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MONROE

WALMART:
The anti Walmart drums are already beating following announcement Walmart is coming to Monroe

December 24, 2010




Ubiquitous Walmart poster that has long made the rounds on the Internet. CLICK TO ENLARGE
(MONROE, WA) -- Even though WALMART hasn’t turned a shovel of earth yet for the new store it's planning for Monroe, already the jungle drums of dissent are starting and they are aimed squarely at the store that may be America’s most controversial retailer.

Made famous in the Robert Greenwald film “Walmart: The High Price Of Low Cost” (located HERE ) as a killer of Main Street small businesses, Walmart plans on building a new store in the Kelsey Shopping district near Lowe’s and the Galaxy theater on 24-acres of land it is in the process of purchasing from local developer David Sabey.

The land is located at the intersection of Chain Lake Road and N. Kelsey Street in Monroe.

There’s already a Facebook page set up to protest Walmart's entrance into the Sky Valley retail scene located HERE

Linda Cline commented there, “Now that the official word is out, what can we do to stop this horrendous mistake?”

Another reader wrote, “Yeah jobs are great...but do you want min wage without benefits??? Costco would have provided better opportunities.”

Walmart has its defenders as well. Patrick Kemens wrote, “If so many people in Monroe and surrounding areas don’t want wal mart there, dont shop there and if it really is a consensus they will go out of business. its not likely, but who knows.”

Earlier this year the Sky Valley Chronicle talked with the owner of one of Main Street’s long time family owned businesses in Monroe about the prospect of Walmart coming to town. He was not thrilled about it.

SOME LOCAL BUSINESS OWNERS AND LANDOWNERS CONCERNED ABOUT WALMART COMING IN

Dick Neauarth, longtime owner of Dick's Tire Haus on Main Street in Monroe told the Chronicle, “They (Walmart) will take out small businesses, guaranteed. I’m not looking forward to that scenario.”

A local owner of a small shopping center in Monroe, who preferred not to be named, told the Chronicle he was angry that the Monroe Chamber of Commerce would not take a stand on Walmart coming into town saying, “The chamber told me they would not take a public stand because they think this is just political (the Walmart controversy) and they don’t look at the devastating impact that Walmart has on communities…it’s not on their radar screen.”

This land owner told the Chronicle the city of Monroe should have long ago passed an ordinance limiting the size of stores that retailers can put up, adding that if Walmart “comes in here and plops down a 160,000 square foot “superstore” it could be devastating to all kinds of small retail shops,” not to mention, he said, the landlords of the buildings that have spent years attracting those small businesses, nurturing them along and holding on to them for the long haul.

A Wal-Mart news release said the plan for Monroe is a 155,000-square-foot store.

WALMART’S REPUTATION FOR BEING ANTI-UNION

Part of the controversy about Wamart is its famous anti-union stance. In 2008 the New York Times broke the story that Walmart executives were so concerned about a Democrat being elected President of the United States – and possibly passing the Employee Free Choice Act – that some Walmart store managers and department supervisors had been warning other managers in meetings that if Democrats were elected and won the White House, they would pass the act which the company reportedly viewed as making it easier for employees to unionize and thus the Walmart employees could somehow lose certain company benefits because of that.

As of 2008 there was not one unionized store in the Walmart chain at a time when the company was hailed as the world's largest public corporation by revenue and America’s largest retailer, not to mention the largest private employer in the world and the fourth largest utility or commercial employer, trailing only the British National Health Service and the Indian Railways.

In the film “Walmart: The High Price Of Low Cost” the movie’s producers detail what they claim is a “retail giant's assault on families and American values…the film dives into the deeply personal stories and everyday lives of families and communities struggling to fight a goliath. A working mother is forced to turn to public assistance to provide healthcare for her two small children. A Missouri family loses its business after Wal-Mart is given over $2 million to open its doors down the road. A mayor struggles to equip his first responders after Wal-Mart pulls out and relocates just outside the city limits.”

The film, made in 2005, cited the following statistics:

WAL-MART Drives Down Retail Wages $3 BILLION Every Year

·      "A recent study by researchers at UC Berkeley's Labor Center has quantified what happened to retail wages when Wal-Mart set up shop, drawing on 15 years of data on actual store openings. The study found that Wal-Mart drives down wages in urban areas, with an annual loss of at least $3 billion dollars in earnings for retail workers.

·      UPDATE: Since the completion of our film, the study has been finalized and published, and the published findings produced a different number for the annual loss in retail earnings than the preliminary figure we used in the film. The published study ultimately found that Wal-Mart actually reduced the take-home pay of retail workers by $4.7 BILLION dollars annually. Unfortunately for the retail workers this statistic concerns, Wal-Mart's effect on retail wages turns out to be worse than we had anticipated.

·      Source: Arindrajit Dube, "Impact of Wal-Mart Growth on Earnings throughout the Retail Sector in Urban and Rural Counties" UC Berkeley Labor Center, November 2005."

Greenwald's film can be viewed HERE

A MAN WHO CLAIMS THE REAL STORY OF WALMART IS THE ONE NO ONE HEARS

In a December 2003 story, a robust investigative piece in the online magazine fastcompany.com titled “The Walmart You Don’t Know,” writer Charles Fishman laid out what he called the “real story” of Walmart, the one that never gets told in the media.

The real story, writes Fishman, is “the story of the pressure the biggest retailer relentlessly applies to its suppliers in the name of bringing us "every day low prices." It's the story of what that pressure does to the companies Wal-Mart does business with, to U.S. manufacturing, and to the economy as a whole.”

The article can be found HERE .

In the story, Mona Williams head of PR for Walmart responded to criticism of the company by saying, “Our reputation is that we are a very honest, ethical company, and our associates (employees) tell our story better than anyone.”

For its part, Walmart generally believes it is the target of a lot of bad press and portrayals in the media of the company that are not accurate.

Some seven years ago Walmart launched "reputation" ads featuring employees speaking positively about the company. Walmart also began responding more to critical news stories.

THE LAND DEAL IN MONROE

Ironically the Monroe City Council last year refused to sell the land that Walmart plans to build on, to David Sabey's corporation. The offer price was $9.6 million. The city then sold the land to Sabey later for $7.5 million.

Walmart announced Wednesday it would be building a store on that land. The store will sell not only general merchandise but food and produce as well.

Walmart currently operates 49 Walmart stores, three Sam's Clubs and one distribution center in Washington State.

The store will reportedly create about 300 local jobs.





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