Karen Olsson’s Up Against Wal-Mart
February 05, 2013
In “Up Against Wal-Mart” by Karen Olsson, she finds the truth about how Wal-Mart treats its customers and more importantly how the million dollar company treats its employees. In this essay, Olsson strongly believes that Wal-Mart keeps its stores understaffed and their employees overworked and underpaid, with minimal options for reasonable benefits.
Olsson begins with an individual employee, Jennifer McLaughlin, who is a mother of one child, and is currently employed with Wal-Mart in Paris, Texas. She is a very hard worker and puts in a lot of effort every day. But she is not able to afford life, with the amount that the company pays her. Health insurance is too much to afford on her wage, so she has to rely on government assistance to give her child the things he needs. She is forced to work over time, is underpaid and also treated unfairly. According to Olsson, “On a given shift McLaughlin might man a register, hop on a mechanical lift to retrieve something from a high shelf, catch fish from a tank, run over to another department to help locate an item, restock the shelves, dust off the bike racks, or field questions about potting soil and lawn mowers” (607). In other words, Olsson points out that Wal-Mart does not hire enough workers and also overwork its employees.
The other issue is the company Wal-Mart is not unionized. The workers at Wal-Mart have started to try to create a union. But a union at Wal-Mart was never formed due to the company’s anti-union group that created by Wal-Mart, which employees who voted for the union were fired. Olsson states that "Wal-Mart has responded to the union drive by trying to stop workers from organizing—sometimes in violation of federal labor law" (609). Here she proves that Wal-Mart is against the union and will do what it can to stop one from forming. This...
Cited: Olsson, Karen. “Up Against Wal-Mart.” They Say/I Say, with Readings. 2nd ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 606-619. Print.
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