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Largest Employer In World Conspires to Disemploy Unhealthy, Elderly

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posted on Oct, 26 2005 @ 11:14 AM
In spite of what you may have heard to the contrary, corporations suck.

It's really not a secret, most just don't write it down. At least not the ones that spend millions on ad campaigns to tell you how wonderful they are to their employees, especially the elderly and handicapped.

Wal-Mart Memo Suggests Ways to Cut Employee Benefit Costs
Published: October 26, 2005

An internal memo sent to Wal-Mart's board of directors proposes numerous ways to hold down spending on health care and other benefits while seeking to minimize damage to the retailer's reputation. Among the recommendations are hiring more part-time workers and discouraging unhealthy people from working at Wal-Mart.

Text of Internal Wal-Mart Memo In the memorandum, M. Susan Chambers, Wal-Mart's executive vice president for benefits, also recommends reducing 401(k) contributions and wooing younger, and presumably healthier, workers by offering education benefits. The memo voices concern that workers with seven years' seniority earn more than workers with one year's seniority, but are no more productive.

To discourage unhealthy job applicants, Ms. Chambers suggests that Wal-Mart arrange for "all jobs to include some physical activity (e.g., all cashiers do some cart-gathering)."

The memo acknowledged that Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, had to walk a fine line in restraining benefit costs because critics had attacked it for being stingy on wages and health coverage. Ms. Chambers acknowledged that 46 percent of the children of Wal-Mart's 1.33 million United States employees were uninsured or on Medicaid.

The back story is mostly known. With the full support of the US Government and your tax dollars, anti-union Wal-Mart led the charge against American manufacturing in areas like textiles (almost single handedly turning the south into a sprawling ghetto), then took on your friendly neighborhood grocer and hardware stores, then the banks, then the pharmacies, then the tax preparers, then local farmers, then they hired your grandmother for $17,500 a year to give evil that down home feel, and now that they've given her diabetes and coronary artery disease from standing without a break for 10 hours, they want to get rid of her before she costs them money.

The theme throughout the memo was how to slow the increase in benefit costs without giving more ammunition to critics who contend that Wal-Mart's wages and benefits are dragging down those of other American workers.

The details...

Acknowledging that Wal-Mart has image problems, Ms. Chambers wrote: "Wal-Mart's critics can easily exploit some aspects of our benefits offering to make their case; in other words, our critics are correct in some of their observations. Specifically, our coverage is expensive for low-income families, and Wal-Mart has a significant percentage of associates and their children on public assistance."

Her memo stated that 5 percent of Wal-Mart's workers were on Medicaid, compared with 4 percent for other national employers. She said that Wal-Mart spent $1.5 billion a year on health insurance, which amounts to $2,660 per insured worker.

The memo, prepared with the help of McKinsey & Company, said the board was to consider the recommendations in November. But the memo said that three top Wal-Mart officials - its chief financial officer, its top human relations executive and its executive vice president for legal and corporate affairs - had "received the recommendations enthusiastically."

Ms. Chambers's memo voiced concern that workers were staying with the company longer, pushing up wage costs, although she stopped short of calling for efforts to push out more senior workers.

She wrote that "the cost of an associate with seven years of tenure is almost 55 percent more than the cost of an associate with one year of tenure, yet there is no difference in his or her productivity. Moreover, because we pay an associate more in salary and benefits as his or her tenure increases, we are pricing that associate out of the labor market, increasing the likelihood that he or she will stay with Wal-Mart."

The memo noted that Wal-Mart workers "are getting sicker than the national population, particularly in obesity-related diseases," including diabetes and coronary artery disease. The memo said Wal-Mart workers tended to overuse emergency rooms and underuse prescriptions and doctor visits, perhaps from previous experience with Medicaid.

So when you realize your employees "are getting sicker than the national population, particularly in obesity-related diseases" run them off and screw up their kids. Is this a coal mine or a grocery store?

Be nice to the eldery. If you must shop Wal-Mart print out the NYTimes article for the greeter on your next visit. It may explain why they have him washing windows and fetching carts in the snow all of a sudden.

Oh, and when you see him on the street in a few months, remember his kindness...

With any change you can spare.

[edit on 26-10-2005 by RANT]

posted on Oct, 26 2005 @ 01:33 PM
For some reason the image that wal-mart is trying to sell with their very expensive adds doesn't match their practices.

They have a health insurances that many can not even afford with the wages that they earn working in wal-mark.

They occurs save money if the employees are healthy and young, so even if they could afford their insurance at least they don't have to use it to much.

Occurs this my opinion.

One thing that strikes me is the willingness of many big business around the area I live in that will hire retired Military personnel in the spot.

I guess is due to the fact that Military personnel retired do not need health insurance because they have the governments.

