There is no denying that Wal-Mart has become the fashionable whipping boy of American industry. Whether that's fair or not is debatable. The company has trouble insuring part-time workers, something that most big companies have difficulty doing.
To its credit, the company is launching a counteroffensive that includes a marketing campaign — as well as real benefit increases for workers. On Feb. 23, it announced that it will reduce the two-year waiting period for part-time workers to qualify for benefits. In addition, Wal-Mart plans to add 50 in-store clinics, and allow part-time workers to enroll their children in the employer health insurance plan.
Also, Wal-Mart said it will launch a limited benefits package, Value Plan, through which workers can buy coverage for a little as $11 a month by 2007.