Saturday, June 17, 2006

Finally got a chance to see Wal Mart: The High Cost of Low Price.

Now, I understand going in that the filmmakers have a bias (of course) and as someone that has done their own research on Wal Mart, I understand that.
However, because of my research on the company extensively I can say without a doubt that I consider this to be quite an evil corporation.

Yes, I am pro-labor, having spent 16 years of my life as a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union prior to moving into high tech.

I ask that you see this movie for yourself, but I have my own opinions to share.

Wal Mart is bad for our communities and for US jobs in general because of their business practices, and through their size, they have a negative impact on wages, working conditions and benefits for ALL working Americans.
To me, our communities are nothing if not the sum of the people that live there.
Those companies that provide the best wages, working conditions and benefits for workers help to raise the standard of living for everyone that lives there.
And not the least of the problems with Wal Mart is the loss of that sometimes intangible sense of community.

Life is not about just you and your ability to buy a cheap, Chinese made shirt.
You can trace a direct line back to this company for manufacturing jobs fleeing this country for places like China and Central America.
And rather than use their power to help and set the BEST standard for these factories, they do two horrible things at once: They make for fewer jobs in the US and maintain bad wages and working conditions in the countries that supply them with their products.
In 2005, Wal Mart imported 18 billion dollars in Chinese made goods into our country.
All so the Walton family could create a combined wealth of 100 billion dollars.

And make no mistake, this is not about the "free market" or capitalism at its best and working for everyone.
This company has received staggering amounts of subsidies from cities and counties all over the country.
It's not just plain old competition when a 300,000 square foot store comes into a town and undercuts all the prices AND wages. It's capitalism at the point of a gun. Straight from their headquarters in Arkansas.
Which is also where management learns how to shave wages and hours off the bottom line.

Just say no to them. It's what's best for your own community.

Some quick facts from the film as it relates to the most current data while it was being made:

Federal Poverty Level Family of Four - $17,650
Average Wal-Mart Hourly Sales Employee Wages - $13,861


Currently in the U.S. there are 26,699,678 SQUARE FEET of empty WAL-MARTS (March 2005)

2004: WAL-MART fined $3.1 MILLION by EPA, the largest ever for a retailer, for Clean Water Act violations in TEXAS, COLORADO, CALIFORNIA, DELAWARE, MICHIGAN, SOUTH DAKOTA, NEW JERSEY, TENNESSEE and UTAH

Cost for WAL-MART Factory Worker to Assemble: $0.18
Retail cost at Wal-Mart: $14.96

The WALTON FAMILY Has Given LESS THAN 1% of Their Wealth to Charity
Bill Gates has given 58%

A WAL-MART Worker may donate money from their paycheck to the CRITICAL NEED FUND, a program to aid other employees in times of crisis, like a fire or tornado.
In 2004, WAL-MART Employees gave OVER $5 MILLION to help fellow workers
The Walton Family gave $6,000

The WALTON FAMILY received a federal tax cut of: $91,500.00 per HOUR in the 2004 tax year

One thing not on that page that was presented in the movie is that it is estimated that the cost to tax payers for taking care of Wal Mart workers that do not have insurance, cannot afford insurance and otherwise have to get government aid is over 1.5 billion dollars a year.


dusty said...

Your preaching to the choir when it comes to my feelings about Wally's World. Your facts will hopefully have an impact on people that bitch about but still shop at WalMarts. It is a valuable movie I beleive and one that all WalMart consumers should be made to watch prior to walking in the door and saving a couple pennies on various goods they purchase there.

Mike V. said...

I can only hope that is the case..

El Mas Chingón said...

I make a point not to shop at Wally World. I live in East County and there's FIVE of them within five miles of where I live

Carina said...

Hate hate hate Walmart.
I live in GM-land (SE Michigan.) All the GM workers who get so bitter about people buying imports....?
Yup, the local Walmarts are full of them, shopping away.

Mike V. said...

Yea, let me tell you something, the rethugs and the happy smiley wal mart face have done a number on the working class, man.
they have somehow convinced hordes of blue collar americans that unions are bad (even though their entire family for a couple generations is middle class because of them) and mexicans are evil, etc.
meanwhile, Wal Mart sources everything they sell from fucking slave labor.
and companies basically roll out the red carpet for people crossing the border looking for work, no matter the wage, yet the workers here at mad at the MEXICANS!! why is that??

complete fucking insanity.

