Home > Uncategorized > A Wal-Mart SuperCenter for Atascadero?

A Wal-Mart SuperCenter for Atascadero?

A grassroots effort is forming quickly in response to word that a Wal-Mart Super Center is being planned for the intersection of El Camino Real and Del Rio Road in northern Atascadero. Obviously the project has to win approval of the Planning Commission and City Council and it might all come down to the vote of Mayor Tom O’Malley, who just happens to be up for re-election in November. All this points to a heated debate in the usually quiet Atascadero.

There will be a meeting this Thursday night (4/27) at the Community Room at the Atascadero library at 7 p.m. for project organizers who intend to launch a spirited attack against Wal-Mart. For those who don’t understand the concern over a SuperCenter in town, check out http://www.fightwally.com.

Meanwhile, here’s part of the most recent article from the Associated Press showing how Washington is even wading into the Wal-Mart debate. Let’s hope people are starting to wake up!

“There is no candidate. There are no ballots. There won’t be an Election Day. And yet it may be the hottest, highest-stakes political contest in America today. It’s the campaign against Wal-Mart.

A year-old effort to force the nation’s No. 1 private employer to change its business practices has evolved into a Washington-style brawl: tens of millions of dollars spent by Republican and Democratic political consultants using polling, micro-targeting, ads, e-mails, direct mail, grass-roots organizing and strategic “war rooms” to ply their trade in the corporate world.

Their fight involves some of society’s most vexing trends, including the rising cost of health care, the painful realities of globalization and the waning relevance of organized labor.

“Our opponents have organized the likes of a political campaign against us,” said Bob McAdam, vice president of corporate affairs at Wal-Mart. “It would be nonsense for us not to respond in a similar fashion.”

Wal-Mart’s main opponents are the Service Employees International Union, which started Wal-Mart Watch, and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which funds a separate campaign called WakeUpWalMart.com

After failing to organize employees of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. with traditional tactics, the unions decided to use modern campaign and communications methods to drag the company into the public square and try to shame them into change.

Both groups have hammered the world’s largest retailer about its wages, health insurance, treatment of workers and proclivity for buying non-U.S. goods. Wal-Mart has responded with counterattacks and a multimillion-dollar public campaign to polish its image.

On both sides are some of the best political strategists money can buy.

WakeUpWalMart.com is run by Paul Blank, political director for Howard Dean’s 2004 Democratic presidential campaign, and Chris Kofinis, a former political professor who helped draft retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark into the same race.

Their campaign has all the markings of the Dean and Clark insurgencies — a snappy Web site, volunteer action lists and an issues-based grass-roots campaign.

Odd bedfellows: A Republican working for unions against Wal-Mart.

“Wal-Mart is giving capitalism a bad name,” Holt explained. “It’s lost touch with its small-town roots and has become a company that is depending on corporate welfare … and an all-too-cozy relationship with China.”

Under fire, Wal-Mart turned to Reagan adviser Michael Deaver, Bush-Cheney political director Terry Nelson and several Democrats, among them civil rights leader Andrew Young and campaign strategist Leslie Dach.

Talk about odd bedfellows: Democrats working for Wal-Mart against organized labor.

“We were being attacked. We wanted to hire people who knew how to respond,” said Wal-Mart’s McAdam, formerly a GOP aide on Capitol Hill and political strategist for the tobacco industry.

WakeUpWalMart.com claims 212,000 supporters who can be mobilized with a computer stroke to recruit members and participate in media events designed to shine a bad light on the Bentonville, Ark., company.

“For years, labor leaders were fighting Wal-Mart the old way, but times have changed,” Kofinis said. “Instead of organizing workers, they’re trying to organize the nation” against Wal-Mart.

In its own way, this campaign over Wal-Mart is as important as the congressional races this year.

Bringing Wal-Mart to heel with 21st-century tactics would signal a fresh approach for organized labor after a decades-long decline in membership.

At stake for Wal-Mart is the future course of a company with $312.4 billion in sales in the fiscal year that ended Jan. 31. Its stock has fallen 20 percent over the past two years, and the company has had trouble sustaining its historically high rates of profit growth.

Analysts say bad publicity from the union-backed campaigns may be hurting Wal-Mart, though unrelated business pressures are also a factor.

After Maryland’s legislature passed a labor-backed bill requiring companies — Wal-Mart in particular — to spend more on workers’ health insurance, the Arkansas company came out with improvements in its health care coverage.

Amid criticism, Wal-Mart also has announced plans to:

_Help competing local companies stay in business.

_Expand its share of the Hispanic market.

_Sell more environmentally friendly products.

_Increase diversity in its work force.

A multimillion-dollar advertising campaign featuring testimonials of happy customers and employees cast Wal-Mart as a good corporate citizen.

Nelson was hired to wage a grass-roots campaign by recruiting Wal-Mart shoppers and local leaders sympathetic to the corporation’s cause.

In the union camp, both groups send opposition research on Wal-Mart to reporters, e-mail supporters and stage events such as rallies and documentary film screenings.

They have had an impact.

Maryland-style health care bills have been introduced in more than 30 states. Democratic candidates in Ohio, Arizona and Pennsylvania have spoken out against Wal-Mart, as have elected officials in Wisconsin, Georgia, Connecticut and several other states.”

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  1. Rich from Paso
    April 24, 2006 at 7:11 pm

    Amazing. When the median family home in SLO county is $400,000+ and gas is over $3/gallon, people are still railing against Wal-Mart for this, that and the other thing. A Supercenter in SLO county might be the only thing that makes life just a teeny-tiny bit more affordable for low-income in this paradise we call Central Coastal California. I’m against predatory pricing in any shape, matter or form, but Wal-Mart sells everything a lower income family or a struggling college student would need to keep a household running. While you all are out there protesting against Wal-Mart trying to keep them away, what are you doing for those families struggling to make ends meet here in utopia, California? Nothing. Wal-Mart provides quality goods at affordable prices and jobs that aren’t prison or grape related.

  2. Kirk in SLO
    April 26, 2006 at 5:42 pm

    Rich is dead on. I’m one of those people who grew up here, went to Cal Poly, and stayed in SLO County. My family has moved away to cheaper pastures long ago, and I’m the last one remaining from my family. I have a “good” job, which means well above minimum wage, yet I’m struggling to make ends meet. My crappy condo is worth 4x what I paid for it, and at some point I will no doubt cash out and move out of the SLO I used to love, but now loathe.

    I’m getting tired of all the people who can afford to live here telling me that I should shop at small, local stores which sell things at 4-5x the price of Wal Mart because it’s good for the community.

    Sorry folks, my family comes first. I personally dislike shopping at Wal-Mart (service is terrible, much of the merchandise is of low quality), but anyone that can’t see why they’re successful, especially in a community like SLO, is delusional.

  3. Chuck
    April 27, 2006 at 5:25 am

    Kirk is so short-sighted. All he cares about is saving a buck, or two. Big frigging deal. Do some research, pal, and find out what happens when a Super Wal Mart comes to town. Find out what has happened in other parts of the country.

    Yes, consumers should have a choice and I also am a good free market Republican, but a Super Center isn’t a good fit for Atascadero, less than 10 miles away from the Wal Mart in Paso. Duh!

  4. Bob from San Luis
    April 27, 2006 at 8:13 am

    Wal-Mart provides quality goods at affordable prices and jobs that aren’t prison or grape related. So what do you have against correctional officers, Rich? Oh, that’s right, they belong to a union. Those jobs you are commending are either hovering at or below minimum wage, for the most part, and most of the “associates” cannot afford the health care offered, if they even qualify. In town after town across the US, Wal-Mart “associates” abuse the E.R.s for primary health care because an emergency room cannot refuse service based on ability to pay. So who pays the costs for those er visits? The taxpayers of each of those counties. The jobs that a Wal-Mart brings into a town replace jobs that usually pay somewhat better by virtue of putting smaller businesses out of business, and those employees sometimes have to go on unemployment. They lose any health care insurance they had, and then they can abuse E.R.s for primary health care. The counties are eventually forced to either raise taxes or cut services. The lower paid Wal-Mart workers can’t afford to eat out as often as the higher paid jobs they replaced, so the local restaurants suffer. If you research the devastating effects a Wal-Mart can have on a local community, plan on doubling or more the effect a Supercenter has. The Supercenter has a full grocery store inside along with all the usual stuff, and the effect is devastating to the immediate grocery businesses. In many areas the grocery stores are about the only union jobs around, and most of the employees working at those stores are a vital part of a community’s economics. Do you really want to see Spencer’s Market in Atascadero close? So why doesn’t Wal-Mart pay their employees better, and provide affordable health care insurance ? Costs: Wal-Mart is famous for cutting and controlling costs. Can they afford those costs, and still be competitive? It would not be a problem for them to provide better conditions for their “associates”, but they chose to constantly expand, trimming costs to the bone, all the while maintaining maximum profit. Here is a part of the reason, a paragraph from a Fortune Magazine article: “If Wal-Mart, with its quarter-trillion dollars in annual sales, is almost unimaginably massive, then the Waltons’ great wealth is its equal in a parallel universe of private fortunes. The Walton family is as rich as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett combined. Amid all the talk about how rich Teresa Heinz Kerry is, consider that the Walton family is 117 times wealthier. The Waltons’ $90 billion fortune is equivalent to the GDP of Singapore. It’s bigger than IBM’s annual revenues. The dividend stream from the family’s holdings produces nearly $880 million annually. It’s likely that only the Rockefellers–before John D. gave away much of his fortune –were wealthier. And that’s after adjusting for inflation. In sheer dollar terms, the Waltons are far richer.”
    So Rich, who doesn’t like any predatory pricing practices will shop at the store that is most famous for doing so, and Kirk, who doesn’t like to shop there will hold his nose to save a few pennies. We will all pay the costs of having a Wal-Mart dominated retail environment in our area, either through one form of corporate welfare or another, or in increased taxes or reduce services, or both. There are very few items that can only be purchase at Wal-Mart and no where else; you don’t have to shop at Wal-Mart to save money. The belief that Wal-Mart has the lowest prices on “everything” cannot possibly be true, and they still stay in business. They use predatory pricing to drive out competition, then raise their prices gradually, using loss leaders on the more popular items to give the appearance of having the lowest prices. Don’t shop at Wal-Mart; you can find what you need somewhere else, and if it costs more, save up for it. If it is grocery items you’re concerned about, don’t buy processed foods which are more expensive. Buy healthier foods, fix more meals yourself, and you will not only save money, but you will eat better and be more healthy for it. If you’re shopping for non-perishable goods (appliances, for example) save up and buy a better grade product, it will last longer.

  5. kirk in slo
    April 27, 2006 at 3:03 pm

    Chuck: When all you have is a buck or two, then saving a buck or two is a “big friggin deal”.

    I love how everyone is predicting the fall of San Luis Obispo County if a Wal-Mart Supercenter comes to Atascadero. I heard these same predictions more than a decade ago when it was the standard Wal-Mart coming to town, and while business has shifted, I don’t see a lot of empty storefronts in Arroyo Grande or Paso Robles. Frankly, I believe there are enough folks of higher income that wouldn’t lower themselves to shop at Wal-Mart, and those folks can keep Spencer’s afloat. Those of us living paycheck to paycheck need other options, and your attempts to make us feel bad because we’re poor just isn’t working.

    I’m not sure how this turned into a debate on correctional officers, so I’ll avoid that part of the conversation. But Bob from San Luis goes on to say how much money I can save by not buying preprocessed foods and not eating out, as if all the answers were simple ones. Don’t pretend to understand how a 30-something local without a trust fund can spread his paycheck around in this town. As it happens, I don’t buy a lot of preprocessed foods, I don’t eat out often, and I drive a 15 year old car.

    Maybe now I should be attacked for not driving a Prius?

  6. Rich from Paso
    April 27, 2006 at 3:37 pm

    Bob: That was all were interesting, but I have a question for you: Since you own a business, how many minimum wage employees have you hired? If you have no minimum wage employees, how much about Wal-Mart do you pay your employees do you pay your “associates”? Do you provide health care coverage to all of your employees? Furthermore, with the increase in gas costs, have you raised your employees’ wages commenserate with the increase in gas prices? I very much doubt you have more than 2 or 3 employees beyond yourself, so you aren’t providing any wage competition to Wal-Mart. Put your money where your mouth is an tell us how much better you are at business. Do you sell toilet paper? Wal-Mart does, and guess what, that toilet paper doesn’t have to made out of sheepskin in order to get the job done. You rail about low quality products, but for a person on low or no income, those crappy Equate brands or Sam’s Choice cola (which I do drink by the way; it’s pretty good for 58 cents a 2-liter) or Great Value spagetti noodles are pretty damn good. The problem with you liberals, Bob, is that you think that you cna crawl around in someone else’s head and know what they think or why they do things. I shop at Wal-Mart because they have just about everything I need. If I want something else, I go somewhere else. it’s about personal choice, Bob. I choose to go to Wal-Mart for my toilet paper, diapers, shampoo, soap, vitamins, toys for the kids, fertilizer, bed sheets, pillows, candy, printer cartridges, DVDs, baby clothes, light bulbs, extension cords, paint, oil changes, along with the noodles, the soda, and everything else. Do you provide those products, Bob? i know you don’t. So how in any way shape matter or form are you in any direct competition with Wal-Mart? Am I putting out of business the “Seat of my Pants” toilet paper store? No such place exists. Am I putting AM/PM, that sells sodas, out of business? Hell no. Your arguments are more reactionary, scared, and borne of jeolosy than anything else. Do you know any business that has been driven out because of Wal-Mart? Name me five, I dare you. the fact is that “small businesses’ fear even perceived competition. A Supercenter will not hurt the bottom line of Albertson’s or Food-4-less or Von’s or Scolari’s or Ralph’s because the above mentioned stores, in Paso anyway, are less than a mile apart from each other. Adding a Supercenter in the outskirts of Atascadero will not hurt those businesses. It does create entry-level jobs for most or late-in-life jobs for seniors. How many seniors, other than yourself, do you employ, Bob? As for healthcare, my wife, a Wal-Mart employee for the last five years, and I agree that Wal-Mart could do better. I think that your claim that Wal-Mart burdens ER rooms is specious and you can’t substantiate it. More fearmongering against Wal-Mart. furhtermore, very few families rely on Wal-Mart for both incomes in a two-income family. There are the cases where a singel mother is stretched thin by working for Wal-Mart and feeding X number of kids, but if the State didn’t lower benefits for that mother because of one hour, the difference between being full-time and part-time, she might be able to make ends meet.

