Pennsylvania Observer

A blog for progressive people in Pennsylvania. Greens, Democrats and others who want to comment on current news items in the Keystone State.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Wal-Mart's new slogan--"Always screw workers. Always!"

Wal-Mart’s new slogan—“Always screw workers. Always!” Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is not satisfied to merely screw its workers under existing anti-worker US laws. Now they are trying to change the laws to force workers to work longer hours, under more dangerous conditions, for less money. According to the Washington Post, Wal-Mart is lobbying for legislation that would extend the workday for truckers to 16 hours. This bill will clearly make our roads more dangerous and put the lives of truck drivers at risk. The bill has been introduced by Rep. John Boozman (R-Ark.), whose district includes Wal-Mart's headquarters.

Boozman's bill has been called "a sweatshop-on-wheels amendment," by Joan Claybrook of Public Citizen. "The last thing we need is for tired truckers to become even more fatigued and threaten the safety of those around them on the roads."
The Post reported that "critics of the Boozman proposal accuse Wal-Mart of trying to fatten its profits by forcing truckers to spend more time waiting at the loading dock without getting paid."

Also this week, the New York Times reported that unnamed Federal immigration officials had agreed to pay $11 million in fines in a settlement for using undocumented immigrants to clean its stores. In yet another sweetheart deal (see Observer Volume II, Number 5, February 16, 2005),the Times reported that "Federal investigators said they had decided not to bring criminal charges against Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, because it was cooperating and had pledged strong action to prevent future employment of illegal immigrants at its 3,600 stores in the United States."

Wal-Mart had nearly $300 billion in sales last year, so an $11 million fine is insignificant, especially since the agreement did not require Wal-Mart to admit any wrongdoing.
TAKE ACTION! Purple Ocean has started a Wal-Mart Fact Check email network to counter Wal-Mart's multi- million dollar whitewashing campaign. If you sign up, Purple Ocean will send you updates on Wal-Mart to share with your friends and colleagues. As an added incentive to join, if you get 200 people to sign up for the email notices, Purple Ocean will give you $1,000 toward your health coverage, or you can donate the money to an uninsured Wal-Mart worker. (The Observer will donate its money to a worker if we reach that goal. We’re currently at 60—44 directly and 16 indirectly.) Click here to join the Wal-Mart Fact Check email network

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