It’s not surprising that low-wage working mothers don’t even get Mother’s Day off to honor their dauntless efforts to take care of their families. In a special Mother’s Day article on HuffPo, labor reporter Saki Knafo interviews low-wage working mothers, focusing on Walmart, who must rely on government support in order to provide for their families, while Walmart makes billions in profits. Even though Walmart is not the worst offender in tax dodging, paying an effective tax rate of 32.4% compared to the federal tax rate for corporations of 35%; they still impose a huge cost on our government in trying to fill the gap left by low wages. In the HuffPo article, a spokesperson for Walmart says that the company has a job ladder that promotes hundreds of people every day, including Mother’s Day, so that their workers have opportunities to build a better life for their families – continuing to deny the validity of the class action sex discrimination suit against Walmart currently working its way through the court system.
Despite propaganda from the right that portrays people who rely on government programs as lazy, poor families are hard working and contribute great value to our economy. A report from the Working Poor Families Project (also cited in the HuffPo article) found that 32% of working families earn so little that they may not have enough money to meet their basic needs (like food, shelter and healthcare). By keeping wages low, Walmart is charging a social costs, both through the cost of programs to help low income families as well as decreased productivity resulting from children growing up poor. This working families issue is also a gender issue since women are disproportionately poor; in particular, female retail workers are especially overwhelmingly poor – according to our friends at Demos, 63% of female retail workers qualify as low- wage – and (non-elderly) public assistance is primarily geared toward mothers and their children (e.g. the Women, Infants and Children program, aka WIC, which provides for food and nutritional support for mothers and children at risk of nutritional deficiency due to poverty).
It’d be nice if women workers at Walmart and other low-wage giants at least got a day off as thanks for the hard work they do providing for their families in a rigged economic system that favors corporate interests over all else, including motherhood.