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Author: Subject: Good News
benoitbrokemyneck
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posted on 8-11-2004 at 06:11 AM Edit Post
Good News

LA Council Backs Anti-Wal-Mart Measure

Tue Aug 10, 6:46 PM ET Add U.S. National - Reuters to My Yahoo!


By Gina Keating

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to a proposed ordinance that could hamper plans by Wal-Mart Stores Inc.(NYSE:WMT - news) to build supercenters within city limits.

The council overwhelmingly endorsed a proposal that would require Wal-Mart and other retailers to show that their nonunion discount stores would not hurt jobs, wages or businesses in the surrounding area, as union leaders and competitors claim.


The vote comes after a nearly five-month strike by unionized grocery workers in Southern California who said the looming threat of Wal-Mart's superstores forced down wages and gutted health benefits at supermarkets. Wal-Mart did prevail in its efforts to stop an outright ban on supercenters.


The measure applies to retailers larger than 100,000 square feet that sell general merchandise and groceries, but exempts warehouse clubs such as Costco or Sam's Club.


Final approval is expected by next Wednesday, said a spokesman for Council Member Eric Garcetti, the measure's sponsor.


Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart has prospered by locating its nonunion stores near small towns and suburbs. But plans to expand into urban U.S. markets have met resistance from lawmakers and labor activists who accuse the world's largest retailer of paying poverty-level wages and encouraging its workers to apply for welfare and state health services.


State Controller Steve Westly and other Democrat leaders had urged the Los Angeles council to pass the measure, citing a University of California study that concluded that low-wage Wal-Mart jobs cost the state $86 million a year in social services.


In a letter to the council, Westly said he was concerned about "a race to the bottom" as Wal-Mart jobs displace better paying positions at retailers that are forced to cut wages to compete or are put out of business by the superstores.


Wal-Mart spokeswoman Cynthia Lin called the vote "a huge victory" for consumers and the retailer, which she said had been battling union-backed efforts by to pass an outright ban on supercenters in the city of Los Angeles.


"This ordinance ... in no way restricts the sale of groceries at supercenters," she said. "In our opinion, this ordinance, in reality, is redundant."


If the measure becomes law, Wal-Mart plans to ensure that it "is applied consistently across the board since it applies to all the superstore formats," Lin said.


Lin disputed claims that the superstores would drain the state's stretched finances, saying Wal-Mart annual wages are "almost identical to unionized labor workers" and adding that the retail giant paid $650 million in sales taxes last year.


In April, residents of the blue-collar city of Inglewood rejected a bid by Wal-Mart to locate a sprawling shopping center in the heart of their town without conducting planning studies or public hearings. The Inglewood City Council had opposed the superstore plan on the grounds that it would put local mom-and-pop stores out of business and pay lower wages to its employees.





Yee-ha!

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Slade
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posted on 8-11-2004 at 05:22 PM Edit Post
Also, last week, Wal-Mart employees in Saguenay, Québec successfully unionized, which is another major blow to the retail devil.





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bigfatgoalie
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posted on 8-11-2004 at 05:39 PM Edit Post
Wal-Mart is very worried about the folks in Saguenay being unionized....actually I think more and more they are seeing that people won't put up with a lot of the crap they do. I know that since I quit, 5 other employees have quit as well, and customer complaints have gone up

I know in Ontario of numerous stores that are outside town/city limits by two feet to avoid having to deal with town counclis and city planning commitees, while getting sweet heart deals from townships. And as long as Wal-Mart has the money to build places they will continue to dominate the retail business...people are typically just not willing to spend more for everyday items.






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Krydor
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posted on 8-11-2004 at 05:41 PM Edit Post
Slade

Of course, you're willing to pay higher prices to make up for the increase in wages . I don't shop at Superstore for that very reason, and prefer to shop at Safeway.

When it comes to buying a new car, I hope you buy some some good old Windsor steel, and not a cheap Asian car.






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OO Kyle
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posted on 8-11-2004 at 05:42 PM Edit Post
Well, not that I would EVER miss the opportunity to get in on some good, old-fashioned Corporation bashing, (being, after all, the self-avowed Socialist of the group) but why is this a good thing?

It's not like Walmart is creating an underclass of uneducated, unskilled workers. They're just capitalizing on it. It's not like if Walmart shut down tomorrow, all their employees would run out and become lawyers, doctors, and Captains of Industry, just because they're no longer shackled by the Evil WalGods.

