Pendola noted that Family Dollar (FDO), Dollar General (DG) and other lower-priced chains were chipping away at its value to the consumer, but its recent labor woes would explain the tone-deaf choice of soundtrack for the American worker. However, that's not how Wal-Mart's Twitter presence sees it.
@Notteham We chose the song we liked best. What do you think about our commitment to help create more U.S. manufacturing jobs? -MoniWalmart (@Walmart) February 19, 2014
Never mind that, despite getting big-time airplay in Cleveland about four decades ago (as Rocco Pendola mentions in his followup, Here's Why Wal-Mart Screwed Up By Using Rush To Promote American Workers), Rush's Working Man has just about zero to do with U.S. manufacturing jobs and would have required a Google search of less than a fraction of a second to determine its Canadian origins. Picking this song isn't even the laziest infraction Wal-Mart has committed.
Wal-Mart has been in existence for roughly 52 years. At some point during that span, it must have occurred to someone in the Walton family that their headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., is located in an industrialized nation with plenty of manufacturing capacity and available labor. This was especially true during the recession, when 36% of American workers older than 25 with a high school education or less started losing jobs in 2007 and haven't stopped. About 767,000 fewer of them reported having a job in 2012 than in 2010, and 2 million workers in that demographic left the job market altogether during that span.
When the U.S. economy recovered 5.7 million of the 8.7 million jobs shed during the recession, roughly 65% of those regained jobs have been of the low-wage variety. Unfortunately, the National Employment Law Project says nearly 60% of all jobs lost during the recession paid middle-income wages or better.
So where did a whole lot of those workers end up? Wal-Mart, which noticeably didn't push for more manufacturing gigs when all the applications started funneling in. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that 4.3 million people hold the most popular job in the U.S., the $25,000-a-year position of retail salesperson. Cashiers come in second with 3.3 million U.S. jobs, but Wal-Mart is just as ready to pay them an average of $20,000 a year to ring up purchases. Wal-Mart now employes 2.2 million people in the U.S. and is the nation's largest private employer.
Wal-Mart could have launched this little initiative at any time, and is still vague about how or when its product sourcing will change, but the absolutely sloppy advertising of this fact through the use of a Canadian band brings Wal-Mart's already questionable commitment into question.
Since Wal-Mart has such little experience with the U.S. manufacturing worker or with music in general -- its Music Content Policy prohibits its from stocking albums bearing the Parental Advisory label -- we've decided to thank the company for reaching out to us by suggesting a few songs by American artists that are a bit better suited to the U.S. industrial aesthetic than those produced by Canadian labor: