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|So Much for ‘Remaking’ Its Image: Wal-Mart Sues Brain-Damaged Worker|
by James Parks, Nov 21, 2007
Wal-Mart has spent millions trying to convince consumers that its critics are wrong about its anti-worker actions and that it is a good company that cares about its employees and the community. But the way the company has treated Deborah Shank shows the retail giant’s true colors.
The company, which earned $2.9 billion last quarter, sued a former employee who suffered permanent brain damage in a car accident to get back $470,000 it spent on her medical bills.
Here’s the story. The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reported yesterday that Deborah Shank, 52, who stocked shelves in Wal-Mart’s store in Cape Girardieu, Mo., was broadsided by a tractor-trailer seven years ago, causing permanent brain damage. Unable to walk without help or communicate meaningfully with her family, she now lives in a nursing home.
Wal-Mart’s health insurance plan paid about $470,000 in medical expenses. But after the Shanks sued and settled with the trucking company, Wal-Mart sued the couple and demanded its money back, plus interest and legal fees—more than the $417,477 the settlement had placed in a special-needs Medicaid trust fund for Shank’s future health care expenses.
A federal judge ruled that Wal-Mart’s health care plan gave them first dibs on any money gained by an injured employee. Such provisions aren’t uncommon in health plans, and Wal-Mart isn’t the first to enforce one.
To add to the tragedy, shortly after the judge ruled against the Shanks, their son, Jeremy, was killed in Iraq. The Shanks have two other sons.
Deborah Shank, who receives Medicaid, is not the only Wal-Mart employee receiving public health care. More than 60 percent of Wal-Mart employees—600,000 people—are forced to get health insurance coverage from the government or through spouses’ plans or live without any health insurance. Last year, the AFL-CIO released a report showing how Wal-Mart shifts health care costs to consumers and a bunch of studies showing how Wal-Mart profits from taxpayers.
In the “it’s legal, but is it moral” category, Wal-Mart’s lawsuit shows its unrestrained greed. As the Los Angeles Times points out in an editorial today:
Doing what the law allows isn’t the same as doing the right thing, however. The company made itself whole at the expense of a helpless former employee who will never be whole again. Instead of having some resources to improve her care, Shank will receive only the basic services afforded her by Medicaid and Social Security. Nor will the trust fund be in a position to reimburse Medicaid (i.e., taxpayers), which stood to collect any unspent money upon Shank’s death.
Wal-Mart has spent the last few years working hard to rebut health care reformers, labor unions, anti-globalization groups and other critics who’ve argued that it puts profits ahead of humanity. While its advertising campaigns try to put a friendlier spin on the company, its behavior toward Shank tells a different story. If Wal-Mart can’t restrain itself, perhaps Congress should prevent health plans from draining settlements won by injured workers with more bills to pay.
Wal-Mart’s anti-worker actions could fill (and have filled) books.
Earlier this year, a New Jersey court ruled a class action suit could proceed on behalf of 80,000 current and former Wal-Mart employees who say they were forced to work off the clock.
Human Rights Watch issued a report showing how Wal-Mart systematically thwarts workers’ efforts to form unions. Recent reports also reveal how the retailers’ reliance on goods made by cheap labor in China threatens public safety and costs nearly 200,000 jobs.
Proof of the real Walmarts ideology regarding employees.
Posted: 12/19/2007 4:40:05 PM
Human Rights Watch issued a report showing how Wal-Mart systematically thwarts workers’ efforts to form unions.
Thats why they closed a store in Canada and used the excuse it was unprofitable even tho there was proof it was thriving...
Also, the reason their nasty meat is sold in the pre-packed packages and there is no actual meat market in the stores is a group in Texas or Oklahoma I think, who were meat cutters, voted in a union and Wal-Mart had to close the meat markets to advoid violating the union busting rules...
And a as a footnote, they don't pay local property taxes as they don't actually own the real estate where their stores are...
The have a seperate compant that owns the real estate and they pay them rent...