    All of your hysteria over Wal-mart betrays how insecure you are in your own business future. Maybe it is you that needs to relook your business practices if you feel so threatened by Wal-mart. And your petty jeolosy of what the Walton family makes is telling. I have a challenge for you, Bob, why don’t you take your little business and expand it all across the nation, then take it over to Japan, Korea and Europe and then tell me how much you plan on giving back. Don’t answer yet bacause you’re still here in SLO. Wait until you actually do something on any order of magnitude of what Sam Walton accomplished from podunk Bentonville, Arkansas. I think you are jeolosy of him because you aren’t the same calibre of businessman Sam Walton was. You shroud yourself in “for the greater good” rhetoric because you know you will never match the Waltons’ accomplishments in the arena of business. I was hoping for just one source to back up any of your claims and there was none. I don’t need to because there is nothing but your accusations to refute.

    By the way, I have nothing against either the vineyard or prison industies; I am against lack of choice in where I shop or where people can go to get jobs. Your B.S. claim that it’s because they are union is just that, B.S. Wla-Mart has very good reasons to be anti-union, first and foremost is that Wal-Mart would have to share profits with the union before the employee gets the benefits (a whole different discussion). Do you run a unionized shop, Bob? I bet you don’t either.

  7. Rich from Paso
    April 27, 2006 at 4:02 pm

    Bob, Here is a reason why we need a Supercenter in SLO county. Read this article on the top 50 expensive zip codes in the US. California has over half of them. Where are the little people that can’t afford the $400,000 median priced house in SLO county supposed to go to make ends meet?

  8. Rich from Paso
    April 27, 2006 at 4:05 pm

    Kirk, the debate is about Wal-Mart, but Bob, was making a snarky comment infering that I am pro-Wal-mart because I am supposedly anti-union. Neither is the case.

  9. Jay from Oceano
    April 29, 2006 at 8:08 pm

    The people that have a problem with Wal Mart really have a problem with human behavior. They have a problem that people make different choices than they do. If Wal Mart is so bad then open up a COMPETETIVE business of your own, that fills a consumer need. When Wally-World stops filling the consumer need, other businesses will appear to take advantage of their failure.

  10. The New Tone of San Luis Obispo
    May 1, 2006 at 5:11 am

    Whoa, A great debate on Wal Mart that Rich seems to have totally burned poor old Bob on.

    The fact that Rich’s wife works at Wal Mart for pathedic and meager wages shows us all that Rich is really just white trash that should be run out of our county! I think we need to run out of town these people (if you can call them that) that are not buying things from Bob’s “store” (maybe the hot dog stand in from of Longs Downtown) and other cool places to spend your parents money such as the local favorite Banana Repulic (I bought my 10 year old girl her first pair of hot ripped $150 pants there recently…..oh but I won’t help that dastardly Wal Man). Down with Wal Mart. Call AlBrill and Algore to save us from the destruction! I bet all those illegals will be wearing their Wal Mart vests during their May Day celebration!

    I think that Wal Mart is not needed in Atascadero….but I am not the man with the plan for Atascadero, and if they wish to rick their money and build here….why not?

