Thursday, December 02, 2004

On Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart Harms American Workers

December 1, 2004

Wal-Mart’s low-wage, low-benefit, anti-union policies are a prime example of how rapacious free market ideology harms American workers. With nearly 5,000 stores worldwide, the world's largest retailer has never acknowledged a single labor union—except in China, where the company was recently forced to acknowledge the state run union in order to safeguard $18 billion in cheap Chinese goods. In fact, a Wal-Mart handbook explicitly instructs its managers to bust unions: “Wal-Mart is opposed to unionization of its associates. Any suggestion that the Company is neutral on the subject or that it encourages associates to join labor organizations is not true.”

  • Wal-Mart symbolizes everything that is wrong with free market ideology. Rather than providing good wages, solid benefits, and opportunities for collective bargaining and better relationships between management and workers, Wal-Mart goes out of its way to depress wages, reduce benefits, and threaten employees who seek better working conditions – all in the name of profit. Yet, one of its chief competitors, Costco, takes the exact opposite approach—good wages, benefits, and cooperative management—and has outpaced Wal-Mart in recent years.

  • Wal-Mart undercuts American workers by relying on cheap Chinese labor and goods. On top of its anti-union policies, the corporate giant is rapidly becoming a slave to cheap Chinese labor, undercutting American workers and products in the process. Wal-Mart imports so much merchandise from China—now estimated at around $18 billion in total inventory—the company is now a major contributor to the overall U.S. trade deficit with China.

  • Wal-Mart kills small businesses and communities all across America. Small businesses across America have been killed by Wal-Mart’s business model of relentlessly driving down prices by undercutting American workers and fighting unions. Home-grown businesses in rural areas and small cities simply can not compete with a corporate giant who cares little about the impact of its policies on communities and workers.
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