August 26, 2005

11,000 Applicants for 400 Jobs (UPDATED)

UPDATE: NPR has an excellent piece on this.

In the San Fransisco Chronicle, Pia Sarkar finds people divided over whether 11,000 applicants for 400 jobs is a reflection of how bad Oakland's economy is, or whether Wal-Mart's jobs really aren't all that bad:

"Wal-Mart is one of the largest employers in the world -- they have to be a model for the society they are promoting," said Wendell Chin, coalition director for the Central Labor Council of Alameda County. "If they don't provide a decent lifestyle, it's scary....

Chin said jobs at Wal-Mart are a dead-end cycle that keeps people in poverty. Although he does not blame anyone for applying for work there, he said that Wal-Mart owes it to them to provide them a way to make a decent living.

"It's not just about jobs," Chin said. "It's (having) a good job that you can raise a family on."

For people like Melvin Brown, any job would be a blessing.

"I think this is a good place to work," said Brown, 52, who dropped off his application on Tuesday for an overnight maintenance position. "It seems like everybody gets along well with everybody."

Brown has been looking for a job for six months. He said he could live with the wages that Wal-Mart is offering.

"It's best to accept what you can get," he said. "You start low and aim high. First you gotta get your foot in the door."

Posted by Kevin on August, 26 2005 at 01:11 PM