  11. JerryDinAZ
    May 1, 2006 at 3:22 pm

    SLO county will never learn…except when it may be too late!
    DON’T KNOCK A WALMART SUPERCENTER TILL YOU’VE TRIED ONE!
    You will save tons of money you can donate to AIRAMERICA!

  12. Bob from San Luis
    May 5, 2006 at 6:46 am

    Hi Rich, everyone else; this is my eigth or ninth attempt to post a comment here. For some reason my attempts at embedding a link has completely stopped me from posting here, so no link attempts for this comment. First, Rich, my little business is a small retail storefront run by myself and my wife only. No employees, no union, just us making a living. I have no plans to franchise my approach to the goods and services I offer, and Wal-Mart is not any part of that equation. Wal-Mart is no competition to me, and I am certainly none to them. Having been a union member for over 27 years and running my own business for 12 years, I have dual point perspective of what I view is the predatory means of conducting business that characterizes the Wal-Mart way. Wal-Mart is the epitome of capitalism that has run an unchecked course, neither regulated to control its predatory pricing nor its abuse of workers. Wal-Mart will usually woo rural communities by promising them tax reciepts they could only imagine, and in return they request tax breaks in various forms, such as zoning changes, having traffic improvement requirements waived and reductions of permit fees.
    Look, I know that most of you who like Wal-Mart are not going to believe me, and if I could provide links many of you wouldn’t even bother to read them or even consider that they are true. Many of you fully believe in a Wal-Mart culture, that is that you are entitled to pay the least amount for any item you want, regardless of your actual needs, or what the eventual costs really are. The Wal-Mart culture only exsists to consume, to buy, and any consequences are either ignored, forgotten or just not recognized as something that matters. Corporations are not necessarally evil; they exsist for one purpose, to make a profit. The basic definition of corporation is “..a group of people authorized to act as an individual, especially in business..”; there is no reason that any corporation could not act in a manner that would treat their employees with the highest regard, and some actually make quite an effort to do so. Wal-Mart is not one of them, and this is by choice. In my first comment on this thread I mentioned exactly how rich the Walton family is, and my question remains: How rich does one person or related group of people need to be? Why can’t they help their “associates” earn a living wage, offer an affordable health care plan covering a majority of their employees, and operate under the same rules that all other businesses are supposed to operate under? So, I know that there is nothing I can say that will make you change your mind, much less even question the wisdom of allowing so powerful a company as Wal-Mart to move in to our area with their latest version of their ultimate retail machine. So, if you believe that Wal-Mart will not cause any harm to the community and you get to buy your stuff as cheaply as possible, let them build their store and don’t worry about traffic congestion, pollution and all the other ills that come along with the supercenter “experience”.

  13. Rich from Paso
    May 5, 2006 at 2:17 pm

    Bob, the reason why no one will believe you is for one reason: you’re just plain wrong. First of all, I have read, as recently as last night, the Wal-Mart healthcare plans and benefits. Wal-Mart has a very robust health care plan that has a very wide variety of services. They offer four different plans each plan has a variety of deductable levels ranging from $350 to $1100 depending on your needs and appear to be very affordable. After the annual deductable is met all other doctor visits have a co-pay of $20. They have Health Savings Accounts that Wal-Mart matches contributions dollar for dollar. They have a “transportation related” death insurance that all employees get the moment they are hired. That covers all Wal-Mart employees if they die while coming to and from work. They have catastrophic cancer coverages. the list goes on and on. The only kicker is that you have to be on the job for 180 days before you are eligable. And why not? Makes perfect sense to me that you would want to make sure that you have a dedicated employee before you have the coverage kick in. So, there you go, Bob, one of your concerns has been addressed.

    Wal-Mart is probably one of the most litigated against comnpanies in America. They have been sued for predatory pricing of pharmaceuticals, they have been sued by people outside of Wal-Mart for how breaks are given out. The State of Maryland passed a law that says that if a business that employs more than 10,000 people doesn’t spend 8% of their profits a year on healthcare then they have to give up that amount in the form of a cash payment to the state. Guess how many companies that applies to: one, Wal-Mart (I think that that law will be found to be unconstitutional when challenged based on the fact that it is too narrowly defined and discriminatory). That list goes on and on and still Wal-Mart is the single largest retail employer in the world, having 1.2 million people in their employ.

    Furthermore, American love Wal-Mart everywhere. Research shows that Wal-mart saves the average family $2300 a year (average being between $30,000 and 50,000 a year). 70% of that same demographic think that Wal-Mart is good for them and their community. A Wal-Mart that was going to open outside Chicago had 24,000 applicants for the 375 jobs that were available. The same was true for one opening in Arizona. One economist observer said that an applicant to Harvard had a better chance of getting into that school than getting one of those Wal-Mart jobs. Wal-Mart promotes from within all the way to their senior executives. How many major corporation do you know that do that?

