Worker's "rights" / employer's rights


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Cellar Dweller
January 12, 2006, 05:11 PM
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/10727351/

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Maryland Senate Thursday overrode Gov. Robert Ehrlich's veto and approved a bill that would force Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to spend more on employee health care in the state.

The state Senate voted 30-17 in favor of the bill, surpassing the margin needed to override the veto by one vote.

The override by the Maryland Senate sets the stage for a vote in the Maryland House of Delegates, which was expected to take up the bill at about 5:00 p.m. EDT.

According to one Republican delegate opposed to the bill, who requested anonymity, the bill's supporters in the House have secured 88 votes there, three more than the number required to override a veto.

The bill would require companies with more than 10,000 employees to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on health benefits, or pay the balance into a state low-income health insurance fund.

The state Senate vote came after about 90 minutes of debate and fell largely along party lines, with three Democrats crossing over to vote against the bill.

Supporters said the state had to act because Wal-Mart was forcing the state to subsidize its employees' health care.

"I hope personally all 49 (other) states will do this. The states are backed up to the wall on this one," said the sponsor of the bill, Democratic Sen. Gloria Lawlah.

Opponents countered that the bill would be bad for business.

"This isn't the perfect storm. It's the Bermuda Triangle. Jobs go in, but they don't come out," said Republican Sen. EJ Pipkin.

Some opponents of the bill said it could even cause Wal-Mart to drop plans to build a large distribution center on Maryland's Eastern Shore, which would bring an additional 800 to 1,000 jobs to the state.

Wal-Mart shares fell 70 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $45.87 in mid-afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Should companies be run in their best interest as long as it is legal? Should private companies be regulated for the state's/public's benefit? Is the Government of Maryland exempt (I assume that they have over 10k employees)?

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Sindawe
January 12, 2006, 05:27 PM
I'm no fan of Wal-Mart, but healthcare and its associated costs are the responsibility of the individual, NOT their employer unless its related to on the job injuries. It is NICE when an employer can/will pick up part or all of the tab for such, but no way it should be mandatory.

geekWithA.45
January 12, 2006, 05:27 PM
Corporations AND employees are subject to labor market forces.

Employees are free to contract for their labor as they see fit, either individually or collectively, and set the price and terms of their labor, within the context of those market forces.

In other words, if Kmart is offering 10/hr + health plan + dental, and Walmart is offering 10/hr+ healthplan, the worker is free to seek a job @ kmart.

glockamolee
January 12, 2006, 05:35 PM
geekWithA.45 Stated:


"Corporations AND employees are subject to labor market forces.

Employees are free to contract for their labor as they see fit, either individually or collectively, and set the price and terms of their labor, within the context of those market forces.

In other words, if Kmart is offering 10/hr + health plan + dental, and Walmart is offering 10/hr+ healthplan, the worker is free to seek a job @ kmart."



Although I agree with that, what also needs to be discussed (not to flame the author) is the fact that Business lobbied Congress to get 'Shafta" shoved down the throats of Americans. Now it is "Cafta."

These agreements change market forces in favor of business.

The problem is that business uses this leverage to reduce wages. I know, I know, business must be lean to compete. That competition IS the problem. Keep the competition national OR.... Raise the GLOBAL standard of living.

How is an American supposed to compete against a Mongolian Yak herder who takes the train to China, and is content with a dorm shared with other employees, shared bathroom, and cafeteria meals supplied by the company. This person recieves these "benefits" by working for an American firm which previously employed Americans.

IF... the WORLD economy had a standard of living that Americans used to be able to enjoy (Americans in this context being blue collar laborer; NOT a business owner/entrepreneur which employes said laborers), Then I wouldn't be complaining.

I am a business owner myself, but I still see injustice taking place.

Gordon Fink
January 12, 2006, 05:37 PM
Corporations—especially evil ones—often underpay their low-ranking employees, but there is no right to affordable health care. Insurance benefits are part of the overall compensation package an employer may offer, so certain percentages should not be mandated.

~G. Fink

azredhawk44
January 12, 2006, 05:39 PM
The bill would require companies with more than 10,000 employees to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on health benefits, or pay the balance into a state low-income health insurance fund.


Pay cuts all around!

If I spend $100 on pay for 10 employees, I pay them $10 each. I now have to set aside $8 to pay medical for those employees. That leaves $92, or $9.20 each.

Everyone over minimum wage will be getting a 8% pay cut probably.

