Growing Opposition Frowns on Wal-mart

usatoday.com/money/industries/retail/2005-12-04-walmart-opposition_x.htm

Well, this is one of those instances, when I wish the thread title didn’t have to match the article…it looks like “big labor” is responsible for the big push against Wal-mart.

In just the past year, two union-backed groups have formed with the shared mission of challenging the megaretailer’s business, labor, environmental and social standards.
Another labor-supported group, Wal-Mart Watch, is housed in a corporate-looking downtown Washington office with plush leather chairs and curving stalks of pale green lucky bamboo in the waiting room. The mostly young staff is dressed in jeans and khakis. The organization has 36 employees, including 14 who work in the field.

Both organizations have gotten or now get funding from labor unions, which have tried unsuccessfully for years to unionize workers at the retailer. Wal-Mart Watch was launched in April by Andrew Stern, a union leader whose Service Employees International Union left the AFL-CIO last summer.

An independent study by Global Insight found that Wal-Mart saved each American household, on average, $2,329 in 2004. It found Wal-Mart also had a net positive economic impact in the form of a 0.9% increase in real wages and the creation of 210,000 jobs nationwide.

$2,329! I’m going to start shopping there.

The company also says it insures more than 568,000 associates and more than 948,000 people in total, who, as of January, will pay as little as $25 a month for individual coverage and $65 for family coverage. And 160,000 associates now covered by insurance had none before joining the discount retailer.

A lot better deal than we get at my employer in the high-tech industry…

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart says it pays an average wage of $9.68 an hour, which is almost twice the minimum wage of $5.15. And Wal-Mart says the proof is in how many people want to work at Wal-Mart: A store opening in August in Oakland had 12,000 applicants for 400 jobs.

I’d be curious to see a survey done of the applicants to see what their previous employer paid, and why they would want to work at Wal-Mart. Oakland is a big city, so it’s not the “only job available” as some of the charges claim. I’d also like to see a comparison to a similar big-box operation, Ikea, in East Palo Alto to see how they match up.

All-in-all I have now been swayed to Wal-Mart’s side of the argument.

I do not shop at Wal-Mart that much since, where I live in the Detroit area, there is not one close to me to make it convenient. I mostly shop at Meijers since there is a Super-Walmart size one about 2 miles away.

PF

We just had a new Super Wal Mart open in tiny Mountain View, Arkansas (pop. 2,800). It has done good things for the local economy – and not produced the loss in jobs at local supermarkets the viewers-with-alarm predicted.

[quote=vern humphrey]We just had a new Super Wal Mart open in tiny Mountain View, Arkansas (pop. 2,800). It has done good things for the local economy – and not produced the loss in jobs at local supermarkets the viewers-with-alarm predicted.
[/quote]

Sounds right because your labor force is so small that any employer would benefit the local economy. Even another bed-and-breakfast would be welcome where jobs are not plentiful.

WHAT?!?

Facts on WalMart show the opposite of what anti-WalMart people say?

NO FREAKEN WAY!!!

[quote=b_justb]WHAT?!?

Facts on WalMart show the opposite of what anti-WalMart people say?

NO FREAKEN WAY!!!
[/quote]

Wal-Mart is neither all bad nor all deserving of our love.

[quote=Arba Sicula]Wal-Mart is neither all bad nor all deserving of our love.
[/quote]

The only strong emotion I’ve seen exhibited toward Wal-Mart is hate. I don’t think defenders have shown great love, rather they’ve defended a successful company. I’m sure they have things I don’t like about them…what company doesn’t?

[quote=Arba Sicula]Wal-Mart is neither all bad nor all deserving of our love.
[/quote]

It’s always all bad when I go in there: screaming brats, scads of people packed into every possible surface area, lines 15 deep at 12 check outs. Hideous! I just don’t think they’re the anti-Christ is all.

[quote=b_justb]I just don’t think they’re the anti-Christ is all.
[/quote]

Sure. They can be a bad employer and still be customer beneficial.

Montgomery Ward start his catalog business and hurt the mom and pop’s in farming communities, then he started retail stores and put a lot of them out of business. Sears came along and did a better job of what Ward’s started and started their decline. Kmart started a different kind of merchandising and started the decline of Sears. Target came along and put a hurt on Kmart. Now Wal-Mart is the ‘King of the mountain’, nothing new. Some day some smart person will figure how to beat Wal-Mart and if the are to large to change quickly they will go the way of their predecessors. In merchandising if you are the best(low price, good selection, good service) you will win the war for customers. It’s that simple.

