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. Continue reading
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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
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."
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.
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.
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. Continue reading
The annual premium a full-time Wal-Mart employee must pay for coverage for her and her spouse is $2,672 (with a $350 deductible), which amounts to about 19 percent of her pre-tax earnings, according to the report. Part-time employees (under 34 hours per week) are only eligible to enroll after two years on the job and even then, coverage is available only for themselves, not their families. Full-time workers are eligible for family coverage after six months. Continue reading
"A new retail feudalism is emerging across Britain as a handful of brands take over our shopping. We are witnessing the slow death of small independent retailers," contends Andrew Simms, policy director for the London-based New Economics Foundation (NEF) and co-author of a new report called "Ghost Town Britain: The threat from economic globalisation to livelihoods, liberty and local economic freedom." According to the report, between 1995 and 2000, Britain lost one-fifth of its Main Street enterprises. Continue reading
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.
Massive retail expansion could harm Maine’s economy by Stacy Mitchell Originally published in the Maine Sunday Telegram, January 11, 2004 Developers have announced plans to construct well over 2 million square feet of large retail stores in Maine over the coming months. Wal-Mart is planning a supercenter in Westbrook and perhaps another in Topsham. Lowe’s… Continue reading