I would if I were walmart.

trueblue1776
January 12, 2006, 05:51 PM
It's Wal-Marts responibility that these people don't get better jobs? When Wal-Mart offers free health care, a 401K, and a company car why should anyone aspire to do anything in life? just go to work for walmart.

Socialism = Communism, you might make more as a socialist but is is so taxed that who the hell cares. (enter the late middle aged hippie yelling no tax breaks for the rich).

F that, I don't work my ass off to take care of bubba's wife and her 14 kids.

trueblue1776
January 12, 2006, 05:54 PM
PS, If these dumbasses fighting for this wanted the good life.....

MAYBE WAL-MART WASN'T THE BEST CAREER CHOICE!!!!!!!

geekWithA.45
January 12, 2006, 05:54 PM
glockamolee:

I concur. There are far too many legislative factors that distort the market forces.

IMO, the role of government in labor contracting is to restrain the worst abuses of both parties, and let the market sort out the rest.

As for the global disparity, it is what it is: an intractible issue. There will always be another yak herder living in a legislatively/regulatorily unconstrained market who is willing to risk his life in a genuinely toxic factory to scrape together a few dinars to buy a t shirt and a folding knife.

progunner1957
January 12, 2006, 06:02 PM
It's Wal-Marts responibility that these people don't get better jobs?
Why anyone voluntarily works for Wal-Mart is beyond me. Wal-Mart is the biggest corporation in the world, built on the backs of minimum wage employees. Why do the people who work there keep going back?? I can't imagine that it would take that much effort to improve your employment situation, seeing as how you're already at the bottom of the barrel.

Why do The American Sheeple flock to Wal-Mart to shop? One word: GREED. Nothing is more important than a low price. They don't give a rat's sphincter that 90% or more of the trash Wal-Mart peddles is made in Communist China, which has nuclear missles aimed at us. The Sheeple don't give a rat's sphincter that the trash Wal-Mart sells is made by coerced slave labor and that the profits go to help build China's war machine.

With The Sheeple thinking and acting like they do, it is inevitable that the chickens will one day come home to roost - and it will be ugly when they do.

That's why I do not work or shop at Wal-Mart. I know, I know - they're not the only ones - just the worst, IMHO.

Gordon Fink
January 12, 2006, 06:51 PM
Socialism = Communism.…

No. It does not, and that is a big part of the problem with many self-styled communists.

~G. Fink

Technosavant
January 12, 2006, 09:23 PM
PS, If these dumbasses fighting for this wanted the good life.....

MAYBE WAL-MART WASN'T THE BEST CAREER CHOICE!!!!!!!

I think I might second this.

The fact is, unskilled labor ANYWHERE will not give you:
1) living wages
2) full health plan
3) generous retirement

If these people were so hard up for such things, they can vote to unionize or go find another job. They are not doing so. There are many people who love working for Wal-Mart, so I imagine it is not hell on earth. My wife works in their pharmacy and likes it there (she wants to work for them upon graduation from pharmacy school). WM isn't the best place, but it isn't the worst, either.

Spot77
January 12, 2006, 09:41 PM
A big part of this issue is PARTISAN POLITICS.

The Democrat controlled legislature is looking for anything they can to crucify Maryland's first Republican Governor in over 30 years. Notice that a few Democrats (who have some sense about them) voted against this ridiculous bill because it's WRONG.


And what people aren't talking about......Who are Wal Mart's most loyal customers? Their EMPLOYEES....so if Wal Mart has to raise prices to cover this mandatory TAX, who do you think is going to shoulder the burden jsut as much as you and I? The same employees that this is supposed to help.

My father in law works for Wal Mart and could NOT BE HAPPIER with his compensation package......and it's not like he's upper management....he is the floor manager of the paper goods department in ONE STORE.

There hasn't been much public outpouring of support from Wal Mart employees about this. I wonder why that is?

The Democrats in Md are looking for some more feel good legislation that they know Ehrlich will oppose, and when they railroad it past him and override his veto they'll claim how Republicans don't want to help the poor...yada yada....

Lupinus
January 12, 2006, 10:24 PM
When wal-mart was founded it was a good place, now it is crap and treats there emplyees like crap as well.

Art Eatman
January 12, 2006, 11:47 PM
Lupinus, the trouble with that view is that it is contradicted by my own investigation at WalMart stores in Georgia and in Texas. Folks who work in five different WMs have told me that the pay is pretty much equal if not a bit better than what other stores pay.

My wife's experience with some of her employees (most were women) in a small manufacturing operation: Not all wanted to work full time. Some would work for her for a few months or a year, full-time and then quit and go to work for WM, part-time. They'd come back in six months, sometimes a year or two, and work full time for maybe a year and then go back to WM. I didn't really understand the thinking, but that's the way some did.

