At a time of high unemployment and dwindling job alternatives for millions of Americans, Walmart—America's largest private employer—is denying healthcare benefits to many of its part-time employees. It's enough to make a (socialist) person cry in their craft beer (purchased at Walmart).
The New York Times reports that all future part-time Walmart employees who work less than 24 hours a week on average "will no longer qualify for any of the company's health insurance plans." Walmart's also cutting its contributions to employees' health savings accounts by 50 percent, and increasing premiums for some employees by 40 percent. The company wouldn't tell the New York Times exactly how many employees would be affected by the changes, but the Times reports that 52 percent of Walmart employees received their healthcare coverage from the company in 2009, so base your estimation on that.
These moves are also occurring in a postrecession period when Wal-Mart has been struggling to regain its footing after months of disappointing or flat sales. And with unemployment still hovering around 9 percent, employers may feel less compelled to offer expansive benefits to people desperate for work.
Capitalizing upon people's desperation by exploiting them to the fullest isn't unethical, it's just smart business sense. Besides, look at it this way: a majority of America's large-scale employers offer no benefits to part-time employees at all. If the employees don't like the new policies they can always go work at Target. Or their cousin's meth lab, or the local gas station (if it isn't owned by Walmart).