An internal audit obtained by The New York Times documents thousands of violations of state labor laws at Wal-Mart stores. The audit, performed by the company in 2000, uncovered 1,371 violations of child labor laws, 60,767 cases of missed breaks, and 15,705 instances when employees skipped meals at 128 stores during a one-week period.
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As Wal-Mart seeks out locations in central Los Angeles and the city council considers a measure that would ban supercenters from much of the city, a debate is brewing concerning the costs and benefits of supercenters for residents of low-income urban neighborhoods. Two dueling studies examining the impact of supercenters in southern California were recently released.
Rather than capping the size of all retail stores, a growing number of cities and counties in California are banning supercenters in particular. These are generally defined as stores over 90,000 or 100,000 square feet that devote more than 5 or 10 percent of their floor area to non-taxable grocery items.
Under these ordinances, developers can still build massive box stores, so long as they do not combine department store merchandise anda full supermarket under one roof. Continue reading
Following an outcry from local and national activists, the city of Denver has abandoned plans to condemn a shopping center, evict more than a dozen Asian-owned business, and transfer the property to a Wal-Mart developer.
After months of pressure from a vocal citizens group, the City Council in Stoughton, Wisconsin, adopted an ordinance banning stores over 110,000 square feet.
Stoughton is a community of 12,500 about 20 miles southeast of Madison. Last year, after Wal-Mart announced plans to close its 40,000-square-foot Stoughton outlet to build a 183,000-square-foot supercenter on undeveloped land, a citizens group called Uff-da Wal-Mart formed. Uff-da is a Norwegian expression of disdain.
More than 250 independent businesses in and around the city of Bellingham in northwest Washington have joined together to urge residents to "think local first" when shopping.
Organized by Sustainable Connections, a coalition of locally owned businesses, the campaign aims to build public awareness of the benefits of supporting homegrown enterprises. "People don’t always make the connection between their quality of life and the choices they make through their purchases," said Sustainable Connections director Michelle Long.
A California Superior Court judge has suspended construction of two Wal-Mart supercenters in Bakersfield, California, indefinitely.
Judge Kenneth Twisselman ruled that the city council had not adequately examined the urban blight that could result if existing big box stores close after the new supercenters open. Vacant big box stores, the judge said, have significant environmental impacts that the city is required to consider as part of its environmental review process.
In early January, the Hood River, Oregon, County Commission voted 3-2 to reject Wal-Mart’s application to build a 186,000-square-foot supercenter.
"This was a marvelous and gutsy decision by the board," said Kate Huseby, co-chair of the Citizens for Responsible Growth (CRG), a grassroots group that has fought the proposal in this community of 5,000 people in north central Oregon for more than two years. "We applaud them for doing their homework, and making the tough vote."
By Stacy Mitchell
originally published in Progressive Trail, January 13, 2004
In the Wal-Mart economy, where an inexhaustible supply of cheap consumer goods has become more important than family wages for American workers, it should come as little surprise that a company which is known for its ability to track the sale of products down to the penny across a far-flung empire, would plead ignorance when accused of violating labor laws.
2002-2003 In 2002, ILSR inaugurated its Washington, DC deconstruction training program at the Stanton Dwellings public housing complex, working closely with the DC Housing Authority and Just U Wait’N See CDC (JUWNS), a community development corporation serving the residents of the Stanton community. ILSR provided screening and training guidelines to JUWNS to facilitate the selection,… Continue reading