Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A Tale of Two Companies

Firms Hit by Hurricane Struggle With Paychecks

You're a huge corporation, the beneficiary of thousands of hard-working employees and bought-and-paid-for politicians. You've just witnessed the Big One hit New Orleans and the Gulf coast. What would you do? Well, if you're in the sin business, you do the right thing...

"Several large employers in the areas hit by the hurricane and flooding say they will to continue to pay workers -- at least for a time -- even though their operations have come to a halt. Harrah's Entertainment Inc., which has more than 6,000 employees in casinos in the Mississippi cities of Biloxi and Gulfport and in New Orleans, will give workers in affected areas emergency-relief supplies and money. It will continue to pay employees their scheduled base pay for up to 90 days."

And if you're the biggest monopoly American retail has ever known, growing obscenely fat on cheap Chinese imports and low wages subsidized by government health care for the poor, you do what you do best: pinch pennies and screw your employees.

"Wal-Mart employees whose stores were shut received pay for the first three days the store was closed, whether they were scheduled to work or not. Employees who need money for food or clothes can ask store managers for $250 in cash assistance. Employees whose stores do not reopen in three days will be provided temporary work at other Wal-Mart or Sam's Club stores if they can get there, according to a Wal-Mart spokeswoman."

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