In advance of Black Friday protests the day after Thanksgiving, Walmart workers in Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, participated in a one-day strike calling on the retail giant to increase wages. Meanwhile, a new report, “Walmart's Hunger Games: How America's Largest Employer and Richest Family Worsen the Hunger Crisis,” called Walmart the poster child for food insecurity in America.
The report's author, Michele Simon, said:
All the factors that are contributing to poverty in America exist among Walmart workers. Walmart is America's largest poverty incubator.
"The American taxpayer is directly subsidizing Walmart's ability to do business this way because their workers are relying on public assistance," she said. "It is a twisted kind of a vicious cycle, where Walmart is being subsidized by the American taxpayer."
The report said that 49 million Americans face hunger, primarily because of low-wage work in the model popularized by Walmart. In order to feed their families, low-wage workers are forced to skip meals, rely on cheap, non-nutritious food, rely on food banks or turn toward food stamps. The problem gets worse because the Walmart model prevents most workers from working sufficient hours to afford sufficient food. And erratic scheduling prevents many workers from taking on second jobs or going to school to improve their skill sets.