Monday, April 21, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Local worker is fired for protesting

EDITOR:

A young woman supporting two children was fired from her job recently. She worked at our local Walmart for eight years. She loved her job, and the customers loved her.

So what was her infraction? Walmart doesn’t have to say. That’s California’s law.

So what changed? She took a week off work, personal time, and joined her fellow workers at the Walmart shareholders meeting in Arkansas. She was there to bring the voice of Walmart employees across this country, who are too scared to speak up, about pay and benefits that are so low they are subsidized by the taxpayers in food stamps and Medi-Cal. But most of all, she was there to bring attention about the retaliation against Walmart workers when they speak up.

Twenty-six Walmart employees were fired for going to Arkansas, 11 who protested here in California, and five who went to Yahoo! headquarters to speak to the Yahoo! CEO. That’s 42 workers in one week.

The CEO of Yahoo! sits on the Walmart board. All five who were arrested in Sunnyvale just wanted to have a Walmart board member hear their complaints.

Do these corporate leaders have any loyalty or obligation to their workers? Do they have any loyalty to anything other than the dollar?

Our founding fathers and fellow colonists were worried about this aristocratic-corporate attitude toward their fellow citizens from the start.

Back in the 17th century England created the East India Trading Company, one of the very first corporate giants who manipulated colonial law and ignored the citizen’s voices. This was the very company that the Boston Tea Party protested against.

Was our young mother and local citizen doing anything different? And she didn’t do any property damage.

Alexander Hamilton voiced his concerns in the Federalist Papers when he warned us about commerce’s loyalty must be “to” the country, not self-serving profits.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams also voiced their concerns in their 1813 letters. Jefferson said, “I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

As it stands today, it looks like we’ve failed our forefathers when we see corporations such as Walmart manipulating the government and commerce before our eyes.

Do you think Hamilton, Adams and Jefferson were speaking out for people like our local mother who lost her job because she spoke out against the aristocracy, Walmart, and the retaliation of her fellow workers?

PAT SNELLING
Garden Valley

Letters to the Editor

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Discussion | 33 comments

  • Foaming at the MouthJuly 09, 2013 - 3:29 pm

    Pat, why do you hate capitalism?

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  • cookie65August 02, 2013 - 6:05 am

    I can't imagine protesting my employment. I can imagine finding another job. Walmart does not owe anyone a job. They have jobs with a known wage or salary, if you don't like the compensation look elsewhere. On what planet does the employee dictate what a position is worth. A business has the right to terminate any employee. If she traveled to Arkansas to whine and complain she should be glad she is no longer employed by Walmart, they did her a favor and now she is free to complain about her next job if she can find one in this obamaeconomy. By the way, the CEO of Yahoo is an obama bundler.

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  • SusieAugust 02, 2013 - 11:16 am

    I don't think Pat hates capitalism. I think the problem is with corporations who don't pay living wages, who force the taxpayers to pick up the bill for these workers' food stamps and Medi-Cal. We, the taxpayers, are subsidizing these corporations. We should all be enraged about that. I say, more power to small businesses, and for all businesses to succeed and be profitable. But I am done with providing welfare to corporations.

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  • FranAugust 02, 2013 - 11:23 am

    ISSUE Minimum Wage and Living Wage POSITION The El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce is opposed to increasing the minimum wage or instituting a living wage mandate. BACKGROUND The current state minimum wage of $6.75 per hour is 1.25 higher than the federal minimum wage of $5.50 per hour. El dorado County Chamber Policy Handbook...Public Policy Handbook I wonder how many of them make min. wage to survive? If a consumer has no money to spend--then business dies. http://www.eldoradocounty.org/publicpolicy.html

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  • James E.August 02, 2013 - 11:42 am

    Fran, I think that handbook might be a bit dated. The Fed minimum wage is $7.25 and the California minimum wage is $8.00. The Chamber of Commerce is opposed to raising the minimum wage. No surprise there.

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  • FranAugust 02, 2013 - 11:46 am

    I knew it was outdated--but it is what they supply on their site. I have gone to business meetings as well during these last months--they have forgotten the consumer...hopefully they will update their handbook :)

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  • FranAugust 02, 2013 - 11:50 am

    The El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Handbook is a "living" document that will be revised on an annual basis (link provided) History of wage in calif. http://www.dir.ca.gov/iwc/minimumwagehistory.htm

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  • FranAugust 02, 2013 - 11:53 am

    Federal wage history http://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/chart.htm

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  • FranAugust 02, 2013 - 11:56 am

    Jan 4, 2002 - The current state minimum wage of $6.75 per hour is 1.25 higher than the federal minimum wage of $5.50 per hour. The California minimum...11 years ago? time to update information guys :)

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  • FranAugust 02, 2013 - 11:59 am

    James--I still have not found beanees weanees people have heard of them--even remember them fondly...where do you get yours?