Posted: 12/24/2007 4:01:13 AM
|>>>It would appear that the opposite is true.|
I see no mention that their healthcare plan applies to workers who have worked for them for less than 6 months(which was what I was referring to....you know....in that quote I put up....)
It looks awfully alot like spin when I say "Costco likely makes their employees wait 6 months to a year for their healthcare plan to apply" and you answer "the Opposite is true- they pay their employees more, and more of their employees are covered under it"- while thats a handy quote, it completely ignored what I said....
Posted: 4/2/2008 4:57:51 AM
|Walmart pays really good wages too. |
You got to be kidding since Mgrs salary is starting at 32 with expectation you will work at least 50 hours a week . Do the math the hourly wage ends up being about 13 bucks an hour. For this 32 k you also are the mgr of 17 other wal mart departments in stores all over the state.
Benefits that is even worse. suppose for example you pay the insurance as a part time person you get hit by an 18 wheeler you are left severely brain damaged. Your son goes off to Iraq he gets killed. but you are so brain damaged you ask every day about him in your barely understandable voice. Then you finally get a settlement from the trucking company of one million dollars and after fee's and lawyers you have 479,000 left. This money is supposed to last you the rest of your life to pay medical bills nursing care etc. but now wal mart wants to be reimbursed for the money they spent for 4 years on your care. therefore leaving you a broke brain dead woman who now has to have the US government pay for her care. OH and by the way folks a lot of the insurance companies have this clause in there contract.
Oh yeah any veterans out there well get this wal mart is now being sued by the feds for not giving returning veterans there jobs back. gee this sounds like a place I want to spend my money. I am not even going into detail about how the factories in China they are funding or the sweat shops the cloths are being made in. I here some people say wal mart has the freshest meats etc you got to be kidding it is proceeded in a plant a thousand miles from your home that meat is fresher than the local supermarket or butcher how do you figure that one. The animal is trucked several hundred miles stressed out (which does change the flavor) then slaughtered then processed and then shipped to you I do not think that makes it fresh
Posted: 4/2/2008 5:24:17 PM
|Costco food is FABULOUS. One of my classmates and I were talking about that this morning and she told me that she loves to go with her fiance and his dad to Costco because she loves the food there. I absolutely love the corn chowder with crabmeat. It is soooooo gooooood!! |
I don't think I want to try eating meat from Wal Mart
Posted: 7/20/2008 8:23:03 PM
Poor SAM is rolling over in his grave seeing what has happened to his American company that used to pride itself on American goods. Oh for my Canadian friends this includes Canada.
Posted: 7/21/2008 5:02:45 AM
|>>> Do the math the hourly wage ends up being about 13 bucks an hour. |
Aren't their managers adults? Can't they see this when they agree to work there? Aren't they responsible for the decisions they make?
Why do you believe grown adults should be protected from their own decisions?
Posted: 7/21/2008 7:35:03 AM
|There is a place in iowa, that the handicap work for. THat one time it paid its workers to do nothing but take labels off car parts that said Made In China. That was when the old man was still alive and wanted as much stuff made in usa as possible. NOw walmart doesn't care where the hell their product comes from. Just as long as they can sell it cheaper than anyone else. (My ex was a supervisor at this place)|
Posted: 7/21/2008 11:59:03 AM
|Why is it that the two companies the liberals hate most, WalMart and McDonalds, are responsible for creating more millionaires out of average folks than any other business entities in the world???|
Posted: 7/22/2008 9:04:07 PM
|Comparing McD's to Wal Mart is like comparing apples to oranges. McD's coexists with other businesses in a community while Wal Mart kills mom and pop shops.|
The people at Wal Mart are so badly paid that they CAN'T get a better job because they can't afford to go to school to better themselves. THat attitude about "entitlement mentality" is absurdly unrealistic. Wal Mart is so BAD that workers find that welfare PAYS MORE. To get people off welfare, you gotta make WORK PAY!! None of these cheap wages--Wal Mart wages drive people to go on welfare and isn't a motivator to get ahead in life!! The minimum wage should be a high enough living wage so that people can own a car and a home without worrying about making ends meet. This would motivate MORE people to work because work would pay far more than welfare.