Many business offer just a supplemental insurance if you are a retire Military personnel.

posted on Oct, 26 2005 @ 01:37 PM
I read this memo. From the heart it sounds terrible, but from a business perspective it’s just good business. Don’t get me wrong: I hate Wal-Mart, but business is business.

They basically figured out that the least healthy, least productive people cost them the most money to employ. Why are they bad because they want to avoid that? They have been incurring a 15% increase in benefit cost per year, that’s intolerable and not one company on the planet can handle that. Benefits come of the bottom line, directly from profits.

They also learned that these people turned out to be the most veteran people in many cases. So now they have un-healthy, un-productive, and highly (for Wal-Mart) paid employees that aren’t nearly as expensive or work as hard as newer, healthier employee’s.

The title of this thread is not only innacurate, its missleading. They aren’t firing these people; they are just going to be more selective hiring new people and hire more part timers who don’t require benefits from Wal-Mart. They will be replaced when they leave, not "Disemployd" Huge difference.

Why is it so wrong to want to hire people that are healthy and productive?

They also want to educate their people on how better to use insurance. They have a cross section of employee’s who only use walk in clinics and emergency rooms rather than a primary health care Dr for regular care. That’s adds huge cost.

As much as I hate Wal-Mart, this is nothing but smart business and from their perspective must be done. And don’t fool yourself: Every company in the world operates this way. I have personally researched data and written memos of this nature, its just the way it is.

And if you read the memo itself, the actual real memo, they talk as much about the employee’s needs as their own. Its all in context.

And no, I don’t work for Wal-Mart; I actually work with a competitor.

Link to the actual memo here:

[edit on 26-10-2005 by skippytjc]

posted on Oct, 26 2005 @ 03:21 PM
I just read the Oct 31 issue of TIME.

Yes, I know. Shock! I never read time because of
their bias, but they suckered me in with their cover.
It was actually a good article.
(yes, another shock)
I encourage everyone to read it.

It was all about retirement being taken away from the
workers, even after the workers have given decades to
the companies and have stayed with them expecting
to receive promised retirements. Now they are old, sick,
and (surprise) have no income.

I do believe Walmart was in the article. I could be wrong,
but I'm pretty sure I read it as one of the offenders in
the article. (the magazine was at the doctor's office, so
I don't have it in front of me).

posted on Oct, 26 2005 @ 03:29 PM
Kind of the point.

But to this...

Originally posted by skippytjc
The title of this thread is not only innacurate, its missleading. They aren’t firing these people; they are just going to be more selective hiring new people and hire more part timers who don’t require benefits from Wal-Mart. They will be replaced when they leave, not "Disemployd" Huge difference.

I draw not only on this...

To discourage unhealthy job applicants, Ms. Chambers suggests that Wal-Mart arrange for "all jobs to include some physical activity (e.g., all cashiers do some cart-gathering)."

But a good bit of common sense on top of what one would call "inside information."

The point of the new job responsibilites (i.e. rotating physical busy work) isn't just to keep any more handicapped and elderly from applying. It's to run off the one's they have. Make them quit. And the NY Times article on the leaked memo (I just had handed out at my local Wal-Mart) answered a lot of complaints I've been hearing about the insane physical requests they've been making of our town's elderly recently.

I've heard "I think management has lost it's mind" so much from 70 something's originally hired to be greeters now on ladders washing the same window for the 4th time that week, I thought they'd like to know managment knows exactly what they're doing. They're trying to make them quit or break their hip. Whichever comes first.

And though as you said, it's just business, this business in particular goes out of it's way to show ads with your grandpa relaxing over a cup of coffee with an animated logo or smiling wheelchair lady handing out stickers for the kids like they're some great champion of equal opportunity employment.

Guess not. But they don't have the balls to just fire people and pay unemployment like a stand up company. No, they have to screw with your head with a bunch of busy work until they convince you you're too old and fragile to be working all of sudden. Even though they hired you.

This memo is documented evidence of a conspiracy to screw with the heads of employees and prospective employees. And again, "the problem" with this change in policy is it's not the public face they pay so much to maintain.

But people can make up their own minds about this of course. Thanks for finding the original memo.

posted on Oct, 26 2005 @ 03:43 PM
Taking in consideration that a Wal-Mart sales clerks made an average of $8.23 an hour—or $13,861 a year—in 2001. That's nearly $800 below the federal poverty line for a family of three. (Source: Business Week).

I guess that they deserve to be pushing carts. Right?

I think that the big boys in the Wal-Mart elite are to used to their cheap labor from china that probably don't give them any troubles like the American workers so they want to push the same treatment they give to the chiness workers upon the ingrateful American ones.