You end up working at Walmart for a reason, and that reason is usually "you didn't think College was for you".

If these folks could get better jobs, they'd HAVE better jobs. It's not like Mom and Pop's corner grocery store was gonna give them Dental and Stock Options, let alone hire 300 of them to run the store 24/7.

I am accutely aware of the plight of the unemployed in this nation, but is the answer REALLY "more unemployment"? Because that's what we're basically saying: "These folks would be better off unemployeed than working at Walmart."

As for the whole Union thing- I'm not really sure that I prefer the Working Stiff slaving away for the Mob as opposed to slaving away from Walmart. I'm sure the Gottis need Ferraris too, but at the end of the day, making sure that Mafia Goons get their Union take probably doesn't do much for the checkout girl at Walmart.





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bigfatgoalie
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posted on 8-11-2004 at 06:14 PM Edit Post
quote:
Originally posted by OO Kyle
You end up working at Walmart for a reason, and that reason is usually "you didn't think College was for you".

If these folks could get better jobs, they'd HAVE better jobs. It's not like Mom and Pop's corner grocery store was gonna give them Dental and Stock Options, let alone hire 300 of them to run the store 24/7.


Hey Kyle...FUCK YOU!!! As a person who worked in Wal-Mart I can tell you that a lot of the people working their are qualified to do other jobs and a vast number of them have college degrees. Yes, a lot of the cashiers are underskilled women, but not all of them would be stuck at a mom and pops grocery store. A lot of the people who work in Wal-Mart just don't want to leave thier small towns, and when the options are either compete with Wal-Mart or work for them, most choose work for them.

I know I ended up working there because the computer shop I was working with to open up another store couldn't convince any bank that we could survive so close to Wal-Mart.

Also, just because you get a degree doesn't mean there's a job waiting for you....and oddly some people have bills to pay. Once again, I know first hand of educated people who started working for Wal-Mart as a temp thing who end up being there years and years because it becomes comforting to be able to pay bills and feed kids. I know people with teaching degrees who work at Wal-Mart because they need to save up money to move so they could get a teaching job...and odds are these people will never work as a teacher.

quote:
Originally posted by OO Kyle
As for the whole Union thing- I'm not really sure that I prefer the Working Stiff slaving away for the Mob as opposed to slaving away from Walmart. I'm sure the Gottis need Ferraris too, but at the end of the day, making sure that Mafia Goons get their Union take probably doesn't do much for the checkout girl at Walmart.


Yes it would...it would mean more hours. The typicalcheckout girl at Wal-Mart only gets 12 hours a week...and the "full-time" girls get 28 hours. And if this girls are caught working anyplace else, they will be let go. Now I don't know about you...but it'd be awfully hard to get by on that few hours if I was a single mom.

Also, while their are labour boards and other places to go to when management isn't following the rules, that doesn't get you fast results. Unions can help with some of these issues...not all, but some.






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masterofpigeons
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posted on 8-11-2004 at 06:23 PM Edit Post
I'm in university and I'm presently working at Wal-Mart (and have for the past few years). I don't like the fact that I wear the crest of an evil multinational blah blah blah. I'm fully aware of this.

More interestingly, I work at the Wal-Mart in Brossard, Quebec, which stands to be the next unionized Wal-Mart. My stance? Personally, I couldn't care less. Will my salary be affected? It might... but probably not much. Will my benefits be affected? They might... but probably not much. Will the store close down? It might... but I could find something else.

There are people who've been spending years at Wal-Mart and will probably spend many more there, and they stand to gain from a union - so more power to them. But does a union really help correct the problems that Wal-Mart poses? I don't think so. You'll still see more jobs disappearing per Wal-Mart that opens, and we'll still see the exploitation of the third world as a result of it. Working at Wal-Mart, I spend a couple of dollars per paycheck investing in the company, making me a shareholder. Every year, the company has its shareholder vote on a few proposals. If a shareholder doesn't vote, then the board of directors makes a vote for that shareholder. What kinds of things are voted on? This is taken from my brochure for last year's vote...

1: a shareholder proposal for an independant chairman to reduce the risk of any kind of corporate scandal, the likes of which affected Enron and WorldCom.

