Friday, December 12, 2008

Wal Mart: Screwing People Around The World

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post at the flagship for liberal blogs, regarding the BS that WPRI was trying to spread. As can often happen, the comment thread took on a life of it's own, and I and commenter Dan, had a minor exchange about whether or not Wal Mart was a good thing.

I learned today that it is not only Americans that Wal Mart likes to give the shaft to. They like exploiting Canadians as well. From Open Left:
Yup, Saskatchewan, in better times when it had an NDP government, had its own EFCA, which allowed a Wal-Mart in a conservative part of a fairly conservative province to unionize. Now that it has a conservative government, bye bye card-check.

Anyway, the company's position seems to be "Since we fought to delay this so long that many of the original employees have moved on, we demand a new election under the new us-favouring rules." Nice. I wonder how many of those departing employees left voluntarily?

The town's mayor is worried Wal-Mart will close the store, which is a real risk, but unlike many other places, there doesn't seem to be a lot of other places they could put a Wal-Mart nearby. If they close, they're likely abandoning this region of the province (and of course other retailers could move in).

A sad follow up on the 8 lube-shop workers who unionized at a store in Qu├ębec, Wal-Mart closed the garage in that store, saying it was losing money. They apparently did keep the workers at least, though.

As for the Union (UFCW) they have pending cases with the Sask Labour Board to unionize two other stores in the Province. Strength in numbers. Wal-Mart can't close every store down.

In said comment thread, Dan argued that Wal Mart is really a liberal group, and offers many benefits tot he community. Well, they don't offer much to their employees.

As for the community, not so much there either. From the mulleted John Michlig:

As I noted in the BULLSEYE comment section: Color me unimpressed. $8,000? Not great, I'm afraid. Wal-Mart can find 8k under their fingernails at the end of a day. You do better if you're a politician with a blog: Wal-Mart gave Mary Lazich $1,000, and got for their money, among other favors, an ostensibly Lazich-authored blog entitled "Wal-Mart to the Rescue"(!)

Bottom line: 8k is certainly not compensation for the corporate socialism Wal-Mart extracts from the local and federal government.

And, to my friend Bryan Maersch (now blogging here) who commented: ""Right or Wrong, Walmart is a big part of our economy," I have to say just this:

Right or wrong? I don't care how "big" you are; I believe we should expect RIGHT in all cases.

Let's contrast Wal-Mart's, er, thriftyness with the generosity of Dave Hahn of the Greenfield Outback Steak House. He was honored last night by the Greenfield Chamber of Commerce as Business of the Year.

This is what Mr. Hahn does: Each year, he chooses ten charities and community groups to host a fundraiser. The fundraiser costs are set by the charity or organization, and what they collect they get to keep, free and clear. This year's beneficiaries were Greenfield Friends of Music, Greenfield Education Association, Wisconsin String Teachers, Downs Syndrome Association, National Campaign for Muscular Dystrophy/Friedrich Ataxia, and local churches.

Outback Steak House is a chain, but Dave Hahn is a local franchisee who recognizes his community's needs and takes positive, ongoing, focused action. His kind of giving takes an appreciable bite from his personal bottom line, but creates the kind of goodwill that gets people like me (and everyone I talk to for the next month or so) over to his restaurant for a dinner or two, or three.

See, there are good business people in the world. Wallyworld is just not one of them.


  1. I have to lodge a formal complaint.

    You know it; I know it; the independently appointed SuperCuts panel knew it when they ruled on this issue in 1996:

    I was clearly sporting, at best, a SEMI-MULLET in the early '90s, and well within federal and state guidelines for faux-bohemian adornment. While my hair was clearly "party in back," it did not conform to "business up front" in any appreciable manner.

    I'll thank you not to manufacture an issue where none exists.

  2. Again, capper, you have no clue as to what you speak.
    As for generosity, Wal-Mart gives out thousands of dollars in charity each year from each store. Each store is required to have a donation/charity fund. Last year our store gave out about $35,000. they let numerous organizations solicit money or have car washes and cookouts on Wal Mart property. On more than 1 occassion, I have seen a person caught for shoplifting, only to have the manager buy the person the item, as long as it was a legitimate expense such as baby formula, diapers, food and things like that. Big screen TV's don't count,
    Yes, Wal Mart is severely anti-union. So what? What good will a union do? We already have health and dental insurance, retirement plan, wages that are on par with the local area, work benefits in some cases, are better than union shops and profit sharing. So what will a union to improve that?
    What a union will do, and it cannot be argued, that it will raise prices for customers and take money from the employees with no improvement in working conditions.

  3. John,

    I calls them as I sees them.


    All those benefits you enjoy are due to unions, even if you work in a non-union shop. They have to keep their benefits somewhat comparable, or they won't have anyone that would work for them.

    And I've never heard of a union shop locking their employees in the store so that they can burn to death. I've also never heard of a union shop having to get sued to pay things like overtime, which is a federal law.

    As for your claims of charity, that would be like you or I donating a quarter to Salvation Army and expecting a ticker tape parade. That is just a pittance for them.

  4. Sigh, capper. How many empoyees burned to death, please provide the link.
    As for overtime, I get paid overtime as a part time employee employee when I work over 8 hrs a day.
    No, the union did not provide any benefits to us. In fact, the Wal Mart health insurance is sometimes better than my Teacher's Health insurance. Go figure.
    Finally, capper, jealousy is very bad. And using the talking points of the left instead of using of using independent thought is also wrong. Stop drinking the Kool Aid, capper, and use some independent thought. You are better than that.

  5. Again, Dan, I am not jealous. If I am supposed to believe you, as a Wally World employee, can I also believe other Wally World employees? Like these people.

    I don't know of anyone that burned yet, but there are plenty of stories about employees locked in, including having the fire escapes locked, during overnight hours. You can Google that yourself, there are too many to link to.

    You should check out Costco though. They are the same type of big box store, but they are a much better member of the community.

  6. I read the piece from the AFL-CIO. I'm sure they are not biased, are they?
    When you have over a million employees, you are not going to please anyone. And there have been mistakes made, no doubt about that.
    That being said, Wal Mart is not perfect. I've been hurt as has others, but I have been well respected by management. If you do your job, you'll do fine there. Wal Mart hires a lot of people who normally would not be able to find a job. People with criminal convictions, on welfare, no high school diploma and poor work records. It is pretty much the last chance these people have to work.
    I've been to Costco, thank you, but I don't like warehouse stores.

  7. BTW, if a Wal Mart is not open 24 hours, of course they lock their doors, just like any other business. If the employees don't know where the fire exits are, then have them talk to the local shoplifters. They seem to know where our fire doors are when they run after stealing the merchandise.

  8. Um, Dan, they knew where the fire exits were, but they were locked, hence the complaints and lawsuits.

    And just because someone has a record, is on welfare, or whatever, that is no excuse to exploit them. In fact, as I think about it, that lowers Wally World even more in my opinion.

  9. Pray tell, capper, how are we exploited?

  10. Thanks Sheralle/Deborah,

    But next time, leave the spam at home, OK? :)