People of the lower strata of the economic pyramid just don't think like folks higher up the "food chain". Damfino.

Art

wingman
January 13, 2006, 12:17 AM
Good thread and interesting on how people view others. If a company
does not provide health benefits we the taxpayer end up paying with
taxes.

We continue to outsource jobs, many manufacturing plants have moved
to third world countries, we import poor uneducated labor. Overall I think
we need to ask ourselves where it's going, benefits, pensions are being
lost.

I don't work at WalMart and would not want too however in 20 years
it may be the only game in town, even with the "higher education",
so don't be too hard on the bottom feeders because you never know
who you will meet on the way down. If I were 20-30 years of age I
would practice saying "how can I help you today", just as a back up.

Lupinus
January 13, 2006, 12:23 AM
Art-
While I'm sure there are worse places they are by ar not the best. The one near me when I lived in PA reguarly fired people to avoid giving reguarly schedualed pay raises. I work at a place making the same I would at walmart and am glad for it. My mother worked for walmart recently, they treated her like crap.

glockamolee
January 13, 2006, 12:34 AM
The posts have shared some conmmon themes

1) Poor Employee Treatment
2) Employee wages that are substandard.
3) Global Competition
4) Mandatory Higher Education if one wants a chance at good compensation.


Items #1, 2, and 4 are DIRECTLY related to #3. And, as noted earlier by geekWithA.45, #3 is an intractible issue. Technology and especially Traitors in our government have encouraged this to happen. It WOULD have happened anyhow due to technology; but, much slower.

Let us not forget that Employees used to be known as Servants. Employers used to be called Masters.

Nothing has changed except Semantics.

The "Market" is not a free market, as we in the west like to delude ourselves into thinking. I am sure some of the former refugees from the Soviet Union and Communist Eastern Europe are wondering "what happened!" "Perhaps I should go back?!":uhoh:

Art Eatman
January 13, 2006, 12:38 AM
Lupinus, I always figure that there are managers and then there are "managers". Hey, I once had a boss who treated everyone like crap, and I was a Professional Engineer among other professionals. I outlived him...

:), Art

hank327
January 13, 2006, 12:41 AM
Walmart just lost a lawsuit brought by employees because it refused to let them have a lunch break as required by state law.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/12/22/business/main1159752.shtml

What a great company to work for...:barf:

Dannyboy
January 13, 2006, 12:35 PM
The "Market" is not a free market, as we in the west like to delude ourselves into thinking.

Oh really? So, I guess Wal-Mart employees are all being forced to work there? I guess they don't have a choice to work anywhere else? Um, has slavery been legalized without me knowing? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Cellar Dweller
January 13, 2006, 02:19 PM
"I hope personally all 49 (other) states will do this. The states are backed up to the wall on this one," said the sponsor of the bill, Democratic Sen. Gloria Lawlah.


Supporters stated that individual states would have different rates, more-or-less based on COLA (unstated was what % they figured they could get away with, and how much more $$$ would be pouring into state coffers to balance budgets). A smart state would use this as leverage to attract new business, "we WILL NOT have a health tax, please move here."

Theoretically:
Company XYZ is currently paying 14% of healthcare...now they can cut benefits to the "legal standard" of 8% (regardless of size, using the state's mandate as precedent).

Company ABC is giving 4.0% raises, but employees only see 3.68% in their paychecks...because the rest is "health taxed" by the state.

Company PQR employs 11,500 in the state (5% health costs), so cuts 1501 jobs so they don't have to comply. Maybe they open a new location in a bordering state which doesn't have a "health tax" so most of the 1501 won't have to move...maybe another state offers incentives so PQR moves all 11,500 jobs (but not employees) to the other state. State loses tax base and now pays ~11,500 unemployment, workers can't get jobs at an Xmart because Xmart doesn't wan't to go over 10k employees in the state. Oops!

Company LMN offers (formerly $20/hr) jobs for minimum wage, but covers 100% of healthcare costs (which are deductable). State tax base goes down.

Spot77
January 13, 2006, 02:25 PM
Deleted cuz' I'm in a crappy mood about this and some comments might have been seen as offensive.


Please don't sue me. :banghead:

ARperson
January 13, 2006, 03:14 PM
I actually voted for two options (since it seemed to let me do that) because I believe that both B and C were accurate descriptions of how I feel.