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  • EvelynAugust 02, 2013 - 12:25 pm

    Laurel Brent-Bumb's $40/hr salary manages a comfortable margin beyond the Chamber's recommended minimum wage.

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  • cookie65August 02, 2013 - 12:55 pm

    Susie, I understand and am more than familiar with the talking point you raised about we the taxpayers subsidizing corporations who don't pay a living wage. How do you feel about the taxpayers not just subsidizing but picking up the entire livelihood and healthcare for the millions of public sector employees from the day of their employment to the day of their death and every last person who is too lazy to work? Wages are subject to supply and demand. 9.5 million jobs have vaporized since hope and change came to town and with that many people available for so few jobs the cost to fill those positions goes down. It is simple economics.

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  • Jim RiordanAugust 02, 2013 - 2:00 pm

    Agree with both your posts Cookie. Great free Country we have here. If you don't like your job, go learn more. Did it all my life until I went to work for myself over 35 years ago . . .I get up in the am , look in the mirror and see the meanest SOB I have to listen to all day! . .Don't whine about not being paid enough. Instead, spend your "off time" making yourself worth more. It is not any company's fault that a person will moan about wanting more pay while spending all their off time sitting on their butt, and never actively trying to improve their skillsets such that they ARE worth more.

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  • Kirk MacKenzieAugust 02, 2013 - 4:20 pm

    Susie -- I agree. Even though I prefer subsidizing the poor was done more efficiently, I can't find any reason anyone would support corporate welfare. I am particularly disgusted with the way corporations have figured out how to leverage public assistance for the poor into corporate welfare. Add it all up, and it's no wonder the middle class is in such bad shape.

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  • cookie65August 03, 2013 - 8:11 am

    Kirk, I find it fascinating how you blame corporations for the jello-headed leftists who have sold they idea that this country somehow owes everyone a living. Pushing a shopping cart or microwaving a hamburger will only ever be worth so much money. Walmart does not have any brain surgeon positions, they do however offer jobs to anyone who can fog a mirror. They are an entry into the job market. They provide job skills and work experience to millions. They also make it possible for millions of people to make their monthly budget meet their monthly needs in this obamaeconomy. Marketable skills have everything to do with what person earns. Want to earn more? Make yourself worth more. How is it walmarts fault that a person has not made their time worth more than $10/hr? Would you pay $5,000 for a 71 Pinto?

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  • Kirk MacKenzieAugust 03, 2013 - 8:29 am

    Cookie -- once again, I can't passed your first sentence because it is so full of bogus arguments.

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  • cookie65August 03, 2013 - 8:36 am

    This endless parade of victimization is perhaps the single most effective strategy the left has ever employed to get free people to willingly relinquish their freedom and liberty and hand it over to government. It makes me want to vomit. Mostly because the people they are handing their free will over to couldn't give a rat's a** about them but will use them to further their own ambitions. They end up living large on the taxpayers dime while promising a pot of gold to all those they have bought with the left over crumbs. You wake up everyday with the same exact freedoms I have and everyone else has. YOUR choices and YOUR actions are the difference. NOT walmart. The only person keeping you living in a dumpster and not a house on the beach is the person you see in the mirror. Grow up already.

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  • cookie65August 03, 2013 - 8:43 am

    Kirk, you said, " I am particularly disgusted with the way corporations have figured out how to leverage public assistance for the poor into corporate welfare." Corporations have done no such thing. Those who have sold the false notion that this country owes everyone a living have done that. Go be disingenuous on someone else's time.

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  • Kirk MacKenzieAugust 03, 2013 - 9:09 am

    cookie -- Walmart is a great example. A large percent (>70) of Walmart employees receive public assistance in the form of food stamps and medical care. These government subsidies allow Walmart to pay an artificially low wage. Simple economics... I don't believe this country owes everyone a living. Do you believe the government should be subsidizing low wages?

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  • cookie65August 03, 2013 - 9:34 am

    Kirk, what is the genesis of the government "subsidizing low wages"? It isn't simple economics. It is the notion that this country OWES everyone a living. This country has the highest corporate tax rate on the planet, making the government the middle man to what you would call a living wage. What you call "artificially low wages" are a result of supply and demand. If you have 25 people competing for a single job opening the expense to fill that position goes down. Have you seen where obamacare is opening call centers to assist people in signing up for the exchanges? In Contra Costa county 7,000 people applied for 204 positions and half of them will be part time with no benefits. In the District of Columbia where they have told walmart they don't want them, the government pays most of their workers less than walmart does. http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/economic-intelligence/2012/04/02/worlds-highest-corporate-tax-rate-hurts-us-economically

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  • cookie65August 03, 2013 - 9:35 am

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/354556/obamacare-call-center-will-not-offer-health-care-benefits-employees-eliana-johnson

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  • cookie65August 03, 2013 - 9:36 am

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505263_162-57595002/walmart-battling-d.c-city-council-over-new-store-opening/

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  • Kirk MacKenzieAugust 03, 2013 - 9:50 am

    cookie -- We may have the highest *nominal* corporate tax rate on the planet, but the *effective* corporate tax rate is ~9%. Yes, employment is driven by market forces...the supply and demand curves for individual people and corporations are all different. The supply curve is artificially low for those receiving public assistance -- they are willing to work for a lower wage because some of their needs are met by that assistance. If that assistance did not exist, they would demand higher wages for the same work. Simple economics...

