February 24, 2008

What Wal-mart Really Cost's Us!!!
(why I no longer shop there)
Who pays for Wal-Mart workers’ healthcare?
Wal-Mart, right? No, we all do!!!

Despite Wal-Mart’s mammoth profits, the company actually burdens us—taxpayers—with its workers’ health care costs. In a disturbing nationwide trend, more state studies are revealing that Wal-Mart employees are the top recipients of taxpayer-paid health care. The scope of this corporate failure is massive: Wal- Mart is the largest private employer in the United States, with over 1.2 million employees, yet they fail to provide health insurance to over half their employees.

Just 47 percent of Wal-Mart employees are covered by the Wal- Mart health plan; while nationally 68 percent of workers in large firms receive their health benefits from their employer. Many of Wal-Mart’s uncovered employees are forced to rely on public health assistance, adding to the cost of the bloated Wal-Mart tax. — Kaiser Family Foundation; http://www.walmartfacts.com/

As momentum grows, lawmakers in 16 states have revealed troubling statistics. Wal-Mart employees top Medicaid and CHIP rolls; many are forced to rely on public assistance for their health coverage. — Wal-Mart Watch; walmartwatch.com/healthcare

Wal-Mart’s health plan has deductibles as high as $1,000 in addition to many hidden fees. For example: a $100 deductible for ER visits, a $100 deductible for ambulance services and a $25 weekly "spousal" surcharge for health coverage.
— Phil. Inquirer, 5/16/05; Wal-Mart 2005 Associate Guide

Full-time Wal-Mart employees must wait six months to be eligible for their health care plan, while part-time employees must wait two years to become eligible.
— Phil. Inquirer, 5/16/05; Wal-Mart 2005 Associate Guide

Wal-Mart is the subject of the largest class action lawsuit in history by current and former female employees who were paid and promoted at significantly lower rates than their male co-workers.

In the largest class-action lawsuit in history, 1.6 millioncurrent and former female employees are suing Wal-Mart for gender discrimination. — New York Times, 6/23/04

Women comprise 92% of Wal-Mart’s cashiers, but only 14% of Wal-Mart’s store managers.
— Dukes v. Wal-Mart, walmartclass.com

"Overall, women earned about $5,200 less than men, on average, in 2001. Within the hourly workforce, women earned about $1,100 less than men, and about $14,500 less among management employees, in 2001."
— Dukes v. Wal-Mart, walmartclass.com

Wal-Mart was fined $188,000 by the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission for refusing to reinstate a woman after she completed her maternity leave.
— Sacramento Bee, 6/14/05

Wal-Mart’s health insurance does not cover birth control or Plan B. Pregnant women are allowed only one ultrasound, and newborns may be subject to the annual deductible for their care. — Wal-Mart 2005 Associate Guide, pages 50-64

If Wal-Mart were an independent nation, it would be China’s eighth-largest trading partner. Is Wal-Mart trading away America's future to fatten its corporate bottom line

70% of merchandise in Wal-Mart contains components made in China. — NPR, 2/12/05
Wal-Mart’s extreme pricing pressure on suppliers forces those companies to relocate factories and jobs overseas.
— Los Angeles Times, 11/23/03; FastCompany, 12/03

More than one million jobs have been outsourced to China since the early 1990’s, leaving families and communities devastated.
— PBS Frontline, 2004

If Wal-Mart were an independent nation, it would be China’s eighth-largest trading partner. — New York Times, 4/17/04

Wal-Mart estimates it imports $15 billion of Chinese goods every year and concedes that the figure could be higher – someestimates range as high as $20 or $30 billion.
— PBS Frontline, 2004

Snapshot: LakewoodEngineering
In order to supply Wal-Mart, this fan manufacturer had to open a factory Shenzhen, China where workers make 25¢ an hour, compared with $13 an hour in Chicago. Carl Kraus, the owner of the company said about opening the factory, "My father was dead set against it. I have the same respect for American workers, but I’m going to do what I have to do to survive."
— Los Angeles Times. 11/23/03
For every new Supercenter that Wal-Mart opens, two local supermarkets will close. How will this affect your town? Big box stores like Wal-Mart spend nearly four times less within local and state economies as local businesses do.

