| What's Wrong With Wal-Mart? | Opposition & Campaigns | Company Profile |
Wal-Mart is now the world’s biggest corporation, having passed ExxonMobil
for the top slot. It hauls off a stunning $220 billion a year from We the
People (more in revenues than the entire GDP of Israel and Ireland combined).
Wal-Mart cultivates an aw-shucks, we’re-just-folks-from-Arkansas image of neighborly small-town shopkeepers trying to sell stuff cheaply to you and yours. Behind its soft homespun ads, however, is what one union leader calls "this devouring beast" of a corporation that ruthlessly stomps on workers, neighborhoods, competitors, and suppliers.
Despite its claim that it slashes profits to the bone in order to deliver "Always Low Prices," Wal-Mart banks about $7 billion a year in profits, ranking it among the most profitable entities on the planet.The above information (and that found below) was extracted from the Comprehensive anti-Wal-Mart Info Digest. Read the full report here
Wal-Mart is part of the retail industry.
It is not only the specific practices of individual companies that cause problems. The attitudes created by the currrent system of exploitation gives power and profits to the few, at the expense of people, animals and the environment. It is important to expose the unethical practices of specific companies as their behaviour is often indicative of the entire system.
Wal-Mart stocks its shelves with garments made in Burma. Brutal repression, widespread human rights violations and a government tied to drug thugs has brought international condemnation of the country's dictatorial regime. But the record of the Burmese military dictators was not enough, apparently, to keep Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, from stocking its shelves with garments made in Burma.
Since December 1999, Wal-Mart Canada has imported almost 70 tons of garments from Burma. Despite Wal-Mart claims that it broke its Burma connection in January of this year, records show continued imports from Burma to Wal-Mart as recently as May.
Burma's drug thugs and military dictators are tied together in an economic and political alliance of repression and exploitation. The International Labor Organization (ILO) has condemned Burma for "widespread and systematic" violations of the prohibition on the use of forced labor. Burma has been censured for allowing the modern-day practice of slavery. Drug money and revenue from trade relations with few multinational corporations has kept the regime firmly in place, and riding on the backs of an increasingly impoverished population.
Wal-Mart is rabidly anti-union, it pays very low wages, its health-care benefits are only available after 2 years employment, and then only affordable to 36% of employees, and it is an an unrepentant and recidivist violator of employee rights, drawing repeated convictions, fines, and the ire of judges from coast to coast.
And then there's China. For years, Wal-Mart saturated the airwaves with a "We Buy American" advertising campaign, but it was nothing more than a red-white-and-blue sham. All along, the vast majority of the products it sold were from cheap-labor hell-holes, especially China. As Charlie Kernaghan of the National Labor Committee reports, "In country after country, factories that produce for Wal-Mart are the worst," adding that the bottom-feeding labor policy of this one corporation "is actually lowering standards in China, slashing wages and benefits, imposing long mandatory-overtime shifts, while tolerating the arbitrary firing of workers who even dare to discuss factory conditions."
Wal-Mart is frequently accused of promoting gun-ownership. As the USA's biggest retailer, Wal-Mart is also its biggest gun-seller. Campaigners for tighter gun-control laws accuse Wal-Mart of marketing firearms irresponsibly and being too lax in selling weapons to teenagers. When rock star Sheryl Crow alluded to this on a recent record, Wal-Mart magnanimously banned it from their 2500 stores.
[From Corporate Watch - www.corporatewatch.org.uk]
Opposition and Campaigns
Exploitation and profiteering do not need to exist. A better way of running our lives can be created based on the sharing of resources and on respect for each other and for nature. Increasingly people are questioning and challenging those with power and are seeking alternatives. Let's hope it's possible to make a difference.
Products and brandnames:
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Home Office
702 S.W. 8th Street
Bentonville, AR 72716
Web site(s): http://www.walmart.com/