Posted: 7/23/2008 4:58:51 AM
|>>>McD's coexists with other businesses in a community while Wal Mart kills mom and pop shops.|
Nonsense- Walmart doesn't harm a single business. Its the consumers who cause harm, and only because they work for their own happiness and not the happiness of the collective.
I find it disgusting to find people blaming Walmart for giving consumers a chance to pay less for their own products- as if its Walmarts fault for giving people the opportunity, rather than the consumers fault for taking their business there. What is so hard about this concept? If people wanted to support Ma and Pa shops, then they would reguardless if there was or was not a Walmart.
You're not fighting a big bad corporation- you're fighting the concept of competition. You believe that people should have freedom from competition- that the government should protect them from their choices and the freedom to make them- and that's socialism. Stop playing games and represent your beliefs as they are, not as you wish us to see them.
>>>The people at Wal Mart are so badly paid that they CAN'T get a better job because they can't afford to go to school to better themselves.
And why then do I spend my taxes for student loans? For night schools?
It is entirely an entitlement mentality. The people you are talking about- the low wage earners, since Walmart hires everything from cashiers to pharmacists to mechanics- are working unskilled labor jobs. Why should they get paid a premium? Isn't that a handout- basically welfare at the cost of corporations rather than tax payers? My, what a solution! Rather than bleed out the government, lets bleed out the producers of the country. I'm not in support of welfare by any means- but switching the victim of the tax payers(at the butt of a gun) with the victim of the business(at the butt of a gun) is still just as wrong.
Moreso, why aren't you pushing for all businesses to pay this premium? Do Ma and Pa shops pay this premium? Why shouldn't they?
Oh, but Walmart is successful- so its okay to drain them and loot them of their success until they are no better than any other shop- once again, your beef is with the concept of competition, not the treatment of workers- otherwise, you'd be fighting for nationwide wage increases- you wouldn't scoff at the concept of comparing McDonalds to Walmart- McDonalds has numerous employees on minimum wage too.
>>> This would motivate MORE people to work because work would pay far more than welfare.
How would it motivate people if everything they want is given to them before they leave high school? If I make 58 Grand a year as a cashier at Walmart, and 60 Grand a year as a mechanic, why would I pay the 10 grand it'd cost to become a mechanic?
The minimum wage is not meant to be a living wage, where you can afford 2 cars, a house, and 3 kids with- you're expected to earn that money- and the only way you can do that is by improving your skills, so that your employer values you more than anyone who walks in and hands in a resume.
I find this whole concept just pointless to even argue about- if you demand a single business pay more than any other business, you're punishing the business who succeed simply because of their ability to be successful, while supporting business who fail because of their own inability to compete. How is that a precedent to develop an ideal society on? Wouldn't that destroy all peoples desires to form businesses, and compete, since we all get the same standard? Why would anyone start a new business, if people intend to loot it the moment it because successful. Obviously then the only businesses that would succeed would be ones who fail.
Conversely, if you increase the minimum wage, the first people to suffer would be the people who cannot compete- the Ma and Pa shops you are so ready to defend.
So clearly, by increasing the minimum wage, you give the country to corporations in an attempt to punish corporations- meanwhile, if you punish the corporations, you create destruction, since all you're really doing is looting a successful business for being successful, in a vain attempt to save failing businesses from failing due to their own inability to compete. Keep the bad companies, destroy the successful ones.
Meddling does not work. You heart is in the right place, but this is a situation where you are to use your head.
Posted: 7/24/2008 7:34:33 PM
|>>>No maybe they like the job enough to hope they can get a higher wage eventually.|
Then they've diluted themselves. If I have a job that pays minimum wage, and absolutely refuse to make myself more valuable to the company from the day I stepped in the door, then why should I expect that I get a pay increase? For showing no intuitive? For bringing no additional value to the company at age 27 that I didn't bring at age 18?
For gods sakes, Walmart hires numerous different kinds of jobs- the only reason after many years that you are still in retail is your own fault- Walmart is not responsible for egging you on for bettering yourself.
