Employees at Walmart, the world's largest retailer, are striking for the first time in 50 years. It's hard to believe it took so long. Walmart Stores Inc. is a massive corporation, yet many workers receive low wages and are denied benefits.
But a couple of big myths about retail workers keep the public from believing they should receive higher pay and benefits, according to a report by Stephanie Luce at City University of New York and Naoki Fujita at the Retail Action Project.
These perceptions are dangerous because they affect more than 14 million retail workers.
Here are some of the biggest myths that hold retail workers back:
- Myth 1: Most retail workers are teenagers with little education or experience. Not so: according to the National Retail Federation, 70 percent of workers are older than 25 and more than half have a college education.
- Myth 2: Retail workers are "part-time" and aren't entitled to health-care benefits, sick days or time off. The majority of retail workers are full-time -- more than two-thirds, according to the NRF -- yet don't get any benefits.
- Myth 3: Retail workers are young people with few responsibilities. About 30 percent of people surveyed by Luce and Fujita supported dependents on their income. Yet, the average hourly wage was only $10 an hour, with many employees making less than that.
These myths about retail workers hold millions of people back from getting better pay and benefits. The truth is that most employees rely on their jobs to make a living and support a family.
If the public realized this, retail workers such as those at Walmart would have more support in their plight.
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