[quote=Lance]In merchandising if you are the best(low price, good selection, good service) you will win the war for customers. It’s that simple.
[/quote]

Does being best include having quality merchandise or does it only mean cheap goods for a cheap price? :slight_smile:

[quote=Arba Sicula]Does being best include having quality merchandise or does it only mean cheap goods for a cheap price?
[/quote]

Let’s submit the question to the final arbitrator, the American public, and see if they buy enough from Wal Mart for the company to make a profit.http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon12.gif

[quote=Arba Sicula]Sure. They can be a bad employer and still be customer beneficial.
[/quote]

If they are such a bad employer, why did they get 12,000 applicants for 400 jobs when they opened their Oakland store? Certainly, their reputation is well advertised here in the very liberal Bay Area. The unemployment rate for California was 5.2% in August…fairly low.

It might be because pay and benefits were competitive compared to the other choices these applicants had.

[quote=rlg94086]If they are such a bad employer, why did they get 12,000 applicants for 400 jobs when they opened their Oakland store? Certainly, their reputation is well advertised here in the very liberal Bay Area. The unemployment rate for California was 5.2% in August…fairly low.

It might be because pay and benefits were competitive compared to the other choices these applicants had.
[/quote]

Please check the demographics of the Oakland, California area and consider the sort of people who’d be competing for those jobs. Few MBAs, I’d think.

BTW, it’s not the California unemployment rate that is meaningful, but rather the Oakland or Bay area unemployment rate that ought to be examined.

[quote=Arba Sicula]Please check the demographics of the Oakland, California area and consider** the sort of people** who’d be competing for those jobs. Few MBAs, I’d think.

BTW, it’s not the California unemployment rate that is meaningful, but rather the Oakland or Bay area unemployment rate that ought to be examined.
[/quote]

Excuse me? What are you insinuating? I live in the Bay Area, so I’m very aware of employment conditions. I checked with my local paper’s website and did a job search for retail in Oakland and came up with over 1,000 listings. I do not know what pay Wal-Mart is offering, but I’m guessing it’s competitive with similar companies.

As I said, if someone is going to make accusations, shouldn’t they check actual data like the pay/benefits of Ikea in East Palo Alto versus pay/benefits of Wal-Mart in Oakland?

Robert

[quote=rlg94086]As I said, if someone is going to make accusations, shouldn’t they check actual data like the pay/benefits of Ikea in East Palo Alto versus pay/benefits of Wal-Mart in Oakland?

Robert
[/quote]

Isn’t East Palo Alto a more upscale town than Oakland? And isn’t Ikea a far more upscale store than Walmart?

I don’t know for sure. Can you compare the two stores at all? Walmart doesn’t even sell furniture to the best of my knowledge, and the two don’t actually compete. You would know if they do so I’ll leave the answer to my questions to you…

[quote=Arba Sicula]Please check the demographics of the Oakland, California area and consider the sort of people who’d be competing for those jobs. Few MBAs, I’d think.

BTW, it’s not the California unemployment rate that is meaningful, but rather the Oakland or Bay area unemployment rate that ought to be examined.
[/quote]

Your insinuation borders on racism, not many MBA’s would apply for a Wal-Mart job anywhere. I’ll wager that the Oakland area has as many MBA’s, on average, as any other ‘working class’ city in America.

[quote=Arba Sicula]Isn’t East Palo Alto a more upscale town than Oakland? And isn’t Ikea a far more upscale store than Walmart?

I don’t know for sure. Can you compare the two stores at all? Walmart doesn’t even sell furniture to the best of my knowledge, and the two don’t actually compete. You would know if they do so I’ll leave the answer to my questions to you…
[/quote]

East Palo Alto demographics are similar to Oakland.

IKEA is a big box store who sells inexpensive (some would say cheap) furniture. The business model is very similar to Wal-Mart. They would compete for the same employee, which is what we are talking about. If a person was starting a new job in the retail sector, this would be one of their choices. Their opening in East Palo Alto was heralded as a great boon to help revitalize a poorer area and bring jobs.

I guess because they are owned by liberal, Scandinavians they get a pass for any smaller furniture stores they put out of business.

[quote=Lance]Your insinuation borders on racism, not many MBA’s would apply for a Wal-Mart job anywhere.
[/quote]

How is having or not having an MBA racist? I happen to have one, so I’m curious how you arrived at that conclusion. I meant that a Walmart job doesn’t require that much by way of education. And how is that racist? No one has accused Walmart of hiring whites over blacks to the best of my knowledge.

I’ll wager that the Oakland area has as many MBA’s, on average, as any other ‘working class’ city in America.

Maybe so. But, the thread isn’t about MBAs.

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