January 28, 2005

An Exclusively Pro-WM Article

Reader Paul Kelleher sends in a news story that is curiously and exclusively pro-WM.

Mark Coyle of the Glendale Star doesn't look for opposing viewpoints at all, and focuses exclusively on the information provided by Wal-Mart and a discussion with the manager of a local WM Supercenter:

One of those success stories can be found at the Wal-Mart Supercenter at 5605 W. Northern Ave. in Glendale.

Manager David Hakhamian said he began working for the company in 1988 as a cart pusher. He eventually moved to different areas, including receiving, sales floor, cashier, department manager, assistant manager and co-manager. He has been a store manager since 1994 and has a goal of becoming a district manager someday.

Hakhamian said the negative criticism about the company is not true. He said the wages are very competitive and in most cases, are above what similar retail stores are offering.

"I am a living example of how Wal-Mart allows for growth," he said. "I have seen both sides of the story and I can tell you that Wal-Mart is the place if you are looking for a career where you can stay with a company that will take care of you; Wal-Mart is the place."

Hakhamian said his store has about 580 employees and nearly 85 to 90 percent are full time and qualify for full-time benefits. He said a number of part-time employees are also offered benefits throughout the company.

Scott's letter said that benefits "include healthcare insurance with lifetime maximum. Associate premiums begin at less than $40 per month for an individual and less than $155 per month for a family, no matter how large.

"Other benefits include a profit/sharing/401(k) plan, merchandise discounts, company-paid life insurance, vacation pay and pay differential for those in active military service. More than half of our associates own company stock through our associate purchase plan."

Hakhamian said he is proud to be working for the company that he one day plans to finish his career with.

"During my 17 years with Wal-Mart, I have developed through this company and it has given me the opportunity to move up the level that I am in," he said. "I have had a number of different companies that tried to recruit me, but I knew from the bottom of my heart that this is the place that I want to retire from."

Mr. Kelleher objects that "full-time" is not actually 40 hours a week, and that the benefits quoted are rather vague. Anecdotal evidence suggests to me that in some areas of the country, Wal-Mart does have a short full-time week, but I cannot perceive a general pattern. Even discussants at Democratic Underground have noted that full-time was 40 hours when many worked at WM.

Posted by Kevin on January, 28 2005 at 12:12 PM