>>>Why should they have to look for better jobs?
They don't have to- they can choose to or choose not to. They shouldn't demand greater treatment in the tone of the threat.
>>>What excuse does Wall Mart have for not paying there employee a higher wage. They sure are making enough money to.
And that's where it all comes down to, isn't it? This isn't about earning your worth- that'd require you to gain some skills. Instead, its about draining Walmarts worth- its about looting a business, and claiming its your right.
>>> They should be payed a premimum because they are humans and deserve a decent paying job.
Doesn't the word "deserve" imply entitlement? I ask once again- why only Walmart? Why don't you demand all business's pay their employees a 'decent' wage? I'm not certain in America, but in Canada, many of restaurant servers and bartenders make less than minimum wage- why aren't you expressing outrage out these exploited individuals? Or the people who work at Ma and Pa shops? These people have a greater chance of being paid less, and less people are being paid from these companies- why no outrage on behalf of them?
>>>So you think people are not entitled to have enough to live on?
If they did not have enough to live on, then they should find a better job, and then Walmart wouldn't have enough employees to run their business- and thus would have to raise their wages as an incentive.
Once again, we come back to the previously mentioned axiom- that these workers are grown adults- they, not you, Walmart, or the Government, are responsible for these peoples choices- if they choose to work at a job that will not pay them enough, and choose to continue to work there, then they, not you, or Walmart, or the Government, have to face the consquences of their choices.
>>>It is selfish people like you who are what wrong with the world who only look out and care for themselves.
Whats more selfish- expecting people to gain skills to make themselves invaluable for the company they work for, or expecting their company to shell out more money to their employees for no other reason than they exist? For jobs that you could train any unskilled laborer to do in half a day?
Moreso, whats the greater ideal- to work towards ones happiness, or to work against your own happiness by working for your employees? Which will ultimately lead to your own happiness- sacrificing your own joy for others, or accomplishing your own joy?
Moreso, whats more moral- forcing people to accept your morality, or allowing people to choose their own, even if it is selfish?
And, of course, we have to ask- where would all this money you're demanding the employees get come from? Should Walmart alienate their customers by raising prices, thereby encouraging them to go to another store? Or should they fire unnecessary employees, to make up that lost earnings? This isn't magic awesome fun time where money magically appears from nothing- if you start paying your employees more, that money has to come from something- to raise your prices because your employees demand more is nothing more than your employees looting a successful business for all its wealth- conversely, I cannot see how you could ever explain that firing employees is moral while in the same sentence complain about how desperately the existing employees need that wage
Posted: 7/24/2008 9:46:14 PM
The stores (There are 4 superstores and 3 neighborhood markets in my city alone) are frequently dirty and disorganized. The quality of the merchandise is often marginal (clothing, appliances, furnishings, etc) and lives up to the "you get what you pay for" saying.
I own a little bit on stock in Walmart that I bought many years ago. When I bought it I liked the company, but now it is completely different than what Sam Walton started. The only Walmarts I have seen in the last 10 years that are clean and organized are new. All the ones that have been open for more than a few months are cluttered, dirty and staffed with people whom could not care less about their jobs.
In my area, the stores often bring out the "unwashed masses". I hate to use that term, but it was an extremely common occurance for me to find myself stuck in an aisle behind an extremely overweight woman doing her worst to a pair of brightly colored stretch pants/leggings while 3 or 4 noisy kids were running around her ankles screaming, "Mommy, mommy, mommy!!) Or a family of 6 that never learned that if you need to stop in an aisle to look at something, it is common courtesy to move yourself and your cart over to one side.
I find myself going to Target more and more because of this. I am so cheap I will make a nickel scream, but I would rather spend a few dollars extra and have a decent experience than suffer (yes, suffer) though going to the normal Walmart hassles. Target is not all that, but they do keep their stores clean and their clientele generally seems to have graduated high school.