Tom Harper said...

Interesting facts. I knew Wal-Mart sucked (not much disagreement there) but I didn't know about the tiny amount the Walton family gives to charity or to needy workers. Or their huge tax cut, but that figures.

There was one town that tried to keep out a Wal-Mart Supercenter by passing an ordinance prohibiting stores larger than a certain size. So Wal-Mart got around this by building two "regular" size Wal-Marts side by side on the same property. How slippery can somebody get?

SheaNC said...

AAAUUUGGHHH! They're evil! Evil I say!

Sar said...

So tell us how you really feel, Mike. :P

As always, admirable job compiling stats to back up your contention - one I happen to agree with.

trzlyy - you're tre lazy (yes I am!)

Karen said...

what carina said coulda been written by me!

Mike V. said...

oh, really??

then how do I know it's NOT you? :P

The Phoenix said...

I just did a post about Wal-Mart too today! Karen (Namaste) directed me over here to your post. Extremely insightful!

Wal-Mart also crushes local grocery and retail shops. Family owned businesses in small towns are getting swept away by big-box, dirt cheap prices.

Many of Wal-Marts larger suppliers feel like they are held hostage, like having to embed spychips into their products packaging, but they have no choice.

It's corporate greed at the highest level.

Karen said...

i wish i was carina, she's prettier than i am. our names sound alike...hmmmmmmmmmmm! :)

i see phoenix found his way over here. you guys are on the same wave length.

Maritza said...

Yes, Wal Mart is evil but many of the folks shopping there would rather save a few much needed dollars in the short run. The average Wal Mart shopper is probably not aware of Wal Mart's business practices and most likely, don't care because of general apathy or don't care because they need to save money on basics NOW not later. What does the success of Wal-Mart say about the capitalist free market? Does the free market become not so free when there is no other competition to Wal Mart? Interesting. I hope the movie is factual, I would hate for it to be like some of Micheal Moore's movies. While I agree with him on 99% of his issues, I cringe when I would see an exploitive tactic or fuzzy truth in his documentaries.

Good post.

Mike V. said...

Karen, everyone is beautiful in the eyes of the lord.. :)

and phoenix, wal mart goes deeper than greed, to me.

the more you research them, it goes all the way to evil..

and maritza, I'm more inclined to believe (unfortunately) that people have a LOT of general apathy..

imagine if you will, that wal mart starts to become the juggernaut that they are, and rather than pander the absolute lowest common denominator, they go for the high road.
they say: "we're going to source our goods from American companies and companies abroad that always treat their employees well"

what a better world this would be.

Ricardo said...

This is my big gripe about "all mart" as well. They do more harm than good if you look at them with a critical eye. I just finished writing about the minimum wage laws. You can bet Wal-Mart has a lobby in Washington begging for the minimum to stay at 5 bucks an hour. They could do good, but that would eat into their bonuses and profit margins.

Carina said...

Hey I have a doppelganger!
Karen's got a pink Caddy though. And she's blonde. I'm jealous. :p
It's not just people on limited incomes shopping at Wallyworld. One just opened in a very upscale community here (Grand Blanc MI.) There was much protest about how it would not fit in with Grand Blanc's hoity-toity "vision." Oh puh-leeze. Well, it's open now and the place is PACKED every time I drive by.

Karen said...

"Karen's got a pink Caddy though"...

hee, hee... only on the internets! *grin*

yep! know 'bout Grand Blanc, verrrrrrrry close to me, hypocrites every last one of 'em!

Anonymous said...

walmart is filling a need in the retail market. Unions have oushed the average price of goods up high enough to allow Walmarts to exist. Before you blame Walmart look at your selfs

Mike V. said...

I'm not sure what comination of English and another language that's supposed to be.
You also seem to have some sort of reading comprehension problem.
When you are ready to debate based on what I wrote, let me know.

Diane said...

The best stock trade I ever made was when I sold my Walmart stock and bought Wild Oats stock instead . . .