Report reveals Wal-Mart’s misdeeds

    Wal-Mart’s low prices are misleading in light of the amount Americans end up paying in taxes to help subsidize the retailer’s low-paid and under-insured employees, a congressional study released Feb. 16 said.

    The report, released by Democrats on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, estimates Wal-Mart’s practices cost taxpayers nearly $1.3 billion annually in medical care, housing assistance and Title I education costs. Employees must tap into these resources, even during full-time employment, in order to survive.

    While Wal-Mart touts its low prices, the company’s presence in the American economy has a devastating effect. Store employees earn substandard wages and as a result draw upon government resources. All attempts to unionize workers are quelled and Wal-Mart constantly faces multiple unfair labor practice allegations in court.

    U.S. manufacturers are pressured to lower their prices to compete for Wal-Mart contracts, which results in production jobs lost overseas.

    Competitors lose market share as Wal-Mart’s low prices attract more customers. Other businesses slash their employee benefits to compete with Wal-Mart’s rock-bottom prices. The five month-long labor dispute between local grocery chains and the United Food and Commercial Workers union is a prime example — the prospects of Wal-Mart Superstores entering Southern California can be potentially crippling if the grocery chains don’t slash employee costs in order to lower prices.

    Wal-Mart’s methods must not be the model for U.S. labor practices. Every working family must be able to achieve a standard of living where housing, health care and education are attainable by working alone. Reversing the race toward lower wages and fewer decent jobs must be a greater priority for lawmakers.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal