10 ways Walmart can do better

Throughout the years, Walmart's anti-worker stance has been made clear. The company, with a prior history of closing down stores for unionizing here at home and abroad, has been ramping up its anti-union efforts through training propaganda geared towards new associates to prevent them from organizing.

In a recently leaked anti-union training video, Walmart explains, "Our company prefers to have open and direct communication with our associates - we don't think a labour union is necessary here. And because our associates have said time after time that they don't want a union, we usually don't spend a lot of time talking about them."

For Walmart, letting workers organize is just the beginning of what the company can do to make things better for associates and customers alike.

1. Stop hurting local communities.

Fans of the 2005 documentary, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price know this well, Walmart has had a history of setting up shop and driving local, smaller businesses out of town and creating unsustainable economic models in surrounding communities for  years to come.

2. Treat its foreign labourers with respect.

 It's been estimated that more than half of all goods sold in Walmart's stores come from overseas suppliers. Walmart needs to treat its foreign labourers with respect. A good example of this is in Bangladesh, where the company refuses to sign onto the Accord for Fire and Building Safety, an agreement that was set up to prevent tragedies such as the Rana Plaza disaster, where over 1100 workers were killed, from happening again.

3. Respect women

Women at Walmart are largely underrepresented and underpaid, despite making up a large percentage of Walmart's global workforce. According to statistics from the U.S., women were paid $1.16 less per hour, which adds up to $1,100 less annually than men doing the exact same jobs, females workers in salaried positions of $50,000 or more earned $14,500 less than their male counterparts. There also exists the issue of pregnant workers being overworked, put in dangerous situations.

4. Pay employees a "liveable wage".

Recently, U.S. Walmart workers received wage increases for thousands of its employees – raises that won't be coming to Canada anytime soon. Alex Roberton, director of corporate affairs said in a statement, "Walmart Canada is committed to providing competitive wages and benefits."  Walmart is currently Canada's largest general merchandise retailer with global profits of $129.9 billion (Yes...Billion) in the 2014 fiscal year, the company can afford to pay its workers a liveable wage.

5. Make stores safer for workers!

 In addition to unsafe conditions in factories abroad, Walmart has been notorious for putting its domestic workforce at risk too. The company can afford to make its workplaces safer and offer greater safety measures. Walmart cannot be let off the hook for endangering the safety of workers!

6. Stop wage theft.

Workers should be paid for every second that they work. Walmart needs to stop the practice of wage theft in their stores. In some cases, Walmart has forced workers to work through unpaid breaks, meal times and in other instances when they were supposed to be off the clock. This practice needs to stop.

7. Provide better benefits for employees

Walmart needs to extend medical benefits to all employees, including part-time workers. The company tries to get away  from providing benefits to all workers by creating 'full-time' part time jobs, meaning full time hours but part-time classification, therefore no benefits for employees. Imagine getting sick and not being able to afford the medicine you require.

8. Improve its animal welfare track record

Numerous reports show that Walmart is a bad corporate citizen when it comes to ensuring that the animal products its stores sell come from livestock that were treated humanely. A Walmart store in Mexico has been investigated for hosting cock-fighting matches to entice customers to shop there.

9. Give back to the 99%

The Walton family received $8 billion in tax breaks in 2013, $6.2 billion of which came from United States taxpayer subsidies that were handed to them because employee wages were low. When 2014 earnings reports came out lower than shareholder expectations, Walmart somehow managed to give its CEO a $1.5 million bonus despite performing poorly on the job. If Walmart workers were to perform poorly on their job what would they get? More importantly, what would they lose?

10. Put People before 'Profits'

Walmart has to treat its workers better. The company needs to make the well-being of its workforce its number one priority. The workers enable Walmart to be the world's largest retailer. By paying a fair wage and investing in its people, then Walmart will be a better place for workers and customers alike.