Small businesses are sometimes criticized as being bad for workers — but that idea is wrong. In this piece, we look at how small and large businesses compare on concrete metrics like wages, and find that in some industries, including retail, employees at small businesses earn more. There’s also a larger way in which the interests of small businesses and working people are aligned, we argue: Both groups benefit when public policy works to disperse economic power.… Read More
When shoppers interact with Amazon, they see an innovator. But behind the scenes, Amazon relies on a labor model that looks a lot more like the past than the future. This fact sheet that breaks down how this powerful corporation is undermining working people — and what we need to do.… Read More
In a way, Walmart’s Buy America program represents the home stretch of the economic transformation the company set in motion decades ago, when it set out to replace the American middle class, rooted in small business ownership and unionized jobs, with a vast underclass that has little choice but to rely on Walmart’s shoddy, short-lived products.… Read More
Raising the pay of Wal-Mart’s U.S. workers to a minimum of $12 an hour would lift many out of poverty and cost the average consumer, at most, $12.49 a year, according to a new study published by the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. … Read More
As the company’s misdeeds pile up in the public consciousness, it can be tempting to define the problem of Wal-Mart as one of a bad apple—a rogue company gone awry in an otherwise sound economic system.
Wal-Mart has indeed attained a scale that puts it in a category all its own, and there’s no question that it is leading a race to the bottom. But others are running that race too. Target’s wages are as poor and its health benefits as out of reach. Home Depot and Lowe’s have crushed thousands of independent hardware stores. Best Buy has its main sourcing office Shanghai, where it relies on the same dismal factories.
The Danish Confederation of Trade Unions (Landsorganisationen or LO) has announced that all of its pension funds will sell their shares of Wal-Mart stock in opposition to the "Walmartization" of wages and working conditions worldwide. "As the company has such a bad reputation, and a directly anti-human corporate philosophy, we see no other alternative than to disqualify Wal-Mart as an object for ethically responsible investment," said Svend Sorensen, president of one LO-affiliated pension fund.… Read More
Taxpayers are picking up the tab for Wal-Mart’s low wages and meager benefits, according to a new congressional report. Prepared by the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and released by Rep. George Miller in February, the report concludes that the federal government is providing an average of $2,100 annually in public assistance per Wal-Mart employee. … Read More