Posted: 7/24/2008 10:53:15 PM
McD's coexists with other businesses in a community while Wal Mart kills mom and pop shops
Nonsense- Walmart doesn't harm a single business. Its the consumers who cause harm, and only because they work for their own happiness and not the happiness of the collective
Exactly ... consumers shop competitively for their own happiness and not for the happiness of society as a whole. When the mom and pop shops can offer the same prices as Wally World, then I'll give them the business. For now, Wal-Mart prices works for me. It's the nature of business competition. Why should I pay a premium simply to support mom and pop ... unless they can offer something Wal-Mart can't??
Costco can pick up the slack after Wal Mart goes out of business
Costco??? Pay for the privilege of shopping there?? Not a chance.
Posted: 7/24/2008 10:57:14 PM
|I agree that Target is a better company and the kind of company that deserves our business. I just would love to see the American people wake up to what Wal Mart is really all about, and deprive them of business so that good companies like Target, Sears and Costco can pick up the slack after Wal Mart goes out of business (yes, I can dream of a world without Wal Mart--it would be a much better one indeed!!)|
Posted: 7/25/2008 4:16:46 AM
|One of the ways to realy show your age is when you can say stuff like... "I remember when Walmart proudly sold American made goods!" or "I remember when their service was great!"|
Posted: 7/25/2008 10:54:25 AM
|Walmart is not a local entity for me, as a matter of fact if you wanted to go to a town that had both a Walmart AND a McDonald's in the same zip code you would have to either travel 130 miles to Williston North Dakota or go international and go to Regina SK which is approximately the same distance. Groceries in this very small town in NE Montana are outrageous. How about over $5 for a gallon of vitamin D whole milk.|
So if I happen to be going to either of these two places I am dammed sure going to stop in and buy groceries. But gas being what it is here ($4.29 for regular) it negates the savings you would make in the cheap food.
Posted: 7/25/2008 1:24:58 PM
|>>> I never said that it is the same thing as in Africa I said the same ideals are here that everyone should be selfish and only look out for themselves and how the world is going this is not working out to well.|
Funny- dirsup doesn't sound like he's selfish- he wants decent products at a good price- he's looking out for his own well being- and yet, according to your standards, by supporting Walmart, he is selfish.
Wanting food, clothing, and pills at a lower price- how selfish of him!
What I find most appalling is you aren't requesting for sacrifice- you're demanding it. That is utterly horrible, and completely immoral- that if someone who worked hard and achieved something, they owe their money to those who did not. Worship mediocrity while damning exceptionalism. Give to those who built nothing by tearing down what others built. Not only that, but you believe it is your right to force this belief onto others! My, what a grand ideal to build a society on!
Do you not feel shame for feeling pity? That disgusting feeling you have when you experience it- its not your love of your brother, but the disgust within yourself that you would look at another human being and pronounce such judgment upon a man- that they have no value, and have absolutely no respect for that person- since clearly they need money without earning it- and you DARE to demand we must all feel absolutely no shred of respect for this any and all persons, and call it a virtue.
All people are responsible for their choices and their lives. That doesn't mean the job they turn to when their plans fail must hold responsibility if things don't work out- they should earn it, like the people that came before them, rather than loot the business that had the immorality to give them employment.
>>>Educate yourself really you do know that not everyone has money to go to college
Ever hear of student loans? My taxes pay for them. Hell, if they want to rise from within Walmart, chances are they'd foot the bill.
>>>and even if they do once they get out there is not sure thing that a job in the field will be there.
Is this societies fault? Should I get a mechanics wage despite the fact that I don't work as a mechanic? I got a sister who graduated college to be a marine doctor of sorts- now she works at a photo section of a drug store- does she demand hand outs?
>>>The only ones who object to this is the CEO who do not want to lose money from there million dollar salary.
Really? Seems like there's alot of Walmart CEO's on this particular thread, then.
Posted: 7/25/2008 3:31:52 PM
|My son-in-law has been putting frozen food on the shelves at WalMart for 13 years, he is of modest intelligence but he owns an STV (my name for a Chevy truck-somewhat trucklike vehicle) and pays child support for his two brats and half the rent on the house I own they are living in. I guess he makes somewhere between $13-14 an hour and (hopefully this stopped when he married my daughter) had plenty of female co-workers to have illicit casual sex with. I guess not a bad deal for him...|
Posted: 7/25/2008 11:24:44 PM
|>> To make enough to live on you need at least 9 or 10 dollars. It is hard to find a place that pays that.|
And do you think this is a coincidence?