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  • cookie65August 03, 2013 - 11:14 am

    Kirk, there is an element to this discussion that is never mentioned. If you look at the who's who and what their motives are in all of this you can find your way to the truth. If you look at the free market and capitalism and ask the question, what is their motive? Could you say that their motive is that everyone is able to afford their products and services? If it were up to them would every dwelling in this country have a new car, central heat and air and plenty of inexpensive energy to run them? Would they love to have even more people as potential customers? On the other hand with the government and those currently running it, are they motivated by having more or less people dependent on them? Is less people dependent on government good for government? How about the environmental doctrines of too much consumptions diminishes sustainability and impacts our carbon footprint? Is the motive of government to reduce consumption? and if it is, how is that most effectively accomplished? Has the government made it their roll to determine how much of certain things you can consume? It certainly isn't corporate America wanting to limit your consumption or your ability to afford that consumption. Henry Ford considered success to be when everyone working for him could afford to purchase what he was selling. That law of economics has not changed. What has changed is the roll of government and it's endless demand for other peoples money.

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  • EvelynAugust 03, 2013 - 11:34 am

    Did you know that according to Citigroup, the 3rd largest U.S. bank by assets, we now are a PLUTONOMY? Citigroup created this term in their 2005 report (HERE) describing the modern state capitalist system in which there are only the rich “and everyone else”. BTW: Citigroup received U.S. taxpayer bailouts of some $476.2 billion in cash and guarantees. This same bank saw fit to foreclose on hundreds of U.S. military members during the financial crisis, often while the military personnel were in Iraq or Afghanistan.

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  • EvelynAugust 03, 2013 - 11:37 am

    Bad Citigroup link above. THIS instead.

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  • Kirk MacKenzieAugust 03, 2013 - 11:41 am

    cookie -- I've got to step out for a while, so I can only give you a quick set of answers now. I'll give a more thoughtful response later. First, there is a distinct difference between "free markets" and "capitalism", particularly capitalism as defined by what is currently practiced here and around the world. I love free markets, but dislike the current state of capitalism. The core concept of free markets is the Greedy Little Utility Maximizer principle...basically, each individual is acting in their own interest as they perceive it. I don't see corporations or governments or political parties behaving with some purpose of their own, I see systems made up of individuals each pursuing their own perceived interest. Most individuals are after other peoples' money...

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  • Dink LaneAugust 03, 2013 - 2:23 pm

    Let's see.... Costco: Pays a good wage + benefits..... Products are cheap, good customer service....... Walmart: Pays minimum wage, erratic hours, worker never knows from one week to the next how much they will take home..... Products are cheap ..... Walmart CHOOSES to treat it's workers poorly..... I CHOOSE to not shop at Walmart.....

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  • EvelynAugust 03, 2013 - 2:31 pm

    The consistently high morale of COSTCO employees undoubtedly reflects the way they are treated.

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  • cookie65August 04, 2013 - 6:54 am

    This letter begins with the claim that this woman "loved her job".

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  • cookie65August 04, 2013 - 7:06 am

    Dink, as long as you are going to post anecdotal union propaganda as evidence we might as well balance it out. Those who truly hate walmart are the unions. They see 1.3 million people who are not paying union dues. The private sector unions are imploding and cannot be competitive in today's economic conditions. I do not shop at walmart, I would much rather support small local business. They need all the help they can get with the out-of-control leftists radicals running our government. http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/Walmart-Our-workers-love-their-jobs-4078900.php

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  • cookie65August 04, 2013 - 7:13 am

    Hundreds of people wait in line to apply for 65 openings. http://www.scpr.org/news/2012/12/08/35172/hundreds-job-seekers-line-apply-work-altadenas-wal/

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  • Kirk MacKenzieAugust 04, 2013 - 7:37 am

    cookie -- Turns out my quick answer addressed most of your questions re motivation. Groups such as corporations and governments do not have motives. There are collections of individuals. Each individual is motivated by perceived self interest. Most -- virtually all -- individuals perceive taking other peoples' money is in their self interest. The role of government has definitely changed. The founders set up a system where it was in a Representative's best interest to actually represent the will of their constituents. Now, "Representatives" self interest is served best by promising their constituents what they want to hear, then representing the special interests that make them wealthy.

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