Walmart keeps getting lower
The January issue of Union Labor News has a story that shows Walmart doesn't wait until a new store is open to start undermining good-paying local jobs. The story shows:
When Beaver Dam ponied up millions in incentives for a mammoth Wal-Mart distribution center, town leaders were hoping to create good jobs in the community. Instead, the world’s largest retailer turned good paying construction jobs into unskilled, low-wage, no-benefit jobs – and exploited prison labor and undocumented workers to do the work.
When workers heard rumors of an INS raid on a distribution center in eastern Pennsylvania, 38 workers failed to show up for work on the Beaver Dam distribution center site. By the following Monday, the job was shut down completely.
And with Walmart getting pretty small fines from a federal government willing to either look the other way or give notice that they are coming for an inspection, why should they stop.
“Wal-Mart is not viewed as a good thing in these communities,” said Jayson Nelson, an organizer with Ironworkers Local 8 out of Appleton. “You would think they’d get this square because Wal-Mart was just fined $11 million for the same issue, hiring undocumented immigrants.”
In 2003, an INS raid of 60 Wal-Mart stores in 21 states led to the arrests of 245 undocumented workers. An affidavit claimed that senior Wal-Mart executives knew about the staffing practices of its cleaning contractors. The retailer agreed to pay $11 million last March to settle the case but denied senior executives knew of the hirings.
The workers here are getting a stronger penalty than Walmart. For Walmart, $11 million is just a small cost of doing business.