Take heed

To the editor:
The very possibility of Wal-Mart in our area, anywhere, is dismaying, frustrating, and frightening. Both Fort Frances and International Falls will suffer the loss of a number of businesses, since that behemoth’s very attitude is to sink the little guy who can’t compete.
Folks think that all those “wonderful” bargains are a bonanza. But they don’t stop to think that this giant—the largest private employer in the U.S.—is a veritable Scrooge in its treatment of its employees, and sexist, to boot.
Those “wonderful” bargains are on the backs of the very low-paid workers. Wal-Mart does not give health insurance, or if it does, most employees can’t afford it.
The base wage of $7.50 /hr is really not enough to live on: pay for shelter, pay for transportation to work, pay for child care, pay for health insurance, pay for car, gas and car insurance, and groceries.
00020000059B00000378595, Not a single Wal-Mart is unionized, and they are aggressive in keeping them out. They also have committed numerous violations of the right to organize. There is pressure to work overtime, but no extra pay. Dependency is created by the low prices.
There have been a number of suits against Wal-Mart for sexual discrimination. Almost all have been won by the plaintiffs and some large punitive awards have been made, and there are a number of suits pending.
There also is a race discrimination suit pending.
Wal-Mart was removed from the Domini 400 Social Index for failure to make sufficient efforts to uphold labour rights and for “unresponsiveness to calls for change.” Other than Nike, Wal-Mart is the only company that has been removed for this reason.
Their attitude seems to be repressive; that they’d rather hire new employees than be decent to current workers, with few or no rewards for good performance. Wearing blue jeans are allowed on Fridays, but you have to pay $1 to do it.
I find it hard to understand that a community would accept such a business once they understand what it represents. Menards and K-Mart are bad enough, they lost us Ace Hardware here in International Falls, but Wal-Mart is the pits—and everybody will be the loser in the long run.
It is to be hoped that the Fort Frances municipal council will deny Wal-Mart a place.
Ruth Anderson
3130 County Rd 93,
International Falls, Mn.