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08/21/2006 Entry: "Barbara E on Walmart"

"Poor Wal-Mart, it just can’t seem to catch a break anymore. There they are, the monks of Bentonville-- who, according to company legend, share hotel rooms on business trips rather than drive up the price of pantyhose—toiling away to make the good life affordable to the impecunious masses. And what do they get? Nothing but grief. The Democrats are running against Wal-Mart in the fall Congressional elections, and not just the wild-eyed progressive ones. Centrist Hillary Clinton returned a $5000 donation from the company, citing its inadequate health benefits, and Joe Biden just attacked it because he doesn’t see “any indication that they care about the fate of middle-class people.”

Then Andrew Young, the former civil rights leader-turned-Wal-Mart-flack, pulled a Mel Gibson, lashing out at the company’s small business, ethnic, competitors: “I think they've ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it's Arabs, very few black people own these stores." Wal-Mart quickly distanced itself from the remark, as did Young himself. He stepped down from his Wal-Mart job, though he has not yet followed Mel’s example by seeking counseling from leading Korean fruit vendors.

The Young meltdown aside, Wal-Mart blames its troubles on the unions it has worked so hard to bar from its stores. They’re so touchy, those unions! They take offense just because the Wal-Mart orientation for new hires includes a 12 minute video on the evils of unions, portraying them as little better than extortionists. They get all bent out of shape every time a union sympathizer is fired by Wal-Mart on some trumped up charge like using profanity or being discourteous to customers. They jump up and down when Wal-Mart is caught making its associates work overtime for no pay, or locking them into the stores at night."
Wal-Mart Licks Its Wounds, Barbara Ehrenreich, August 21, 2006

Posted by GM

 

 

 

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