    Finallly, what business is it of yours, Bob, or anyone else’s how much money anyone should be allowed to make? Let me answer for you: It’s none of your damn business how much money they have made!. What are you, a Communist? They earned every dollar they made by providing a good or a service that America, and now the world, wanted.

    Just stay home, Bob, and don’t save yourself $2300 a year if you don’t want the supercenter experience if you like. Frankly, I don’t give a crap where you shop or how long you’ve been a union man, your “perspective” as a union man just means that you are biased against a non-union entities. Shop at union stores for all I care, but the concensus of Americans is overwhelmingly against you on this one.

  14. Bob from San Luis
    May 6, 2006 at 4:00 am

    Rich: Everything you wrote about the Wal-Mart health care sounds great, but why don’t more employees have the coverage that is offered? You didn’t mention how high the annual deductable is, you simply speculated that the coverage appears affordable. You also stated that the coverage isn’t available for the first 180 days; that is six months; and some people wonder why Wal-Mart has a turn over rate of over 50%. My take, the concern I have about their insurance has been addressed, but not very fairly. You did not respond to my assertion that the wages paid to the associates is less than a “living” wage, and you asserted that I am against non-union establishments. Wal-Mart purportedly pays an average wage of around $10-10.50 an hour, whereas Costco (a non-union employeer) pays an average of $16-17 an hour. I do shop sometimes at Costco and Trader Joe’s, both of which are non-union. You accused me of possibly being a “communist” because I questioned the amount of money the Walton family has amassed; my point is that Wal-Mart could more than afford to pay their employees a wage that would enable them to all afford to purchase the health care plans offered, not be dependent on government assistance like food stamps, W.I.C., and the use of county health facilities and emergency rooms. Rich, I am not against Wal-Mart because they are not union, if, like Costco they provided better for their employees, there would be no need for the employees to want to join or form a union. The main reason Wal-Mart has not been unionized is due to unparalled demonization of any and all attempts, firing not just individual employees, but shutting down whole stores to avoid having even one department represented by a union. Corporations have historically suppressed wages as a means of being or remaining profitable, since wages are the single largest expense a business pays for. To address your assertion that I am a communist because I don’t think Wal-Mart treats their workers fairly, some could make that leap; but that would really be more of a socialist approach, not communist. I do think along the lines of socialism when it comes to the treatment of workers, but I firmly believe that capitalism can be a great vehicle for prosperity for all who participate, if there is sufficent regulation to control the effects of the largest companies monopolizing their industries. As far as the Walton family earning their $90 Billion dollar fortune, I disagree. Their investments into Wal-Mart’s infrastructure has certainly helped build up their company and make it more profitable; but my assertion is that they have been able to do so by underpaying their workforce along with squeezing their suppliers to maximize their profitability. You and many will claim that Wal-Mart is simply operating in a legal manner, not doing anything wrong, and it is nobody’s business how they conduct their affairs. That viewpoint is countered however by your own admission of the sheer number of lawsuits pending against Wal-Mart, along with numerous judgements already handed out ruling against Wal-Mart.

  15. JerryDinAZ
    May 6, 2006 at 9:07 pm

    BOB & RICH… WHY DON’T YPOU GUYS “GET A ROOM” OR MAYBE TRY TO FIND A HOBBY! SEEMS YOU HAVE WAY TOO MUCH TIME ON YOUR HANDS.

  16. Bob from San Luis
    May 7, 2006 at 3:41 am

    Jerrydinaz: Is the CAPS LOCK key broken on your computer? Or do you just like to SHOUT? Wait, I get it; you don’t have much to say, so you have to make it look bigger so you comments don’t seem so ‘small’- whatever. Nice to know somebody is reading; as far as your assertion concerning Rich and myself, I respect Rich’s opinion as much as anyone elses that comments here, maybe more than some others. When I can get Rich to admit that maybe there is another way to look at a situation, I get the feeling that there is some hope that others who think like Rich can also consider another point of view. I would guess Rich feels the same way when he can get me to admit that maybe my point of view could be altered by a dazzling display of facts and logic. Jerrydinaz, if you have anything of value to add to the discussion, please do so. Mostly I find your comments juvenile as if you were simply regurgitating someone else’s talking points, with no real thoughts of your own. But keep trying, who knows, maybe you’ll make a point or two eventually. Thanks for caring.

