Should companies ask workers to donate to their fellow employees?

Businesses often collect donations at this time of year for the less fortunate. But what if the less fortunate you are asking your employees to support are other employees? “Making Change at Walmart” — a coalition of workers, faith-based organizations and other groups linked with the United Food and Commercial Workers — says some Walmart stores are asking employees to donate to needy co-workers. They state on their Facebook page:

Despite a massive backlash last year when news broke that Walmart was holding an in-store canned food drive asking workers to donate to one another to keep from going hungry, Walmart hasn’t changed its ways. An Oklahoma Walmart is running another food drive this year!

Rather than agree to pay a decent wage or provide full-time hours, Walmart and its owners (the Waltons) continue to earn massive profits while too many of the workers who make the company a success go hungry.

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14 thoughts on “Should companies ask workers to donate to their fellow employees?

  1. Susan,
    The problem is that ;most of Wal-mart’s workers are not “doing fine”. My father worked there for a period of time and the violations were horrendous. Staff was not allowed to photo copy the schedule – Why? so if sudden changes were made the associate would have no documentation. FMLA leave (correctly documented and granted) was ignored and an associate was terminated for missing work. When the case was filed they were told by a judge “it was Wal-mart go away”. In my Father’s case, a documented granted vacation request was almost grounds for termination because a manager decided to ignore the request without telling him and the called my father while he was in another state wanting to know why he had not shown up for a shift.
    All of these wonderful condition happen on a wage that non partisan experts agree will not grant financial security. For a single person (and remember most people who work there are single parents) with one child the minimum wage for financial security is 22 dollars per hour full time and 15 dollars per hour for a married couple. On the wage that Wal-mart offers most associates require government assistance (its estimated each store costs the government 900,000 dollars in assistance that should be billed to Wal-Mart directly. all while the Waltons are considered some of the richest people in the world.
    I have asked you before and I will ask you again, please do your research before writing these articles.

    1. None of what you’ve said indicates that giving an employee the opportunity to voluntarily give to someone in need is a bad thing.

      And if Wal-Mart is so awful, I suggest you don’t shop there.

      1. Yes!! We (in the USA) live in a wonderful free market. People are not forced to shop anywhere. If you don’t want to support Chick-Fil-A and their Christian views- go buy you chik’n (what the cows call it) somewhere else. If you think Walmart is a sweatshop using slave labor and killing the economy with Chinese junk, stop shopping there. It’s quite simple. Stores go out of business all of the time because people stop doing business with them. And, as an aside, no one is ever forced to work at Walmart. There aren’t any indentured servants.

  2. What about non-profits asking staff to donate to their cause? My org has a competition of who can donate/raise the most… to the people who write our paychecks!

      1. Why? I agree making a competition out of it is ridiculous, but asking at all? And I say this as someone who works for a nonprofit. I get asked to give and I do, happily. Others don’t want to or can’t and they don’t, and that’s fine. But in theory we all believe the cause is worthy enough to at least warrant an organization in the first place, so what’s wrong with asking staff to support it financially?

        1. “so what’s wrong with asking staff to support it financially?”

          Even if those asking don’t mean to, it can, and often does, create a feeling of awkwardness.

          Can any employee be sure that NOT donating is okay? Can those who can’t give be sure that it won’t be held against them?

          For reasons which are really no one else’s business I have NOT, do NOT, and will NOT, give to the United Way campaign at any place I work – and guess what? I am often asked “why? Can’t you give just a little?”

          See, that’s the problem, too often those asking don’t seem to understand that NO means no. period.

  3. I actually have a friend in personnel in Walmart who explained to me that this “donate to your coworkers” is really about helping out people who are undergoing personal hardships. For example, in her store, one of their coworkers had a husband who had lost his job (not at Walmart) and they had a two income household reduced to one. Another had someone in the family with serious medical issues. They had insurance, but of course there are always out of pocket expenses like deductibles and copays. I actually think that sounds like a great idea.

    1. Surely in this situation the people who should be helping is Walmart, not pretending to help by getting other employees to do the donating. It just seems to me Walmart are using this as an awful marketing scheme.

      1. I don’t think Walmart is using this as marketing. I think the union organizers use it. But, honestly, asking employees to kick in a few bucks to a co-worker who is having a bad year is very common. As long as it’s not mandatory, it’s no big deal.

    2. It also allows an amount of anonymity. Say a pharmacist at Walmart makes decent enough money to have a little extra and knows that a fellow worker is struggling to feed her family. The pharmacist may not feel comfortable handing her a sack of groceries, and she may not feel comfortable accepting it. But by having a ‘drive’ the pharmacist can add a sack of groceries for the coworker. The need may not have to be public and the amount of the gift/donation by each employee isn’t known, so it’s a more socially acceptable arrangement. I’ve certainly worked with people who I know struggle financially and would have loved to help them out in a rough spot but knew that they would never accept the help on a person to person basis. Also, statistically, those with less to give are more giving so, ironically, Walmart employees are probably more likely to help out with a can of beans and box of pasta than a Wall Street employee is to write a fat check or buy a pallet of food.

  4. At my company (700 employees), we have a fund where employees can elect to donate a set amount out of their paychecks. This can be as little as $4 per month. This money goes into a fund that helps employees encountering hardships, like house fires, an unexpected illness or death in the family, etc. Disbursements are managed by a group of employees that are elected by the whole staff. Everything is kept highly confidential with oversight by HR.

    Oh and the company matches all donations 100%.

    You don’t have to donate, but we’ve been doing this for a couple of years and have over $30,000 in the fund. It has been a blessing for those who have come on hard times.

    We have food drives too, but those are for the food pantry. We can also donate our holiday turkeys to the local food pantry if we wish.

    There are lots of options out there for companies and their employees to help each other and their community.

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