that we can achieve even further savings by rolling back our employment practices in general. Another great thing the Bush administration has done is to make is next to impossible for an employee to sue his or her employer, therefore it is no longer in our best interest to spend untold sums of money on employee safety and ergonomics programs as a preventative measure to ward off costly litigation. The great thing about the business climate now is that we can literally work our employees to death, pay them next to nothing, not be liable for any of the medical expenses they incur, and simply replace them with warm bodies when they are no longer useful to us. As such, we can now start rolling back our internal safety and working condition regulations to eliminate mandatory bathroom, lunch and other breaks, we no longer need to invest in safety redundancies or to have unskilled employees supervised when performing dangerous tasks, we can now require 3 consecutive 24 hours shifts without paying overtime and no one will question it, and we anticipate if this trend continues, within a couple years we'll be able to bullwhip any employees who are not performing up to our standards.

"We also anticipate that the consumer's right to sue a business for product or other safety liability will be history by the end of next year, given the current political emphasis on ‘personal responsibility', so we will no longer have to de-ice our parking lots, or immediately mop up liquid spills, or refuse to carry any products that aren't properly tested or which have poor track records. All in all, rolling back our corporate commitment to our employees and our consumers to 1889 standards should add close to a trillion dollars to the pocketbooks of our shoppers, investors, management and directors over the next decade."

Many Wal-Mart shoppers, who wouldn't be able to shop and pay rent were it not for Wal-Mart's low prices, cheered the news of the new rollbacks. The news of this program also sent stock prices soaring from $58.18 a share early in the day, to a record high of $176.42. Wal-Mart employees were too beaten down to decry the news, simply accepting their fate as they have always been forced to do in the past.

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