I've disliked wal-mart for a while now and have made a point not to shop there, whenever possible, for about the past year. I knew that it it was horrible, but I didn't know ALL of the terrible things it does. I just knew that it pays its associates crap, doesn't make it a practice to promote women, and is outsourcing a lot of the jobs. These were good enough reasons for me to believe that it was the devil and that I should no longer make purchases there and support it.
Friday night a group of us had a screening for Walmart: The High Cost of Low Prices at a friend's house. It is made by moveon.org, I believe, and is a documentary highlighting all the reasons why walmart is, in fact, the devil. It was horrible. Not the movie itself, but all the things walmart does. How they make it a practice to move into a town and shut family owned business down. If I had emotions and working tear ducts, I probably would have cried when they were showing these businesses that families had worked in for 40+ years shut down after walmart came to town. To see all that hard work demolished in a few short months.
Then there is the fact that walmart doesn't pay its employees enough and they can't afford the health insurance for their families and what is walmart's response? Well, there are government funded programs to help you with that! WTF?? WALMART is TELLING its employees that should they not only get medicaid for their children, but also foodstamps because they qualify for them!! People who are working fulltime for them! That's completely ridiculous. AND all this while the Waltons are worth billions and billions of dollars! Completely ridiculous.
What I liked about the movie was that they had a number of managers from walmart telling their side of the story. These people were in the higher up parts of the corporations and saw some pretty horrible stuff going on and talked about it. They were told to never pay overtime and were taught how to go into the computer system and move hours to the next week in order to not have to pay the associates overtime. They also never made it a practice to promote women. If they saw two associates talking and then move away from each other quickly when they came up that was grounds to believe they were trying to unionize, which is NOT something walmart likes/allows. It was incredible how much money walmart will spend trying to keep the workers from forming a union, yet they will not pay them higher wages.
Oh, and then there was the whole issue of security in the parking lots. The security cameras in the parking lots aren't necessarily for security reasons, but so that the managers can see if the workers are meeting in the parking lots, trying to unionize. They had this big long list of places around the country where attacks have happened in a walmart parking lot and Houghton, MI was on it!! Houghton!! I think it said it was a knife assault. It happened sometime this year. Eric, do you know anything about this??
The movie ended on a good note, at least. They showed these towns coming together in order to keep walmart from coming into their city. And a lot of them were successful. It was touching.