An Oklahoma Walmart has allowed one of its employees to hold a food drive for co-workers "in need." The picture of a green plastic bin with the message "3430 canned food drive. Let's succeed by donating to associates in need!!!" was posted on Thursday to the Facebook page of a labor group called Making Change at Walmart, reports Business Insider. The photo was sent anonymously from a Walmart employee in Oklahoma, and the 3430 refers to a supercenter store in Oklahoma City.
"Rather than agree to pay a decent wage or provide full-time hours," the group wrote on Facebook, "Walmart and its owners (the Waltons) continue to earn massive profits while too many of the workers who make the company a success go hungry." Making Change at Walmart is exerting pressure on the retail giant to raise wages.
Dawnne Sulaitis, a 19-year-old employee at the store who Walmart's corporate office told BI was behind the food drive, said, "There's a need in the store -- we have couple of associates that are on a [leave of absence] and down to one income right now, so I asked if we could start a food drive to help these associates."
Last year, a Cleveland Walmart was criticized for holding a Thanksgiving food drive for its own employees, sparking a debate about the necessity of paying workers a living wage. A sign on a plastic bin at the Cleveland Walmart in an employees-only area read, "Please donate food items so that associates in need can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner." When the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which broke the story, asked Walmart customer Norma Mills what she thought of the food drive, she said, "That Walmart would have the audacity to ask low-wage workers to donate food to other low-wage workers -- to me, it is a moral outrage."
The issue of raising the minimum wage to a living wage has become a national issue. Last month, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker angered labor activists when his response to low-wage workers who filed a complaint stating that Wisconsin's minimum wage of $7.25 did not constitute a "living wage," which is mandated by state law, was to say that there was "no reasonable cause" for the workers' complaints, International Business Times reported. The Raise Wisconsin group, which seeks to raise the state minimum wage, discovered that the only documents Walker used to analyze the issue was supplied by the Restaurant Association, which lobbies against the minimum wage and says that such a raise would hurt the state.