Companies should run their business as they see fit, without infringing on the liberties of others. They are, afterall, PRIVATE companies, and in a perfect world (yeah, I know, the big unrealistic caveat), they would want to keep their customers and citizens of the areas where they do business happy by avoiding hurting them.

Also, I completely agree that it is the INDIVIDUAL'S responsibility to take care of any and all insurance issues. Aside from the benefit of group pricing associated with having insurance through an employer, I would rather get paid $50K a year without any other benefits than $43K and benefits. I think I can spend my money better than my employer. Not to mention that I don't enjoy paying for other people's medical/etc. either.

Technosavant
January 13, 2006, 03:51 PM
Walmart just lost a lawsuit brought by employees because it refused to let them have a lunch break as required by state law.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/12/22/business/main1159752.shtml

What a great company to work for...:barf:

And my wife once worked 6 hours and 15 minutes on the clock. If you work 6 hours or more, you are supposed to take a lunch. She got in trouble over it (this was months ago).

WM corporate is very careful to make sure the workers take their breaks. That case is 5 years old, and you will always find renegade managers who are trying to make their store budgets look better.

cracked butt
January 13, 2006, 08:23 PM
Walmart isn't reposible for people's lives. If outside of work people don't make any efforts to improve themselves and are pretty much only fit for employment at Walmart, its their own fault that they get paid crappy wages with crappy benifits. Walmart at least employs a lot of people, much more than any socialist with their precious social conscience has ever done for anyone.

Chrontius
January 13, 2006, 09:24 PM
I have no respect for walmart here. They use Medicaid as their health insurance system; it's in the employment handbook.

Companies do not have an inalienable right to make money -- and more importantly, to make money through externalizing their expenses.

Employees are free to contract for their labor as they see fit, either individually or collectively, No, they're not. Not at Wal-Fart.

If these people were so hard up for such things, they can vote to unionize I should point out that this has been tried. Do you see a Wal-Mart union?

Who are Wal Mart's most loyal customers? Their EMPLOYEES Because they can't afford anything but the cheapest. Compare Ford's early strategy -- pay well, people can afford a car, the only good one on the market is a Ford, we get our money back. Walmart makes sure that the only place you can make ends meet is shopping at walmart. It's... twisted. Outright evil, maybe.

Art Eatman
January 13, 2006, 11:45 PM
Chrontius, for you or for a corporation, there is an inalienable right to ATTEMPT to make money (profit). Otherwise, why start any business? And how many samll business, percentagewise, provide health insurance? Why would you think only a Wal-Mart would externalize health costs? For that matter, is not this externalization commonplace in Canada or Germany?

Wal-Mart employees ARE free to contract, inasmuch as there is no requirement that they work there. Other than management, the jobs are entry level. It is incumbent upon any person to learn and gain skills to move on to better days.

The lack of a union within any Wal-Mart store or within the Wal-Mart system has to do with the in-store politics among the employees and the strength of desire on the part of the employees. Same as any other effort at unionization.

AS far as employee-as-customer loyalty, I don't know. I prefer Big Lots, myself. :)

Art

mrmeval
January 14, 2006, 12:08 AM
There is no such thing as 'under pay'. You get the minimum the law gags business with and that's it. If you don't like it go elsewhere.

A truly evil business would put you in chains and beat you for not meeting quota.

Corporations—especially evil ones—often underpay their low-ranking employees, but there is no right to affordable health care. Insurance benefits are part of the overall compensation package an employer may offer, so certain percentages should not be mandated.

~G. Fink

1911 guy
January 14, 2006, 08:47 AM
I didn't vote in the poll because the choices laid out are all bent out of traditional thinking by recent economic developements driven by our grand and glorious Global Economy. In short, there are bigger problems to be fixed before we can honestly eddress these issues with individual employers.

RealGun
January 14, 2006, 10:18 AM
The legislature should not replace employee organizations. An employer with as many as 10,000 employees is easily subject to formation of unions and forced negotiations with their employees. Discriminating against large employers merely on the grounds that health care is not provided seems really inappropriate to me. Where is the gratitude that jobs are created and that prices are kept low by well funded and efficient corporations? Smaller employers in the same market should not be excluded. I would say that there is more at issue here than health care costs to the State.

The worst part of it is that legislative action in this regard is inflationary. There is no free lunch here.

If WalMart's size and leverage is a problem, that should be addressed head on. I see this law as harassment and a terrible precedent. Next we will have minimum wage laws that apply only to WalMart. If you nullify WalMart's buying power advantage, prices go up for everyone. It is a backhanded way of the State raising taxes.

Chrontius
January 16, 2006, 01:35 AM
The legislature should not replace employee organizations. An employer with as many as 10,000 employees is easily subject to formation of unions and forced negotiations with their employees. Discriminating against large employers merely on the grounds that health care is not provided seems really inappropriate to me. Where is the gratitude that jobs are created and that prices are kept low by well funded and efficient corporations? Smaller employers in the same market should not be excluded. I would say that there is more at issue here than health care costs to the State.

The worst part of it is that legislative action in this regard is inflationary. There is no free lunch here.

If WalMart's size and leverage is a problem, that should be addressed head on. I see this law as harassment and a terrible precedent. Next we will have minimum wage laws that apply only to WalMart. If you nullify WalMart's buying power advantage, prices go up for everyone. It is a backhanded way of the State raising taxes.

Most of this is probably true. Then again, when was the last time you saw a really good antitrust suit in the US of A?

Besides, there's more to it than the obvious. The new Fort Wayne Wal-Mart’s 350 employees will exacerbate the costs to taxpayers. At some Wal-Marts, the company has supplied new employees with information on available social services. California estimated it paid $86 million annually in public assistance to Wal-Mart workers. Connecticut estimates Wal-Mart workers cost its low-income state health care program $5.4 million annually. More than 70 percent of Wal-Mart workers are women. Seventy-five percent of Wal-Mart workers earn under $10 an hour. Are these the kind of jobs Fort Wayne needs?

Wal-Mart claims that it provides health benefits to its workers. A part-time worker must work at Wal-Mart for a minimum of two years to be eligible for health benefits. When eligible, most Wal-Mart workers cannot afford health benefits that cost more than 20 percent of the average worker’s salary. Wal-Mart workers have no choice but to rely on publicly assisted health care. Even upper-management cannot afford the health benefits Wal-Mart “provides.”

Taxpayers in other communities around the country subsidize Wal-Mart under the guise of “economic development.” According to a recent report by the non-profit organization Good Jobs First, local communities have given Wal-Mart over $1 billion in subsidies in the form of free or reduced-priced land, infrastructure assistance, property tax abatements, state income tax rebates or exemptions, enterprise zone status, job training and worker recruitment funds, tax-exempt bond financing and outright cash handouts. How much money is the Fort Wayne/Allen County Economic Development Alliance doling out to Wal-Mart?

Don't gripe about welfare without griping about wealthfare. (http://www.wakeupwalmart.com/news/20050430-fwjg.html)

Besides what I quoted, this article goes into the use of illegal immigrants as janitors, and holding its employees prisoner -- unpaid overtipe behind lock and key. Someone mentioned shackles for not meeting quota, and it's almost funny that they were so on-target :eek:

Cellar Dweller
January 16, 2006, 07:04 AM
California estimated it paid $86 million annually in public assistance to Wal-Mart workers. Out of a total funding of $18,345 million (plus a $4940 million shortfall), which is 0.47% http://www.dss.cahwnet.gov/localassistanceest/may05/DetailTables.pdf.
Connecticut is $5.4/$5574 million (combined total of health/hospital + human services)= 0.10%. http://www.cga.ct.gov/ofa/Documents/BudHlts/BudHlts6-8-2005.pdf.

Employers of construction, landscaping, nannies, janitors, restaurants and bars, retailers that AREN'T headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas somehow are not evil, but The Great Satan Wal-Mart is. All have low-paying jobs at their core, some employ illegals. Apparently there is some difference I'm not seeing?

Most of this is probably true. Then again, when was the last time you saw a really good antitrust suit in the US of A?

:eek: :what: :rolleyes: Defined as: The Federal laws forbidding businesses from monopolizing a market or restraining free trade. http://www.stores.org/pdf/04TOP100chart2.pdf...there is some M&A (Federated/May + Macy's, ) amongst several names on the list, plus several names are held together by holding companies (Autozone+ Sears/Kmart= Eddie Lampert). There ARE other choices, and I doubt Tiffany's and WalMart have the same clientele. It ISN'T a monopoly, and there is no restraint of free trade (they aren't throwing up tariffs and subsidies).

There is no moral or legal defined "right to affordable health care." It is not in the Bible, nor the Constitution. If you don't like Wal-Mart, that's one thing...penalizing them for practices you don't agree with that OTHER employers use is simply wrong.

DRZinn
January 16, 2006, 03:13 PM
The "Market" is not a free market, as we in the west like to delude ourselves into thinking.You couldn't possibly more wrong.

If you don't like Wal-Mart, penalize them by not shopping there. If a worker doesn't like working there, he can penalize them too, by leaving.

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