LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — “Please donate food items here so Associates in Need can enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner.”
Pictures of signs with that wording have been making their rounds on the web, and causing a stir far beyond the Canton, Ohio Walmart where they were spotted.
Representatives of OUR Walmart, an advocacy group for the retail giant’s employees, have been outspoken about the photos. They are asking people to think about whether the employee-to-employee drive goes to show that the retailer does not pay its workers enough.
On Tuesday, WNEW’s Karen Adams asked people in the D.C. area what they think of the drive.
“It’s a lot of business in there and it’s enough business for them to give those people enough money to take care of their families” one woman in Bowie said.
“Walmart really is a corporate bully,” remarked another woman, adding that she knows many low wage employees in the area who need public assistance, as well.
Kory Lundberg, a Walmart spokesman, told The Plain Dealer that the drive shows how much employees care about each other.
“It is for associates who have had some hardships come up,” he said. “Maybe their spouse lost a job … This is part of the company’s culture to rally around associates and take care of them when they face extreme hardships.”
While the decision to hold the drive was an in-store matter, according to The Plain Dealer report, Wal-Mart details a similar “Associates in Critical Need Trust” on its website.
Established in 2001, the trust “exists to provide financial assistance to associates who are experiencing financial hardship.”
Apparently, “associates can make contributions to the trust, either through a payroll deduction or voluntary, direct contributions.”
Wal-Mart says more than 50,000 associates have sought help through the trust.