everyday low values

Set to coincide with the Wal-Mart annual shareholders’ meeting, the folks at Wal-Mart Watch have issued their own annual report for the world’s biggest retailer. It’s available as a PDF for download (if you click that last link), but, thanks to one of the diarists at the Daily Kos site, some of the report is available on-line. Here’s an excerpt:

On worker pay:

Dismissing the Century Foundation’s numbers and other studies, Wal-Mart executives and public relations professionals inflate income statistics claiming that full-time workers “average” $9.68 and hour for a 35-hour workweek. Even with their inflated numbers, which include highly-paid executives and Wal-Mart managers, an annual pay of about $17,600 leaves an “average” worker with a family of four substantially below the $19,157 federal poverty line, according to the New York Times.

On unions:

Wal-Mart’s opposition to unions is so great it assigns a “Union Probability Index” to each store based on anonymous surveys of workers. The company officially says the index is for “Unresolved People Issues,” but when it goes too high, management sends in a special team of managers to gear up for an effort to root out pro-union activity.

New hires are often showed two videos. The first is general information about the company and the second is about why Wal-Mart should be union-free. Jon Lehman, a former store manager, told Bloomberg News that two dozen people with headsets at Wal-Mart headquarters tap into calls and e-mails from stores around the country to see whether anyone is talking about unionization.

On sweatshops in developing countries:

Wal-Mart doesn’t want the U.S. buying public to know that its famous “always low prices” are the product of human misery. While it loudly proclaims that its global suppliers must comply with a corporate “code of conduct” to treat workers decently, it strictly prohibits the disclosure of any factory names and addresses, hoping to keep independent sources from witnessing the “code” in operation.

In related news, I just heard from Steve Cherry that Robert Greenwald, the man behind the documentaries “Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism,” and “Uncovered: The War on Iraq,” has a new Wal-Mart film in the works… A post by Greenwald, explaining the project, is available at the Huffington Post, and you can find a New York Times article about it here… I’m considering hosting a local showing of the film in a Wal-Mart parking lot when it’s done. I’ll keep you posted.

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10 Comments

  1. Ken
    Posted June 6, 2005 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Do they show the new Greeter uniform in that annual report?

  2. Tony Buttons
    Posted June 6, 2005 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    I imagined you being a much younger fellow, Ken.

  3. Ken
    Posted June 6, 2005 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Tony, I did grow the mustache to help hide my identity. It adds a few years to my look. I think this gives “packaging” a whole new meaning here at Walmart.

  4. Tony Buttons
    Posted June 6, 2005 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    The greeters at Wal-mart get more ass than the toilet seats. At least that’s what I’ve heard.

  5. Ken
    Posted June 6, 2005 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Shhhh, don’t let out our secret or everybody will want to stand at the door with a yellow highlighter. (Oh…and at Walmart, we say boo-tay not a** as you have noted)

  6. Tony Buttons
    Posted June 6, 2005 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    I have to try hard not to get laid when I go to Wal-mart, and I’m just a customer. I can’t image the temptation you must have to deal with there as a man in uniform.

  7. Ken
    Posted June 6, 2005 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    This greeter is going to be getting double the amount of boo-tay this week!

    PS – This is an AJC link that requires signing up. You can use:
    name: BiteMe
    email: nospam@privacyfirst.com
    pass: 1234

  8. chris
    Posted June 7, 2005 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Ken, where did you get that first picture, and is that Captain Kangaroo?

  9. Ken
    Posted June 7, 2005 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    I just found it on the internets by chance the day after Mark made this post. I don’t think it is The Captain because he was a decorated war hero.

  10. Posted June 9, 2005 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Caution to all Walmart Associates

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