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Wal-Mart As Predator

Human Rights Watch has long been critical of Wal-Mart which takes full advantage of weak American labor laws and which make it virtually impossible for the 1.3 million employees of America's largest retailer to ever hope to unionize. In addition, Wal-Mart continues to use a variety of both legal and illegal means to prevent their workforce from unionizing.

It is no wonder that Wal-Mart continues as the biggest retailer in America with $351 billion in revenue in 2007, topping the Fortune 500 list once again, while most Wal-Mart workers struggle to afford rent, gasoline, health care or food for their families on minimum Wal-Mart wage incomes. Many Wal-Mart employees have to accept Food Stamps, public health care or some other government sponsored welfare in order to survive.

Taxpayers have to subsidize the low wages and lack of benefits that Wal-Mart pays, while the management of Wal-Mart brings home millions in pay and billions in corporate profits. Wal-Mart exploits the taxpayer by forcing them to pay their labor costs and costs of doing business that they refuse to pay. Wal-Mart is simply not a good public citizen.

The early days of the American Revolution promised upward mobility to workers if they would only move to the cities and become dependent on others for jobs and give up their farms and self-dependent lifestyles. Instead, many workers in America continue to live below the poverty line in a relationship hardly much better than the classic days of the slave and slave owner.

Yet, because of a lack of class-conscious struggle by most American workers, many workers are not radicalized like their counterparts in Europe to throw off this oppression and only allow themselves to be continually exploited by their oppressors. But the tactics of Wal-Mart make even unionizing by their employees impossible. This company is expert at wage exploitation of their employees.

Just because the chains of slavery around the necks of many forced into poverty in America in some low paying dead-end minimum wage jobs is invisible doesn't mean that it's not still there hanging around their necks. Wal-Mart is a blowback to the bad old days of the Company Store.

Unlike employers in most other American companies who believe in a fair wages for a fair days work, Wal-Mart's upper management believes that their road to wealth should come from the worst methods of exploitation of their employees to boost profits and continue to open new stores and push out other businesses. Wal-Mart currently has over 4,000 stores, and has plans to go into many more communities and economically destroy their competition and take over the market in those areas, drive down wages in those communities, and become more powerful.

Wal-Mart is like an alien predator, it devours other businesses and ruins the American Dream hopes of anyone caught working there who is not top management and who doesn't share in it's wealth. When other businesses are economically destroyed in some small community, and Wal-Mart becomes the only source of jobs in that community, workers watch their wages cut and freedom of choice of where to shop disappears.

Wal-Mart doesn't represent free market economics, it represents one seller control of all business and all wages in some smaller communities. It's the closest thing to a Soviet-era Communist economic system of complete economic control of the lives of all involved in some smaller communities that America will ever witness. No one in their right mind can call this good.


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Comments (10)

Ray H.:

Wal Mart's the enemy? If it wasn't for Wal Mart, most of the people that work there would be jobless and wouldn't be able to afford the prices that other places were charging. Seems to me that if they pay people that can't get a job anywhere else more, then the prices they have charge for the goods they sell will go up. Then we'll be back where we start. Undereducated, undertrained people getting paid more money than they are worth.

Thanks for your thoughts here Ray, but my main concerns with Wal-Mart is that few employees earn wages high enough to be enough of a tax asset to outweight the huge number of employees of Wal-Mart who require social welfare programs in order to survive such as Food Stamps or public health programs. Compare that to some other good neighbor businesses such as Kroger which owns Fred Meyer Stores, and the employees earn high union wages which generate taxes to fund schools, police, fire, etc. and provide health insurance as well as excellent retirement benefits.

States need laws to crack down hard on larger businesses like Wal-Mart which shift a large portion of their cost of doing business onto the taxpayer and act as little of an asset to a community. Wal-Mart operates solely as benefit for some to top management and few else of the 1.3 million employees they have. If every business operated this way our country would have no military, on schools, no streets, no police, no fire departments, etc. because not enough of a tax base would exist to have these things.

When a Wal-Mart moves into many small communities, other businesses collapse and vanish, and soon much of the jobs in that community become dependent on Wal-Mart's low wages, tax revenues fall and communities struggle to survive. Even worse is when some communities have to raise property taxes for many persons including senior citizens, making it hard for many to afford to stay in their homes.

My view is that any large business like a Wal-Mart must prove that it can actually be a tax asset for a community and not generate social disintegration of communities before they are permitted to set up shop.

SCSIwuzzy:

Serious question:
In your home range in Oregon, what pay and benefits do Walmart's direct competitors provide? Sears, Target etc.
How do they stack up to Walmart?
I know when I had my union job at Bradlees, when Walmart finally came to NJ everyone outside of management (aka, union labor) with less than 20 years service went down the street and applied for work. Because the pay and benefits were better and there was no union taking dues off the top. The same held true for the folks that worked at the Caldor accross the street from us.

BPG:

In my experience the situation is backwards. When Walmart entered a long-dying town in upstate New York that I lived in back in the 90s, it became the one of the biggest employers in town and took a fair number of people off the dole that would otherwise have been on it.

If Wal-Mart was such a horrible place to work, why do they never seem to have trouble hiring wherever they open?

Besides, consumers are not interested in the well-being, pay, or benefits of people working at Wal-Mart, Sears, Target, etc. Consumers are worried about PRICES.

SCSIwuzzy:

Paul?
You're posting, so I have to assume you're around and alive.
How's the pay and benefits of Walmart stack up to their competition?

SCSIwuzzy:

Hmmmm. Paul?
Could it be that even the UFCW, the union that wants into Walmart the most, admits that Walmart pays better, and provides better benefits (and to more employees by %) than the nearest competition (Target)? Even the Star Tribune and AlterNet, those hot beds of conservative reactionism, agree that Walmart is a better place to work.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

How about a link to your assertion that Target pays better than Walmart, SCSI...?

SCSIwuzzy:

How about publishing the half dozen I posted?

Lee Ward:

If you put more than two links in a comment the blog software treats it like spam and puts it in the junk folder.

When that happens just email us at the tips email address and we'll pull it out and publish it for you, as I did above.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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