Sam’s Club Disaster Proves We Need More Black Owned Businesses

With absolutely no warning given, more than 10,000 people went to work on January 11th only to find, “We’re closed” signs on the windows.

That morning, Walmart suddenly decided to permanently close 26 Sam’s Clubs across America. And they’re closing a total of 63 overall. On the cusp of huge tax cuts granted by the Trump Administration, Walmart had announced that they would increase their employee minimum wage to $11 and give a one-time only $1000 bonus to employees that worked for them 20 years or longer.

All of this was extremely laughable. With the high turnover rate of companies like Walmart, they basically agreed to give bonuses to unicorns and replace a few pennies with nickels.

The biggest lesson here is that they don’t care. By now, I hope most of us know this already. Corporations will use you up and spit you out with a blink of an eye. This time it was Walmart/Sam’s Club but sudden layoffs could happen with any large corporation. There are books, that discuss how American capitalism is basically the offspring of chattel slavery – which would explain corporations’ unwavering belief that the maltreat of employees is not an issue because they suck the life out of you “create jobs.”

And when you’re Black in America, you have to work twice as hard to earn 50% of the same dollar. So, it’s painful to know that so many people’s lives dangle in the balance – only to be discarded at a whim by corporate greed.

Not to be overly simplistic – but this is a reminder of the need for more Black owned businesses. No, this is not a cure all to being overworked and underpaid. Nor is it a cure all to the historic economic disenfranchisement that Black communities face. HOWEVER, a side business that brings in additional income can be a huge help for families living paycheck to paycheck.

Your business does not have to be a large scale operation. I’m talking about a return/reinvention of small businesses that often sustained Black communities in the past. My grandmother used to make arts and crafts and help people with their taxes. My grandfather bought a van one day and started his own taxi company – a business that is still alive today.

Business ownership is not the end all and be all to solving economic issues affecting our communities. However, it is always helpful to have more than one source of income if possible. It doesn’t matter if your business is cutting grass, braiding hair, helping people with their taxes. What ever your skill set is, if you have the ability to start a side business, I strongly advise you to do so. These corporations only care about profits. You are expendable and if they could replace you with a lower paid worker or even a robot they would (as some have already started doing).

It’s also a good idea to research how successful Black business owners of the past became successful. Most people know the name Madam C.J. Walker, but many have no idea how expansive her beauty empire was and that she hired thousands of beauty consultants – helping Black women and men across the country become self employed. These stories serve not only as an inspiration but as a guide for overcoming difficult situations and prospering in the face of adversity by using your own skills and abilities.

In times like these, having the ability to be economically self sufficient can help someone escape the grasp of the poverty line. Yes, we should continue to vote and push our representatives to create laws for living wages, healthcare and public education. BUT,  we can not wait on them to make these an immediate reality. Our political system is so tied to corporate lobbying and donors that impactful changes to the system can take years to develop.

Yes, we need living wages. Yes, we need jobs. And yes, we need a business of our own, right now! Because one thing is for certain, when it comes to corporations – they don’t care about us.

 

“I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations….I have built my own factory on my own ground.” – Madam C.J. Walker

 

Jessica Ann Mitchell Aiwuyor is the founder of Our Legaci Press. To reach Jessica, email her at OurLegaci@gmail.com. Follow her on Facebook at Facebook.com/JAMAiwuyor.

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Walmart The Welfare Queen

Photo Credit: Amazon
Photo Credit: Amazon

Perhaps Walmart executives should hold a private viewing of the Lion King to learn about the Circle Of Life. After fighting tooth and nail against living wages for employees and working with ALEC, Walmart’s own selfishness is catching up with them. As one of the largest corporations on the planet, Walmart execs work tirelessly to prevent its underpaid employees from getting higher wages and health insurance benefits. Walmart now faces a 21% loss in its fourth quarter and it’s blaming the expiration of food stamp benefits.

On Thursday Wal-Mart reported a 21 percent decline in its fourth-quarter profit. The company said that the Nov. 1 expiration of a temporary boost in food stamps is hurting its shoppers’ ability to spend. It’s also caught up in the debate about minimum wages and dealing with increasing competition from dollar stores and grocers. – MSN Money

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Walmart has plans underway to open up 6 stores in Washington, DC and threatened to pull out if the DC Council approved a new living wage bill. The council approved it anyway but not surprisingly the bill was vetoed by D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray in an attempt to keep peace with Walmart.

Mike Debonis of the Washington Post states,”The city’s minimum wage is $8.25 an hour. The bill would raise the annual earnings of a full-time employee making the lowest legal wage from about $17,000 to $26,000.”  It should be noted that $26,000 is just above the Federal Poverty Line for a family of four. At a pay rate much lower than this with limited hours, it’s easy to understand why one Walmart store hosted food donation drives for it’s own employees.

Walmart’s new 21% loss means that in addition to the government subsidizing Walmart’s low wages by providing its employees with food stamps, the government is also a prime provider of funds to Walmart through its customers. Meaning that Walmart depends on food stamp recipients as a key consumer base. Now that those benefits are ending Walmart is in a crunch. Perhaps if they spent more time making sure that their employees could survive without needing food-banks, they would understand that pushing for legislation against the working class is not only unethical but harmful for business. People go to work, get paid and buy things. If they don’t have even money for basic needs like food, potential consumers are not going shopping. Walmart is a prime example of how “job creator” initiatives are hurting the economy. Suddenly Walmart is considering a new found support of Federal minimum wage increase.

Bloomberg.com reports, “David Tovar, a company spokesman, said today in a telephone interview. Increasing the minimum wage means that some of the 140 million people who shop at the chain weekly would “now have additional income.”

I guess they’re finally learning how this works.  The next time a conservative drones on about “entitlements” and poor people bashing, remind them that Walmart survives on food stamps, tax write offs and subsidies. They’re one of the biggest Welfare Queens in the land.

JamAllen2-nb-smallJessica Ann Mitchell is the founder of OurLegaci.com & BlackBloggersConnect.com. To reach JAM, email her at OurLegaci@gmail.com.

Follow OurLegaci on Facebook at Facebook.com/OurLegaci.