Dead Peasant Policy Article
With huge companies gaining dominance in the market and smaller businesses being run out of town, large corporations are becoming more influential in the lives of the American people. Americans are relying on these companies by taking lower-level jobs in these trying times. One of these major companies is the multinational firm, Wal-Mart. While much criticism follows Wal-Mart’s unethical policies in third world countries, few consumers are aware of certain questionable practices that occur on their home soil. This company currently employs one percent of America with paychecks averaging slightly above minimum wage, yet benefits are only offered to full-time employees. However, Wal-Mart still takes a life insurance policy out for its lower-level employees, referred to as the Dead Peasant Policy. This policy names Wal-Mart as the beneficiary of these employees, mostly cashiers and janitors. Upon an employee’s death, the insurance is often sourced to executives’ incomes as a bonus; meanwhile the decedent’s family will receive nothing. In Texas, for example, a pregnant woman lost her Wal-Mart-employed husband and eight years later discovered the $102,000 insurance benefit that Wal-Mart also received following his death. She, along with many families nationwide, was disgusted by the news that the company had benefited from her family’s loss. Ironically, the wage sum in a low-level job, a national average of $11.75 per hour, is radically less than the life insurance payout Wal-Mart receives. No laws prior to 2006 required companies to reveal this insurance to covered employees, therefore long-time employees can’t be sure if they are included in this policy. With the recent publication of this practice, Wal-Mart has felt the pressure from angry workers and has recently paid over $10.4 million to 380 families in compensation. With Wal-Mart sitting in the spotlight on this issue now more than ever, they may need to reconsider a policy that...
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