Albany County Declines Wal-Mart Donation

Date: 1 Apr 2004 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Citing Wal-Mart’s failure to provide a decent wage and health benefits for most of its employees, the Albany (New York) County Legislature voted in March to decline a $1,000 donation from the corporation.

The donation had been earmarked for the county’s low-income health care program, but many lawmakers saw it as a disingenuous attempt to appear responsive to community needs. They noted that county programs are undoubtedly covering the health care costs of many Wal-Mart employees and their families. Most Wal-Mart workers are either ineligible for the company’s health care plan or unable to afford the premiums.

“We should send that $1,000 back to Wal-Mart, back to Arkansas, and tell them to give it to their employees for health insurance,” said Legislator Gary Domalewicz. “We shouldn’t help them enhance their corporate image.”

The donation was rejected on a bipartisan 33-4 vote.

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Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and directs its Independent Business Initiative, which partners with a wide range of allies to implement policies that counter concentrated power and strengthen local economies.