Protestors flocked the streets on Friday, not to participate in American consumerism, but to protest the low wages of retail employees and janitors. The protestors marched down University Avenue in St. Paul and made their way to the Wal-Mart on Snelling Avenue where 26 of those protestors were arrested in conjunction with their disruption of traffic by sitting in the middle of the street.
This protest was one of hundreds around the country on Friday — but the St. Paul protest was organized by Take Action Minnesota and the Service Employees International Union. There were hundreds of more peaceful protestors not getting arrested showing up with signs to support the ideal of corporations giving more to their workers. These organizations argue many of these workers do not make a living wage and the minimum wage should be raised to a more suitable standard. While I doubt any of these mega retailers like Wal-Mart are going to budge, some of the protestors believe if they fight hard enough and long enough, they can make a difference. And what better day to make a stand than Black Friday.
This isn’t the first time Wal-Mart has been in the news recently for underpaying their employees — actor Aston Kutcher recently took to Twitter to call out Wal-Mart for poor compensation of their employees.
In my humble opinion, while Kutcher and the protestors have a point (California tax payers spend $86 million a year on subsidies for the state’s 44,000 Wal-Mart employees), raising the minimum wage or paying employees more is likely not the best solution. How much money should one really make working a job cleaning toilets or running a checkout line? The real problem at hand here isn’t higher wages, it’s addressing the ever increasing cost of living in America. And indeed, that is a much, much larger problem — but really, it’s the root of this problem and the one that needs to be discussed — not higher wages.
Photo via: Pioneer Press