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.
Featured from Independent Business Page 44 of 65
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.
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.
Last year when Home Depot announced that it would open in a former Ames department store building in Brattleboro, Vermont, a group of residents organized a campaign urging people to avoid the store and continue supporting their hometown merchants.
The group, BrattPower: Supporting Our Local Economy, gathered 3,200 petition signatures in this town of 12,000, organized a community forum, and began running radio and newspaper ads outlining the hidden costs of large chain stores and the benefits of locally owned businesses.
Austin residents responded enthusiastically to a call by independent retailers to shop exclusively at locally owned businesses on Saturday, November 15. The one-day event, called Austin Unchained, was organized by the Austin Independent Business Alliance (AIBA) and was promoted through posters, tee-shirts, and flyers distributed throughout the city.
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
Typical of shopping centers built decades ago, Alameda Square in Denver is a cheap, single-story strip of stores. It’s ugly and rundown. But that does not deter shoppers. Mostly Asian Americans, shoppers come from miles around to patronize more than a dozen Asian-owned businesses, including two grocery stores, two restaurants, a hair salon, a clothing shop, a jeweler and a bakery.
On a weekday afternoon, the parking lot buzzes with activity. Inside Pacific Ocean International Supermarket, the dingy exterior gives way to bright lights, shelves stocked with canned bamboo shoots and dried fish and aisles of shoppers.
Most of Alameda Square’s businesses are profitable. Together they generate about $125,000 a year in sales tax revenue. But if the city of Denver has its way, these small businesses will be evicted to make way for a Wal-Mart super-center. Continue reading
Does Wal-Mart Really Need Our Tax Dollars? by Stacy Mitchell Originally published on High Country News, December 1, 2003 Typical of shopping centers built decades ago, Alameda Square in Denver is a cheap, single-story strip of stores. It’s ugly and rundown. But that does not deter shoppers. Mostly Asian Americans, shoppers come from miles around… Continue reading