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Union Newswire
|| 11/15/2005 || 10:04 am || Comments Off on Union Newswire || ||

For Nikolas Schiller, it’s Wal-Mart’s attempt to open a bank in Utah a
bank that, of course, would not help local people and would run other
banks out of business.

Read the rest of the article….

source:
http://www.organicconsumers.org/btc/walmart112205.cfm

ANTI-WAL-MART CAMPAIGN UNITES
UNIONISTS WITH OTHER ACTIVISTS

By Mark Gruenberg, Press Associates, Inc. Staff Writer

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (PAI) For Adam Eidinger, Wal-Mart represents a mass
retailer that exploits workers and is now trying to horn in on the
organic foods market with phony organic foods. For Brendan Hoffman, it’s
the waste of gas as people drive for miles through suburban sprawl to
Wal-Mart’s “big box” stores, passing up union retailers and mom-and-pop
establishments to buy from a firm that imports 60 percent of its goods
from China wasting even more energy.

For Ron Powell and the United Food and Commercial Workers in Chicago,
it’s a plan to stop yet another Wal-Mart by passing a city ordinance
requiring such big box retailers to provide a living wage and health
care benefits if they want to do business in the Second City.

For Nikolas Schiller, it’s Wal-Mart’s attempt to open a bank in Utah a
bank that, of course, would not help local people and would run other
banks out of business.

And for Marco Del Fuego, it’s Wal-Mart’s exploitation of Latino workers,
and shoppers.

Hoffman, Eidinger, Powell, Schiller, Del Fuego and the others are among
the thousands of people nationwide who kicked off a week of protests
against the anti-worker anti-union retail behemoth with demonstrations
and rallies on Nov. 13.

What those rallies and protests, along with the documentary Wal-Mart:
The High Cost Of Low Price, which premiered nationwide that day,
symbolize is how Wal-Mart’s exploitation of workers, communities and
shoppers unites union members in one large campaign with activists of
other causes, all concerned about the giant retailer’s threat.

Eidinger [from the Organic Consumers Association] and his colleagues took
their stand against Wal-Mart on the city-owned strip of grass outside a Wal-Mart
in the D.C. suburb of Alexandria, Va. Company managers stationed themselves
just inside the entrance to the parking lot and warned the protesters they would
be arrested if they set foot in it.

Flourishing signs and keeping up a running commentary to shoppers about
Wal-Mart’s abuses, the Alexandria demonstrators drew some support honks
and waves and some indifference.

The Chicagoans, who have huge community backing and significant City
Council support, held a press conference featuring exploited Wal-Mart
workers, discussed the big box store ordinance, and then showed the
film one of 3,000 showings nationwide.

“Whether its through gender discrimination, poverty wages, violations of
child labor laws or environmental practices, Wal-Mart’s predatory
business practices affect the quality of life of us all,” UFCW Local 881
President Powell said in a statement.

The Alexandria protesters represented not just workers, but the wide
range of groups and people whom Powell says Wal-Mart impacts.

Eidinger [from the Washington, D.C. Office of the Organic Consumers
Association] explained Wal-Mart is trying to muscle into the organic foods
market “It sells beef from cows that spend their first year of life on a
3,000-head factory farm in Colorado,” being fed chemical-laced feed, and
their second year being fed non-chemical feed. As far as he’s concerned,
that’s fake.

“This holiday season, give the gift of jobs of a sustainable economy, not
sweatshop jobs,” he urged motorists, citing Wal-Mart’s Chinese imports.

Hoffman, a Service Employees Local 500 member who works for the Ralph
Nader-organized group Public Citizen a strong labor ally on trade
issues says the waste of gas that people use to come to Wal-Mart and the
waste of energy it usses to import goods from China brought him to the
rally.

Barry Weinstein, an AFT member from Fairfax County, actually started his
Wal-Mart campaign weeks ago, as part of a joint AFT-NEA project where
teachers urged shoppers to buy school supplies from retailers other than
Wal-Mart retailers that pay living wages to their workers, or which are
local businesses.

Schiller fears Wal-Mart becoming a bank, as it’s trying to do in Utah.
The AFL-CIO formally opposes the company’s banking application. “It’ll
become a predatory lender, and end micro-loans in small communities,” to
local people, he warns.

For Del Fuego, discrimination is the key. Holding a sign in Spanish
“Don’t let Wal-Mart profit from breaking child labor laws” he explained
it exploits Latinos both in the U.S. and overseas. In the U.S., Wal-Mart
has been cited for, with management knowledge, using illegal immigrants
to clean up its stores after hours. Wal-Mart’s wages for its Latin
American workers are also far below those paid by other retailers, Del
Fuego noted. And its goods are from sweatshops in China and Latin America.

“Many Latinos are now asking questions” about Wal-Mart, he said.” They not
only work for this monster, they buy at it and are questioning the real
price.”



Post Title: Union Newswire
Posted in: Activism, In The News



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