Moreso, if we increase the pay for retail, won't the cost of products increase? Time to celebrate decency- you're preaching an ideal that will ensure those who are employed will be paid in excess, until their business can no longer afford to keep them employed, while discouraging people from hiring anyone else- So if we would put your ideals into practice, we'd have an increased unemployment while at the same time, make food and clothing more expensive and less accessible to the unemployed and impoverish
>>> To make enough to live on you need at least 9 or 10 dollars.
Ironically enough, though, the average pay for full time workers for Walmart? That's right- $10.75
Posted: 7/26/2008 10:40:36 AM
|I would say that wages need to be closer to $15 an hour to make a decent living these days with gas prices being so high.|
Posted: 7/27/2008 4:57:04 AM
|>>>I would say that wages need to be closer to $15 an hour to make a decent living these days with gas prices being so high.|
Gas is a necessity? You cannot live without using a car?
While we're at it, why not simply have Papa Government ration the gas to you? After all- you seem to think you're entitled to it.....
Nonetheless, I love how I proved that the reality is exactly as the standards you demanded- then you increased the standards. Smooth. If they had earned $15 an hour, I'm sure you'd be complaining that the average full time employee isn't earning $20
>>>So instead of paying the CEO 50 million dollars why don't they use some of that money to pay there employees better.
Because that CEO worked hard to be where they are- they spent years in schools and decades proving to those around them that they are competent- they are able- they can lead their business and bring in superior profits- and you believe it is your right to dictate a limit on how much these people can make?
You damn those who work hard to protect those who refuse to. How is that going to create an ideal society? Won't it stifle competition, if those who work hard are punished while those who do not are rewarded?
>>>If the products increase at Wall Mart a little bit it is not going to kill the store.
Can't people do that already? If I want to go to a store that supports my ideals at increased cost, I can go to Costco- where the prices are increased, and you pay to enter the building, because the employees are paid more. Why do you believe it is your right to dictate how these stores are run? Can't you simply choose to take your business elsewhere?
What about the people who NEED those lower prices? What if you can't afford to go to Costco? What about people who work for Ma and Pa shops, who make significantly less than those whom you demand we pity, Walmart employees? Should they go without because they don't earn enough? Should they have to go with less food, less clothing, dirty clothes, ect, because you believe it is your right to enforce your ideals through a private business?
It sure is easy to say people can spend more on the price of food when YOU'RE not hungry.
Posted: 7/27/2008 5:36:13 AM
|HEY folks... Bob here.|
Just my 2cents here...
A friend of mine once told me-
"Walmart RUIN small towns!"
(because they put all the mom
and pop's out of business).
This interested me, wanted to
check it out- just for s**** and
giggles- you know?!
What I found out thru a PBS type
of (hopefully) un-biased program
was...... what WallyMart does is-
they "bully" a LOT of the makers/
producers of the products they
As in, they just tell company a or b
(maybe a big clothing maker ,or say
frozen food producer)- "look, we are
NOT paying x or y for said products
we purchase from you... we are paying
"Z"...... and thats that!!! 0 questions.
And if said company doesnt shut up, and
take what Walmart GIVES em'............
WallyMart just says, ok... that ongoing
order of say 68.9 million "widgets" a year-
T-H-E-N, the city where these widgets
are made goes belly-up because their
"bread and butter" for jobs goes byebye.
Say anywhere from what, 23-41% of that
city MIGHT be employed there.
And to think the residents of that particular
city, probably looked at WallyMart as say
a "savior" to them- when they had first
brought whatever operations they brought
there- jobs, job, JOBS- or so they thought?!?!
And ***ESPECIALLY*** in the here-and-now
economy as we all know!!!!!!!!!!!!
Any comments on my 2 cents worth??????! ;)
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