Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I am a lifelong Topeka resident. My grandparents settled here after WWII. I have seen how the wellness and prosperity of our city has declined, since before I could even vote.
You, dear neighbors, deserve to know the truth about Wal-Mart. I understand the east-side needs a boon to bring up the neighborhood, but Wal-Mart is not a good choice for prosperity. President Obama recently stated that “reversing the forces that have conspired against the middle class for decades will require more than short term thinking; it will require a long term American strategy, based on steady persistent effort.” Wal-Mart will not shore up the middle class or anchor the neighborhood, but will rather perpetuate poverty. Watch Wal-Mart:The High Cost of Low Price.
Instead of paying higher wages Wal-Mart encourages associates to apply for food assistance. 80% of Wal-Mart employees use social assistance programs, continuing the taxpayer burden. Wal-Mart is #1 on the Fortune 500 list. If Wal-Mart were a country, it would be the 25th largest economy in the world. CEO Mike Duke is paid $35,000,000 per year. An average Wal-Mart associate earns $8.80 per hour. That means the Wal-Mart CEO pockets the same amount of money every hour as one of his associates earns in an entire year.
The Economic Policy Institute has reported that, from 1978-2012 CEO compensation in the U.S. increased by 875% while the typical worker’s wage only rose 5.4%.
The E.P.I. has also found that Wal-Mart could easily pay its employees $10 per hour, without hurting their profits. If the company did choose to raise prices in response to raising wages, they would only have to raise sticker prices 1%. 1 penny on every dollar would provide a living wage to all Wal-Mart employees. (www.epi.org)
Besides the wage issue, Wal-Mart has been taken to court numerous times for illegal dumping and improper handling of pesticides and other hazardous wastes. Check out the news from Color Lines here.
Democracy NOW reports Wal-Mart has been directly linked to the Bangladesh factory fires and collapsed buildings, and has rejected a plan requiring firms that profit from low wages to help pay for fire safety & building improvement in tactile factories.
The United Food & Commercial Workers International Union published a report in 2006 that stated, simply, where Wal-Mart goes, crime follows, and the burden again falls on the taxpayers and the municipal police, not Wal-Mart security.
Please remember that Wal-Mart spokespersons are only going to tell you the shiny-happy information that may be relative to inquiring minds. The truth is much deeper, and as Gloria Steinem once said, it will piss you off! Free yourself and our city from the addiction of consumerism, say NO to Wal-Mart! Topeka City Planning meeting Aug 19th at 6pm.