  17. Rich from Paso
    May 9, 2006 at 5:12 pm

    Bob, don’t kid yourself: you are a communist. “Socialism” is what closet communists sya they are when talking aobut it in polite society. You could replace “proletariat” for Wal-mart employee and “bourgeois” for the Walton family and you are speaking in Marxist terms. Income-redistribution is a marxist concept. Don’t believe me? Here is a link to an on-line copy of “The Communist Manifesto” to refresh your memory. Not to get too far from Wal-Mart, but those of you worried about Conservatism equaling fascism should be able to see that Liberalism equates to Marxism, so, its a push and life goes on.

    Bob, I did say that the annual deductable was between $350 and $1100. The question you should be asking, and the answer I don’t have at the moment, is what is the monthly premium. I would guess it is just like any other insurance plan; the higher the deductable the lower the premium. Its an inverse relationship.

    You cite no source for your claims about Wal-Mart offering a “non-livable’ wage. I go back to my statement: 1.2 million employees don’t seem to have a problem with their wages. You didn’t answer my charge on that, Bob, how is it that Wal-Mart employs 1.2million people (in case you missed that the first two times I said it) and be in sweat shop conditions like you make it out to be? Allow me to answer you: because you don’t know what you’re talking about. Yes, my wife works there, so I have first hand testimonials from her co-workers. Why do they work there? because Wal-mart takes care of their own better than any one else. That is a fact whether you believe it or not.

    Sheer number of lawsuits, Bob? I cited three, and those were the three I knew they lost.

    Face it, Bob, you’re just jeolous of their success and you are out to “level the playing field” to make up for your lack of business acummen.

    Unions are largely obsolete as evidenced by the lower and lower numbers of union membership as seen here. Now before you get all excited over the wage difference between union and non-union workers (200 some odd dollars) read this article on bogus “jobs bank” that the UAW forced Ford and GM to institute, which means that the union forced the automakers to keep employees on even when there was no work for them. And you wonder why Toyota is kicking the “Big Three”‘s ass when it comes to car sales. Unions are supplementing the governments welfare programs with pay for no work.

    On a side note, if we are going to start confiscating CEO bonuses like the Exxon-Mobile guys $400 million, why don’t we just pass a law that gives every tax payer a million dollars and in return, no one can ever say that CEOs get paid too much ever again. That’s for all you communist-marxists out there.

    So who are you going to believe? 1.2 million people or Bob? Not even you, Bob, can dispute that kind of polling data.

  18. Bob from San Luis
    May 9, 2006 at 10:03 pm

    Rich: Except for your first paragraph your comments seem to be well reasoned and researched. Do you really feel the need to call me a communist? I will remind you that even thought my business is very small, I am running a business; is that something a communist would do? That makes no sense at all. As far as one making a liberal = Marxism argument equalling a conservative = fascism- it is in degrees; how Marxist can a liberal be without being a Marxist? Is it the same amount as how fascist a conservative can be before becoming a fascist?
    You have given me alot to process, I will get back to you.

  19. Rich from Paso
    May 9, 2006 at 10:24 pm

    Bob, my point was that liberals support Marxist concepts but don’t have the guts to say that they are Marxists even though, point for point, they follow marx.

    About communist = liberal and facsist = conservative… Dave had a show where some pants-wetters came on to talk about an article discussing 12 signs for the rise of fascism that came out back several years ago and how Bush is make this apocolyptic vision come to pass with the NSA terrorist wiretapping and the patriot act, et al. Here is the link. it has pretty pictures and everything for the Bush haters in the audience. I’m sure you’ll see it and go “Hell, yeah, I knew it all along!!!” My point is that liberalism follows Marx’s 8 steps to a “true” communist workers paradise. So since there are 12 steps to fascism and 8 steps to communism, its a wash and the balance is maintained.

    Do I really think that you are a communist? Naw, not really. But you sure do say things that make you sound like one with your desire to punish achievement, take “excess” profits, punish corporations, etc. These are my interpretations of your comments, of course. You, of course, just see yourself as a well intentioned patriot, just like myself.

  20. Rich from Paso
    May 10, 2006 at 11:23 pm

    Bob, to answer your question about premiums, I reviewed the benefits package offered at Wal-Mart and here is what I learned:
    – Wal-Mart health insurance is presently offered only to full-time employees. there is a part-time insurance plan in the works.
    – The low deductable standard plan costs for an associate and their family $43 per pay period. Double that for the two pay periods a month and it is $86 a month. The high deductable plans drop to about $17 a pay period or $34/month.
    – There have been difficulties for some associates in the Paso store with finding a doctor that will take the coverage.
    – The network doctor plan goes up to almost $100/month for an associate and their family.
    – To take advantage of all of the assortment of life insurance, aflac cancer insurance, Accidental death and dismemberment, 401(k)s, etc, you really would need to be in management. But that is understandable, considering that that is the way at most businesses.
    If you have any other questions, ask I will attempt to answer them.

