At this time I was not able to find a lot of information on Walmarts effect in Canada. When I am able to amass enough information I will dedicate a post directly to that. This blog post will deal primarily with Walmart in the United States. After examining the data it should be more than obvious that Walmart is an evil corporation. When we spend our few disposable dollars there we are culpable of participating in a vicious cycle of exploitation.
Year after year Walmart achieves record sales and earnings. When a Walmart comes to town property value for businesses immediately declines. It is assumed that small mom and pop businesses will have to close because of an inability to compete with Walmart. Annually, Walmart drives down retail wages three billion every year. It purposefully short staffs, and keeps the number of full-time staff low. Full-time workers are living at a poverty level and cannot afford Walmart health insurance. Keep in mind that for Walmart, full-time constitutes twenty-eight hours per week. In Florida Walmart has more workers eligible for medicare than any other company. USC Berkeley did a study and concluded that Walmart costs eighty-six million per year to California tax payers, and up to twenty-five million more to country tax payers picking up the tabs for health care, income tax credits, housing subsidies and food stamps.
Alabama: 3,864 children of Walmart employees are enrolled in Medicad
Arizona: 2700 Walmart workers are on medicade
Arkansas: 3,971 Walmart workers are on public assistance
Florida: 12,300 Walmart workers and dependents are on Medicade
Georgia: 10,261 children of Walmart employees are enrolled in peach care for kids
Massachusetts: 4,172 Walmart workers and dependents are on state health care
Tennessee: 9,617 Walmart workers are on Tenncare
Texas: 4,363 children of Walmart employees are on Chip
Wisconsin: 1,252 Walmart employees and dependents are on Badger care
Federally: Walmart costs 1,557,000,000.00 to support its employees.
Walmart is notoriously anti-union. It illegally shows videos to staff saying that unions will not protect them and will cost them money needlessly. This is despite the fact that Walmart routinely asks employees to work off the clock. They imply if the worker does not consent to this that they will be replaced. They have also been charged with hiring illegal workers and locking them in their stores at night. This is a health and safety risk as well as a violation of labour law. The federal poverty level for a family of four is 17,650 and a full-time Walmart sales associate earns 13,861 annually. They are currently facing lawsuits in 31 states for wage and labour abuses, involving hundreds of thousands of workers.
Labour in China: The employees must labour seven days a week and reside in a Walmart issue apartment. The rent for their apartment is deducted from their salary whether or not they occupy the place. The apartments are small, filthy and do not have adequate space for cooking. The cost for a worker to assemble a product in China is eighteen cents, that same product will retail for 14.96. In 2004 Walmart imported 18 billion from China.
Labor in Bangladesh: Walmart employees 189,000 women sewing garments. These women brush their teeth with their fingers using ashes from last nights fire because they cannot afford to buy toothpaste or a tooth brush. They work from 8am to 10pm for thirteen to eighteen cents per hour seven days per week. They are often beaten by their supervisors if they fall behind schedule.
Walmart tries to tell the world that they care for others. They have an in house program wherein employees are encouraged to donate money to other employees in need. In 2004 Walmart employees donated over five million dollars and the Walton family gave a stunning six thousand dollars. The Walton Family had a net worth of ninety billion dollars in 2004. They have cumulatively donated less than 1% of their wealth to charity whereas Bill Gates has donated fifty-eight percent. And the final insult to injury, in the 2004 tax year the Walton family received a federal tax break of 91,500.00 per hour. Do you still feel like shopping there?