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Sat Nov 24, 2012, 09:05 AM

Who's Really to Blame for the Wal-Mart Strikes? The American Consumer

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/11/whos-really-to-blame-for-the-wal-mart-strikes-the-american-consumer/265542/



Forget the stampeding shoppers, the half-priced waffle irons, or the pepper spray wielding wackos: barring a federal intervention, the main event this Black Friday could turn out to be a showdown between organized labor and its arch corporate nemesis, Wal-Mart.

After organizing the first retail workers' strikes in the company's 50-year history last month, a union-backed group has promised to lead work stoppages and demonstrations at Wal-Mart stores around the country this holiday weekend in protest of its famously aggressive labor practices. Nobody truly knows how big the turnout will be, or if even more than a handful of Wal-Mart's 1.4 million U.S. employees will actually walk off the job. We might witness something historic, or we might witness a sideshow that shoppers ignore while brawling for bargains. Either way, the threat has made Wal-Mart nervous enough to ask the National Labor Relations Board for an injunction stopping the protests. Should they go on, they will be a test of whether, after years of failing to organize the country's largest employer, labor groups still have the wherewithal to take it on.

It would be a mistake, however, to think of this simply as a clash over one company. Rather, it's symptomatic of forces Wal-Mart helped set in motion and now shape our economy in fundamental way. It's about big box retail's refusal to pay a decent wage. It's about the way we've stacked the deck against unions. And it's about the choices we make as consumers.

Wal-Mart's Bad, But the Competition Isn't Much Better

As Harold Meyerson noted recently in The American Prospect, whereas Ford and General Motors paid their factory workers enough to buy the cars they built, Wal-Mart rose up by paying "its workers so little they had to shop at discount stores like Wal-Mart."

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Reply Who's Really to Blame for the Wal-Mart Strikes? The American Consumer (Original post)
xchrom Nov 2012 OP
LeftInTX Nov 2012 #1
nadinbrzezinski Nov 2012 #2
xchrom Nov 2012 #3

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:34 PM

1. From the article: How much more would consumers pay?

A study from UC-Berkeley's Center for Labor Research and Education suggested it would cost the average shopper an extra $12.49 a year if Wal-Mart paid its workers a full $12 an hour and passed most of the cost to consumers.


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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:46 PM

2. Here, I linked in the article

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #2)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:41 PM

3. +1

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