2: a shareholder proposal to create a sustainability report to define the company's view of sustainability, its current policies related to social, economic and environmental sustainability and a summary of its long-term plans in these areas.

3: Equity compensation. White males receive an unusually large part of Wal-Mart's stock options and restricted stock, as well as having more managerial positions in the company. This proposal wanted to seek to make this situation more equitable between genders and races.

4: Genetically Engineered Food Products report. This proposal asked that Wal-Mart create a report reviewing the company policy for food products manufactured or sold under the company's brand names and labels containing genetically engineered ingredients, and report these back to the shareholders within six months. The report would also have to outline a plan for getting non-genetically engineered ingredients if need be.

5: equal employment opportunity report. Because only 3% of executive-level positions at Wal-Mart are filled by women and minorities. The proposal for this report aims at creating plans to correct this situation and 'even out the playing field'.

6: shareholder approval of participation in the officer deferred compensation plan. Quote from the supporting statement: "We believe that the Deferred Compensation Plan provides senior executives with preferential retirement benefits that are not offered to most other employees of the Company." The proposal is for shareholders to vote on eligibility for this plan.

Those were this year's six shareholder proposals. The company voted "AGAINST" on every proposal if the shareholder didn't send in his vote by mail. I don't know the results of each vote, but I'd be surprised if very many of them went through. The company's general stance is "We'll do all this without actually being regulated. Trust us."

I'd like to see corporations more heavily regulated - to see them become more accountable. But even then, with huge profits like Wal-Mart makes, what kind of regulation would actually make a company like this become accountable?

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OO Kyle
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posted on 8-11-2004 at 06:44 PM Edit Post
BFG, don't get all pissy with ME just because YOU worked at Walmart.

If there are people working at Walmart that are "qualified" to work other places, then they shouldn't be bitching about working at Walmart. Either they're making more money at Walmart than they would be at all these "other jobs", or they can't find work locally in those "other jobs". Either way, it looks to me like Walmart is doing them a favor by providing a job that they obviously prefer, for whatever reason, to all the other shit they COULD be doing, but aren't.

EDITED to put in more insults and personal attacks, because I didn't feel I'd included enough the first time.


[Edited on 8-11-2004 by OO Kyle]





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bigfatgoalie
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posted on 8-11-2004 at 07:20 PM Edit Post
Kyle...I'm not pissy at you because I worked at Wal-Mart...I'm being royally annoyed by your fucking ignorant attitude to those who do work there.

People have bills to pay. People have kids to feed and who need clothes on their backs. Some people will just look for a hand out...other people are willing to work for what they want. Even if it means working in a place for crap pay and where you are treated like shit.

And as I said before, some people just can't move at the drop of the hat to take a good paying job they are qualified for. If you have ever experienced the cost of moving you should no that it can be very expensive. Maybe you've never been trapped in a job because of your financial situation, I don't know. But I know that there are people at Wal-Mart who are.

Look, having a job is nice. I have always worked hard at the jobs I have had to give the company paying me all I can offer...but just because somebody is paying me does not mean I or anybody else has to accept being treated like crap. Yes, if your job bothers you so much you should quit (which is why I did)...but not everybody can afford to quit their jobs.






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oomikes woman
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posted on 8-13-2004 at 10:45 AM Edit Post
I have to wonder exactly what the people working at walmart will get out of it becoming unionized. Seems that the era of sweat shops is over and from my personal experience the only thing the union ever did for me when I worked at the local grocery is take money out of my check. I can't say that I know much about whether Walmart is the devil everyone says it is but then I have to agree with Kyle and say that if people are unhappy with their jobs there start looking for something else. I don't agree with Walmart's methods but it seems to me they are doing what every other capitalist company is doing, looking for ways to make more money. Long as that is their goal I am sure that the interests of those working mothers Goalie was talking about is not going to be their first priority. Not that it really matters to us...Mike hates Walmart and would rather fork over the extra money and shop where the employees know what they stock and where it might be.





OOMike is exhausted...it's my turn now!

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FusionFistCutter
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posted on 8-13-2004 at 09:11 PM Edit Post
Do I think WalMart's practices are bad? Yes. Am I not going to go to WalMart because of it? No.

Where else can you go to get a TOSlink optical audio cable, a couple DVDs, AND groceries at 1 in the morning? Nowhere.





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