Thursday, August 29, 2013
Walmart Loosens Up
by Pa Rock
Word out of Bentonville, Arkansas, is that Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, is preparing to offer insurance benefits to the same-sex partners and spouses of their employees. The corporation, which got its start as a five-and-dime in rural northwest Arkansas, has a long history of ultra-conservative positions, so this sudden change-of-heart is reverberating loudly across the Walmart community of employees as well as the nation.
Walmart, the bell cow of the Fortune 500, is a bit late in coming to the game. Over sixty-percent of the member corporations of that elite group already offer domestic partner benefits. A Walmart corporate spokesman noted that of its thirty primary competitors, all but two (Publix and Stop and Shop) already offer benefits to same-sex partners and spouses.
Walmart is the second largest employer in the United States, only trailing the federal government in total number of employees. The Walmart workforce within the United States exceeds 1.3 million. Those employees who have been with the company for over a year and work an average of thirty hours or more per week qualify for insurance benefits.
A spokesman for Walmart said that domestic partners, married or unmarried, are qualified for the insurance benefits as long as they have been together exclusively for twelve months – and that no proof is required for enrollment.
One has to wonder how the denizens of Tea Bag Nation, many of whom view their frequent visits to the local Walmart as near-religious experiences, will react to this heresy.