While Wal-Mart boast their high priority is the American consumer In 2001 they moved their worldwide purchasing headquarters to China and are the largest importer of Chinese goods in the US, purchasing over $10 BILLION of Chinese-made products annually. Products made mostly by women and children working in the labor hell-holes China is famous for.

I guess we see the priorities of the largest employer in the world.

That is how James Hightower describe them in his Thieves in High Places: They've Stolen Our Country.

posted on Oct, 26 2005 @ 03:51 PM
No Skippy, it's not even a grey area. That's exactly the right word.


A corporation with a key public relations plank claiming to employ the elderly and handicaped, has been exposed as having a covert policy to discourage and disemploy that population.

I want a medal that's so perfect.

dis·em·ploy Listen: [ dsm-ploi ]
tr.v. dis·em·ployed, dis·em·ploy·ing, dis·em·ploys

To deprive of employment.

My title is perfect. Your post however is not only inaccurate, its misleading.

posted on Oct, 26 2005 @ 04:23 PM
You know it’s crazy, I can’t imagine I am in a position of defending Wal-Mart, I truly hate them. But I find I have to stand behind this memo due to me being part of this business and mindset.

It’s not an issue to use these "grandparents" in their ads; it’s not misleading at all. Under the new thought process, they will be part timers rather than full timers. See the slight change in logic that maintains employment standards and saves in benefits? It balances out; it’s actually a brilliant business decision.

To add certain minimum physical requirements to positions that never had them before is entirely within their right, regardless of the motive behind it, but its not illegal or bad ethics. It is an employer’s choice to define the roles of its positions however they see fit, even if the goal is to dissuade certain people. Yes I just said that, and really its legal.

If you owned a trucking company and you wanted every employee to be able to lift at least 40 pounds are you out of line for requiring that up front prior to hiring? Not at all. What if every employee didn’t actually, in practice, need to lift 40 pounds? Are you an evil employer all of a sudden breaking the law? Nope. It’s just smart.

Guys, I 100% see your point of view when I react from my heart on this one, but the bottom line is this is nothing out of the normal for a corporation to do. It is not illegal or un-ethical. It feels wrong, but in reality its fine.

And lastly lets not all forget that Wal-Mart isn’t in business to have employees, they are in the business of providing profit to the shareholders. Companies treat their employees as good as they must to maintain the perfect balance between costs vs. profitability. Unfortunately employee benefits come directly from the profit, so it’s the tightest and most controlled aspect of company’s finances.

So, “Disemploy” is not an accurate term here. All they are doing to creating a hiring standard that helps them hire as many healthy, productive, and cost effective people as possible. And that’s good business by anybody’s definition…

posted on Oct, 26 2005 @ 04:29 PM
OK isn't that discrimination against the elderly and and more than perfect healthy ones?

If employers are to hand pick their employees due to their age and health, don't your think that the next thing will be gender and races?

Does their applications specify if they are too old or with precarious health they can not work?

how about handicap?

I think this promoting discrimination.

[edit on 26-10-2005 by marg6043]

posted on Oct, 26 2005 @ 04:33 PM
I know it's not illegal, though I'll leave the exact difference in unethical and feeling wrong between you and your priest, but then to say they're not even doing it!?!

Which is what you must mean when you say they aren't disemploying that population.

Either they're doing it and you support it, or they're not doing it at all in which case you have nothing to defend.

Pretty much sounds like even you know they're doing it though (since you're calling it "smart").

Not that the semantics matter so much. It's obvious what they're doing whatever you call it.

posted on Oct, 26 2005 @ 06:28 PM

Originally posted by marg6043
OK isn't that discrimination against the elderly and and more than perfect healthy ones?

I think this promoting discrimination.

[edit on 26-10-2005 by marg6043]

Nope. All an employer needs to do is set the criteria up front, and that criteria can be anything they want. Its only discrimination if the applicant can satisfactorily perform the task and then they decline to hire due to some other aspect (age, gender, handicap, etc).

But that’s not what’s going on here, they are setting physical standards in the hopes of reducing applicants who may be unable to do that task. This is actually the most legal way of approaching this, it leaves the decision up to the applicant, after all: they don’t need to apply.

Sorry guys, this memo is rock solid, its just touches emotional nerves because its goal is to protect the company and not the employee. And that’s not illegal or un-ethical.

posted on Oct, 26 2005 @ 06:32 PM
Gotta jump in here. This is one of my pet peeves. ...and Walmart sucks. What they're doing sucks. But every corporation in the world has cut medical and insurance benefits because they knew all along what was coming. Same reason insurance companies rewrote all their policies - to cut out coverage and cover financial butt. So now half the people who get sick don't have adequate medical insurance, and the other half don't have any at all. Meanwhile, the retirement age has been raised, while so-called age-related diseases are hitting younger and younger people every year. We got set up I tell you, set up!

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