If underpaying their employees wasn’t bad enough, Walmart has now been caught forcing employees to make political contributions in exchange for their matching contributions to the employee hardship fund.
According to Bloomberg,
U.S. companies, forbidden to give money directly to political action committees, are taking advantage of controversial federal rules allowing them to ask employees to do it for them in exchange for matching charitable donations.
It’s legal and gives businesses from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to Coca-Cola (KO) Co. to Hewlett-Packard Co. a way to fund their PACs, which direct money to political candidates. The matching contributions provide an incentive for employees, most of them managers, to contribute to the PAC.
Recipients included Republican House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Democratic Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina and Democratic Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas. Wal-Mart has been vocal on issues including the minimum wage.
The problem is that since 2000, 69% of Walmart PAC’s and the Walton family’s political donations have gone to anti-gay, anti-environment, pro-gun, pro-business conservatives like Cruz and Boehner.
In response, the group Our Walmart released a statement from Walmart employee Barbara Gertz,”What Walmart workers really want is for the company to publicly commit to pay better wages and provide steady hours that let us support our families. Many of us can’t pay for groceries or afford rent. Today’s news is further proof that Walmart is determined to spend millions to support politicians who vote to cut food stamps and who oppose increasing the minimum wage, instead of focusing on creating good jobs in our communities. It’s upsetting to hear that Walmart not only exploited the associates in critical need fund to push a political agenda that hurts ordinary Americans, but it also may have done so in violation of federal election laws. This is just the latest example of Walmart acting as though it’s above the law.”
FEC commissioners are deadlocked on whether the practice is illegal or not, but Walmart’s practice of offering 2 to 1 charity donations in exchange for employee donations has caused current and former FEC commissioners to call the practice illegal and over the line.
Walmart is essentially forcing employees to make a political contribution in order to get hardship assistance for their fellow workers who are destitute because of the company’s practice of paying starvation wages. These employees aren’t just making political contributions, but most of the donations are being given to candidates who are opposed to policies like increasing the minimum wage, unionization, and better working conditions.
This is a reminder that if you shop at Walmart, not only are you supporting paying employees wages that they can’t survive on, but nearly 70% of your money is going to support Republicans.
Walmart’s creativity when it comes to harming their employees is virtually limitless. Each low price Walmart offers is subsidizing the destruction of the American worker.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association