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November 21, 2013
At Walmart and McDonald's, Are Low Pay Policies Really Smart PR?
Minimum wages don't pay in public relations —  that is, image —  terms. Walmart and McDonald's are proof of that. Both firms are being pummeled on the Internet for their pay policies as the holidays arrive. We don't attempt here to parse how many employees of each company are in which pay category. It's sufficient for the point that many are low-paid. Is it really worth it, over time, in corporate terms?

We have a Walmart spokesman defending one of its stores in Canton, Ohio, that puts out bins for a holiday food drive to help needy associates. Only about 12 of 300 employees benefitted from the program last year, he notes. And McDonalds, The Atlantic noted earlier this year, has a financial planning site that presumes that its workers have a second job, or don't pay for heat.

Can this sort of thing — seeming to profit off the backs of others —  be smart over time, even though sparse pay policies — at least for low-level workers —  have been in place for a long time already?  

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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