The New York Times has obtained an internal Wal-Mart memo that reveals that while Wall-Mart had $10.5 billion in profits last year, it is trying to squeeze another $1 billion in savings in health care and other costs from its "associates," the clever Newspeak term used by Wal-Mart to label its employees.
Instead of using the word "employee," which makes clear the relationship between the owner and the worker, Wal-Mart uses the term "associate" which implies, according to dictionary definitions, a "partnership," "having equal or nearly equal status," even a "colleague." Of course, Wal-Mart employees are none of these things. If associates are partners or colleagues, then why are 46% of associates' children uninsured?
The momorandum admits that 38% of Wal-Mart's "associates" spent one-sixth of their income last year on health care. To understand the impact of that fact, consider that the average pay for a Wal-Mart associate is $17,500 per year.
Enough is not enough when it comes to profits for Wal-Mart. In contradiction to its huge advertising and public relations campaign to sell Wal-Mart as a company that cares about its employees and "community," this memorandum, while it does admit certain inadequacies in its policies which could be redressed, concentrates heavily on ways to cut costs and obtain increased savings.