Friday, February 11, 2005

Another reason to oppose the planned Wal-Mart in Queens, New York

The AFL-CIO Working Families e-activist network sent this open letter to Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott on behalf of millions of its members and sympathizers, reflecting the outrage against Wal-Mart for closing a store rather than give workers the right to organize. "Fair-minded people who respect the rights of workers call on Wal-Mart to abandon plans to close its Jonqueiere, Quebec, store. Workers have the right to unionize for a voice on the job, as well as the right to negotiate fair wages and benefits. It is wrong for a company to close a business simply because it doesn't want to engage in a process that would bring a fair and impartial settlement between workers and the company. We call on Wal-Mart to live up to the responsibilities that come with being the world's largest retailer. Those responsibilities begin with respecting workers, consumers and communities. Wal-Mart spent hundreds of millions last month in an advertising campaign that asked people to find out the facts about your company. The fact that you would eliminate jobs and displace an entire community because you want to deny workers their right to negotiate for a fair wage is the only fact I need to know. Do the right thing. Reverse plans to close your store. Negotiate in good faith with Wal-Mart workers."
AFL-CIO The Working Families e-activist network has also exposed little known facts about how Wal-Mart abuses the U.S taxpayer as well as the Wal-Mart employee in several areas. In it’s commercials Wal-Mart boasts of it’s low, low prices, but in the end it is the taxpayer who is giving Wal-Mart a free ride. The benefits that Wal-Mart rightfully should be paying for it’s employees are thrown on the backs of the tax paying public. "Everyday low wages; The hidden price we all pay for Wal-Mart" divulges some eye-opening facts. If there is a Wal-Mart in your area chances are your taxes are paying for: 1)$36.000 for free and reduced school lunches for the children of 50 qualifying Wal-Mart employees 2) $42.000 for federal housing assistance 3) $125,000 for federal tax credits and deductions for low income families 4) $100,000 for Title 1
Educational funds based on 50 qualifying Wal-Mart families with an average of two children. 5) $97,000 for energy assistance subsidies for low income families. Yes Wal-Mart workers deserve these services, but Wal-Mart, the world’s largest company should be paying for them, not the local taxpayer. These are all facts every working adult should know but most of us don't because we depend on the "established" media for news. ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN will give us the most intimate details about the sex life of a president but won't tell us anything about how major corporations are not paying taxes and shifting their responsibilites on to an already overburdened taxpayer. What we really need to know mainstream media is not telling us because they don't want to bite the hand that feeds them. Now when one takes into account the expense of this unjustified, unnecessary war in Iraq, and major cuts in social services for our veterans and our students we can see that the stage is being set for a major confrontation the likes of which we haven't seen since the time another ultra-conservative Herbert Hoover occupied the White House. To make matters worse Wal-Mart pays embarrassingly low wages "Wal-Mart’s employees—more than 70 percent of them women—are paid an average $9.64 an hour if they are full-time employees, according to Business Week. Yet full-time workers, who comprise only about two-thirds of Wal-Mart's workforce, may be scheduled for as few as 34 hours weekly. Even at $9.64 hourly, working 34 hours a week, a Wal-Mart employee earns only $17,043 annually, well under the $18,850 federal poverty guideline for a family of four in 2004. " This is the main reason why residents and businesses in the Queens Boulevard/Elmhurst area of Queens(New York City) should vigorously oppose the planned first giant Wal-Mart in the New York metropolitan area at Queens Center. Write your elected officials today! When Wal-Mart wins communities lose.

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