In response

Dear editor:
This letter is in response to the letters, “Take Heed” and “More on Wal-Mart,” that appeared in the Dec. 18 edition of the Times.
As an employee of Wal-Mart, I know for a fact that employees are paid more than minimum wage. Wal-Mart’s starting wage for anyone working midnights is $8.50- $9.50 an hour, depending on previous experience.
As for the comment, “The base wage of $7.50 /hr is really not enough to live on: pay for shelter, pay for transportation to work, pay for child care, pay for health insurance, pay for car, gas, and car insurance, and groceries,” I have worked at Wal-Mart from the time minimum wage was $6.85 (which I always made more than) and I have always had a place to live.
Working at Wal-Mart has given me the money to buy my own house. I always have food in my stomach, a car to get me to and from work that is insured and kept full of gas. Not to mention the $400 that is spent on groceries a month.
As for the health insurance, it is mandatory for you to have the basic coverage, which Wal-Mart pays for. I know for a fact that the monthly cost of my health benefits is less than the standard cost I would pay for the same benefits if bought from an outside company.
I know that our benefits are better than those of people who have been with Canada Post for 10-15 years. I am allowed $2,500 worth of dental a year, not to mention all my prescriptions are fully paid for plus other health services, as well.
Now to respond to “More on Wal-Mart.” I have never seen any charity treated the way that the Salvation Army people were treated in Toronto. At our store in Thunder Bay, they have their own spot inside the store at the exit doors.
Not to mention Wal-Mart allows various fundraising and charity groups to set up tables inside the store at the front check-outs. In regards to the Toronto store the letter writer spoke of, that would have been a management decision and I agree with you that the store manager was wrong in his/her decision.
As for the Web site (which was referred to in a letter to the editor entitled “Be Educated” that appeared in the Dec. 11 edition of the Times), this is a site that promotes only the hatred of Wal-Mart by former employees that, in their minds, believe they were treated unfairly (maybe they were, but this also depends on the store management team), or by people who have some personal problem with the Wal-Mart in their town.
As for the safety in store, how can we make it safe if no one says anything. And as for the use of sweatshop labour, the moment Wal-Mart finds out that a supplier uses sweatshops to produce their items, the items are dropped from distribution in the Wal-Mart chain and never sold again in any Wal-Mart.
For everyone who is set in their ways and does not want to see the town grow, I recommend you read the book, “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson.
Nancy Reilly
Thunder Bay, Ont.