Local businesses are known for their better service and higher quality merchandise, but too often cannot compete against Wal-Mart’s harmful low-pricing scheme.
Putting localstores outof business

Industry analyst, Retail Forward, predicted that for every new Supercenter that Wal-Mart opens, two local supermarkets will close.
—Business Week, "Is Wal-Mart Too Powerful?," 10/06/03

Wal-Mart has received more than $1 billion in taxpayer-funded subsidies from state and local communities.
— Good Jobs First, "Shopping for Subsidies," May ‘04

One study found that local businesses spend 53% of their revenues within the local and state economies; whereas big box stores, like Wal-Mart, spend just 14% within the local economy. — Inst. for Local Self-Reliance, 9/03
Source: New Rules Project, www.newrules.org/retail

A study of the impact of Wal-Mart’s growth found that over ten years 7,326 Iowa businesses closed, including: 555 grocery stores, 298 hardware stores, 293 building suppliers, 161 variety shops, 158 women’s stores, and 116 pharmacies.
— Dr. Kenneth Stone, Iowa State University, "Competing with Discount Mass Merchandisers," 1995

A study of Wal-Mart’s expansion in Iowa found that 84 percent of all sales at the new Wal-Mart stores came at the expense of existing businesses within the same county.
— National Trust For Historic Preservation,
The average pay for a Wal-Mart sales associate is $1,000 below the poverty line for a family of three. Business as usual? Not necessarily. Retail rival Costco pays its workers 65% more on average than Wal-Mart, yet earns more profits per employee.

Rolling Back Workers’ Rights
Wal-Mart mobilizes its incredible power to block union organizing efforts at all costs, sometimes in blatant violation of federal labor law.

In California, Wal-Mart is facing a lawsuit filed on behalf of 115,919 current and former employees who were systematically and illegally denied meal breaks while working for the company.
— Bloomberg News, 9/19/05; Associated Press, 9/19/05

In 2000, Wal-Mart closed its company-wide meat-cutting division after ten butchers in Texas voted to unionize their shop. Wal-Mart closed a profitable Canadian store in 2004 after employees chose union representation. — Associated Press, 3/3/00; 2/09/05

Wal-Mart [reportedly] paid $50 million to settle a lawsuit that involved 69,000 workers in Colorado who had allegedly been forced to work off the clock. In recent years, Wal-Mart has faced legal actions in over thirty states for overtime violations.
— New York Times, 11/19/04

Wal-Mart’s CEO Lee Scott took home $17.5 million in 2004, which equals $8,434 an hour. An average Wal-Mart associate earns just $9.68 an hour. — Institute for Policy Studies
The average pay for a Wal-Mart sales associate is $14,000 a year $1,000 below the poverty line for a family of three.
— New York Review of Books, 12/16/04

On average, Costco pays its workers 65% more than Wal-Mart, yet earns more profits per employee.
— New York Times, 5/3/05; Business Week, 4/12/04
Two recent lawsuits by minority employees and customers have brought to light a disturbing pattern of racial discrimination by Wal-Mart.

Discrimination against African-American
Wal-Mart is facing allegations of discrimination in its hiring of truck drivers. Nationally, 15% of truck drivers are African-American, yet at Wal-Mart African-Americans comprise only 2-3% of its fleet, which employs 7,800 truck drivers.
— New York Times, 7/14/05, 2005 Wal-Mart Annual Report

Minority customers have sued Wal-Mart Stores saying they were racially profiled while shopping at its stores. The lawsuit says at least 9 customers were followed, searched, humiliated, and in some cases, detained by employees. — Boston Globe, 7/13/05

Discrimination against Women
In the largest class-action lawsuit in history, 1.6 million current and former female employees are suing Wal-Mart for gender discrimination. — New York Times, 6/23/04
Women comprise 92% of Wal-Mart’s cashiers, but only 14% of Wal-Mart’s store managers. — Impact Fund

Overall, women earned about $5,200 less than men, on the average, in 2001. Within the hourly workforce, women earned about $1,100 less than men, and about $14,500 less among management employees, in 2001. — Impact Fund

Discrimination against people with Disabilities
In 2001, Wal-Mart agreed to pay $6.8 million to settle 13 lawsuits in 11 states that were filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging widespread discrimination against people with disabilities. — Los Angeles Times, 12/18/01