    One final note: why do the unions want to unionize Wal-Mart employees? Consider that at around $25 a month in dues, unions are missing out on $30 million a month or $360 million a year in dues. That is a huge chunk of change the unions would like to get their hands on.

  21. Bob from San Luis
    May 13, 2006 at 4:38 am

    Rich: .. a part-time insurance plan is in the works… – okay; you asked why unions want to represent the Wal-Mart employees? To start with, the UFCW contract with grocery employers dictates a minimum of 24 hours a week, which is the requirement for an employee to maintain insurance coverage. Every part-time employee who maintains a 24 hour minimum work week has insurance coverage. There is currently no cost for the coverage to the employee, but there is a deductable for major coverage for each year, and a co-pay for services depending on what those services are. Much better than nothing, at a cost (co-pay) that most employees can live with. Then there is the matter of actual representation; employees have a level of representation that protects employees from intimidation, harrassment, and the union helps enforce federal wage and hourly regulations that state that employees must be paid for all time worked. No free-timing is tolerated; Wal-Mart has a history of requiring employees to attempt to do more work than can be completed in the time allotted, with absolutly no over time allowed; which is a method used to get employees to work off the clock, working for free.
    There are still union grocery stores where this happens to this day; the union actively looks for these violations to protect the employees, and would do so for Wal-Mart employees as well. The employees union dues would be based on the job duties and classification, the higher paying jobs have higher dues, lesser paying jobs have lower dues. Here is a quote from the UFCW website regarding use of dues monies: “Like members of most organizations, we pay dues. Our dues bring large rewards in pay raises, benefits, job security, representation and working conditions. The added pay and benefits workers receive through belonging to the union are much more than the cost of union dues. The dues go to pay for organizers, legal assistance, support staff, rent, materials, etc… which are all needed to maintain good contracts and adequate representation. No one pays dues until workers have voted to accept a contract.” The claim is, dues = overhead. Many who loathe the idea of unions assume that dues monies are used for political purposes; in the UFCW money gathered for political purposes is voluntary, if you as a member don’t agree with the union’s political views, don’t contribute to the pac. In the mean time, you as a member still recieve the protection of being in the union. It’s not rocket science, if you are represented by a union, your job is more secure, you have protection against unjust termination and harrassment, and you can do your job without intimidation and fear that your boss will suddenly decide for no reason that you have to go. The companies whose employees have not joined a union (Trader Joes, Costco) pay their employees well, and treat their employees with respect and don’t mistreat them. Having union representation doesn’t suddenly make your job ideal, but does reduce the stress of your job.

  22. Paul Hogue
    July 1, 2006 at 3:24 am

    From Chuck:

    Kirk is so short-sighted. All he cares about is saving a buck, or two. Big frigging deal. Do some research, pal, and find out what happens when a Super Wal Mart comes to town. Find out what has happened in other parts of the country.

    Yes, consumers should have a choice and I also am a good free market Republican, but a Super Center isn’t a good fit for Atascadero, less than 10 miles away from the Wal Mart in Paso. Duh!

    I moved back to California from Phoenix last last year. We lived most of our 3 years there in a well-to-do part of the NW Valley. Our house was surrounded by Walmarts.

    A Neighborhood market 1 mile east of us. A plain old regular Walmart store a mile south and west of us, and a Super Center 3 miles west in a straight line.

    It’s not about proximity Chuck. If there is a market for their goods and services they will come in and they will serve it, better than most of their competitors can.

    And as for the “Walmart kills local business,” meme, I would offer you the following observation.

    My wife hails from Lompoc, somewhat larger than Atascadero but by no means a large town. For years the local Rexall pharmacy competed with a Longs Drugs and the local Walmart.

    The Rexall closed down last year and finally called it quits. Too much pressure from Walmart?

    No, Walmart didn’t do anything to them that wasn’t already happening as a result of the presence of grocery and pharmacy chains in town. If forced to point to a single culprit for the demise of the local drug store I’d have to point, not in the direction of the large, evil and despicable Walmart but rather the opening of the city’s first Walgreens store.

    Grocery and pharmacy chains have done more to put local business under than Walmart could ever hope to do in many cities.

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