Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Live From Town Hall: A Costly Truth

Paul Blank, the campaign director for WakeUp WalMart, just took the stage to talk about the tour and the goals of the movement a few minutes ago. (To get an idea of what he's saying to the audience here at Town Hall Seattle, listen to this interview that he recorded with me two days ago).

UPDATE: We're now watching the WakeUp WalMart presentation, A Costly Truth, which paints in clear, stark terms why we're talking about WalMart as a social and political issues. Here's some snippets from the presentation.
  • Wal-Mart is #2 on the Fortune 500 (used to be #1)
  • 315 billion in sales in 2006
  • 11.2 billion profits
  • 1.38 million employees
  • 3,800 stores
  • Wal-Mart is bigger than Microsoft, Boeing, and McDonalds - combined. It's a massive company with a massive impact.
  • Wal-Mart has the most stores in Arkansas. One store per 30,248 Americans in Arkansas. If Wal-Mart was like that in every state in would have 9,690 stores by 2025 based on its growth in Arkansas. It could be the first company with trillion dollar sales.
  • Full time Wal-Mart employees will earn $2,200 below the 2005 poverty line for a family of four. And This year, Wal-Mart this year is shifting 200,000 employees from full time to part time so it can pay them even less.
  • 54% percent of Wal-Mart employees, by its own account, have no company health care (that's over 700,000).
  • In 18 out of 19 states where the data is available, Wal-Mart leads all employers with workers on public health care.
  • The number of workers insured by Wal-Mart declined by 2 percent between 2005 and 2006 after the introduction of their "value health care plan"
  • Subsidizing Wal-Mart's healthcare costs will cost American taxpayers over $1.4 billion this year
  • The Waltons, descendants of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton are worth $77 billion
  • Lee Scott, Wal-Mart's CEO, makes 871 times what the average Wal-Mart worker. The average full time Wal-Mart worker would have to work a 1000 years to earn what Lee Scott made in 2004.
  • Wal-Mart's business practices ripple across the country. If WalMart pays poverty level wages, why should any other retailer pay higher? And if WalMart leaves its workers without health care, why should other employers do anything differently?
  • Wal-Mart would be able to give each of its U.S. employees a raise of $1.45 an hour and only have to raise prices by one penny per dollar (actually less than a penny).
We will be hearing from our U.S. Senators shortly.

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