In 2005, after Wal-Mart settled yet another discrimination case, the EEOC announced it was opening a new investigation into the company to see if it has violated the terms of the 2001 settlement. "Over the years, we’ve had complaints [about Wal-Mart], but some of the stuff we’re now seeing bears looking into," EEOC attorney Mary J. O’Neill said. — Washington Post, 7/29/05
Wal-Mart has a long history of breaking environmental laws that its high-priced green-washing campaign can't hide. Its record of environmental abuse was described by one top law enforcement official as "widespread, systematic, repeated" and has incurred millions in fines from state and federal agencies.

Wal-Mart has invested heavily in a campaign to sanitize its environmental record. "We are excited that we can lead the way in promoting the use of sustainable building and business practices," Wal-Mart Stores CEO Mike Duke boasted at the opening of a "green store" in McKinney, TX. — Press Release, 7/20/05

"One store out of thousands does not make for an environmental champion…There’s lots more that can be done, especially from a corporation that can leave such a huge footprint on the environment." — Eric Olsen, Sierra Club, Women’s Wear Daily, 7/20/05

In 1993 Wal-Mart unveiled its similar "Eco-Mart" in Lawrence, KS. The store is now being converted to a Supercenter, more than doubling its original footprint. Shockingly, there is no mention of environmental friendliness in the expansion. — Lawrence Journal World, 4/30/93; Journal-World, 5/12/04, 5/5/05, 7/12/05

Wal-Mart also has temporarily halted its recycling program at the Lawrence store. Wal-Mart green team coordinator said, "There’s just not any money in recycling." — Journal-World, 7/12/05

Wal-Mart has a long history of violating environmental laws. In August 2005, Wal-Mart agreed to pay $1.5 million in penalties in Connecticut for storm water violations. In 2004, Wal-Mart was hit with a $3.1 million penalty for Clean Water Act violations. That same year, Wal-Mart paid $400,000 to settle violations of the Clean Air Act. — Forbes, 8/15/05; NY Times, 5/13/04; AP 1/22/04

Wal-Mart’s constant expansion and conversion of discount stores to Supercenters leaves vacant buildings behind–in 2004 an estimated 13 million square feet. Wal-Mart admitted the company prefers to let the buildings sit empty. "There are times when it’s in our interest to get the property moving faster, but we’re certainly not going to give a competitor an advantage," Wal-Mart spokesman, Bob McAdam said. — Wall Street Journal, 9/15/04
Think Wal-Marts are everywhere you turn today? Just wait five years. Wal-Mart plans to nearly double its retail outlets in the U.S. by 2010 and has already demonstrated its willingness to play hardball with anyone who stands in its way.

2010: Double trouble in nextfive years
As the world’s largest corporation, Wal-Mart – with billions in its deep pockets and an insatiable hunger for growth – behaves shamelessly in the way it forces itself on American communities. Its aggressive bullying of American communities occurs because Wal-Mart’s growth is central to its business model; it has to grow to sustain its profits, $10 billion in 2004 alone.

As of 2005, Wal-Mart had 1,713 Supercenter stores, and is projected to have 3,131 in operation by 2010. 950 new Supercenters have already been approved through the company’s internal planning process. — Women’s Wear Daily, 6/20/05

"If you have one takeaway from this meeting I hope it is our growth has just begun," Wal-Mart CFO Tom Schoewe at the 2005 annual shareholders meeting.
— DSN Retailing Today, 6/13/05

Coming soon: Travel, Publishing, Banking
Wal-Mart is aggressively expanding beyond traditional retail; here are some of the business services that Wal-Mart is now providing or considering: air travel, banking, rental cars and publishing.
— Women’s Wear Daily, 6/20/05

Wal-Mart applied to federal regulators to exploit a loophole in current banking law that would allow the giant retailer to open its own bank. Experts oppose Wal-Mart’s application because it could lead to "conflicts of interest between the financial and commercial arms of Wal-Mart’s operations." One concern is that the company could make loans to its low-income shoppers to spend in their stores, even if there were doubts about customers’ abilities to repay. — American Banker, 8/30/05