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editorial

Walmart employees shouldn’t have to rely on charity

The management of an Ohio Walmart is asking employees for donations to help those in need of food this Thanksgiving. The beneficiaries? Walmart employees.

Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg defended the food drive — plastic bins set aside to collect food in an employees-only back room — to the Cleveland Plain Dealer as a chance for associates to help colleagues facing extreme hardships. And, to be sure, whoever put out the containers clearly had the best intentions.

Nonetheless, it’s hard not to see the food collection as evidence that employees of the country’s largest retailer (and grocer) don’t earn enough to put a holiday meal on the table. The company has acknowledged that its average full time, hourly rate is $12.83. Low wages at one Walmart store cost taxpayers as much as $900,000 annually because workers must depend on public assistance such as food stamps to make ends meet, according a May study by Congressional Democrats.

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So while it’s nice that some Walmart managers hope to ensure that none of their workers go hungry this Thanksgiving, it’d be nicer if the corporation paid enough to make sure that wasn’t a worry in the first place.

Correction: A previous version of this editorial incorrectly stated that the company’s average US employee wage incorporates executive salaries.