An internal audit obtained by The New York Times documents thousands of violations of state labor laws at Wal-Mart stores. The audit, performed by the company in 2000, uncovered 1,371 violations of child labor laws, 60,767 cases of missed breaks, and 15,705 instances when employees skipped meals at 128 stores during a one-week period.… Read More
The annual premium a full-time Wal-Mart employee must pay for coverage for her and her spouse is $2,672 (with a $350 deductible), which amounts to about 19 percent of her pre-tax earnings, according to the report. Part-time employees (under 34 hours per week) are only eligible to enroll after two years on the job and even then, coverage is available only for themselves, not their families. Full-time workers are eligible for family coverage after six months.… Read More
An article in the October 2003 issue of Consumer Reports opens with the following recommendation: "If you’re among the 47 percent of Americans who get medicine from drugstore giants such as CVS, Eckerd, and Rite Aid, here’s a prescription: Try shopping somewhere else. The best place to start looking is one of the 25,000 independent pharmacies that are making a comeback throughout the U.S." The article highlights the results of a year-long survey of more than 32,000 readers about their drugstore experiences.… Read More
This report, a collaboration between the Institute of Local Self-Reliance and The Preservation Trust of Vermont, outlines why locally owned businesses matter and provides practical ways to build a homegrown economy. Most strategies are applicable anywhere, not just Vermont.… Read More
Three times as much money stays in the local economy when you buy goods and services from locally owned businesses instead of large chain stores, according to this analysis, which tracked the revenue and expenditures of eight locally owned businesses in Midcoast Maine and compared their economic impact with that of a large big-box retailer. … Read More
Three times as much money stays in the local economy when you buy goods and services from locally owned businesses instead of large chain stores, according to an analysis by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Friends of Midcoast Maine.
The study tracked the revenue and expenditures of eight locally owned businesses in the Maine towns of Rockland, Camden, and Belfast. The businesses—which represented a range of goods and services—collectively employed 62 people and had sales of $5.7 million in 2002.
As big box stores and chain retailers consume more and more undeveloped land, polluted runoff from their parking lots is placing an ever greater burden on the nation’s rivers, lakes, and coastal waters. Storm water control measures and filtration systems produce only modest improvement, according to experts. A better solution is to channel commerce back into compact downtowns and neighborhood business districts, which are far less polluting. … Read More
"When . . . a large development wants to be in your town, you see the tax values surrounding that. . . I think the tendency is to think this is really going to give us a solid foundation," George Fowler, mayor of Pineville, North Carolina, told the Charlotte Observer. "But you don’t realize at that particular point the impact it’s going to have on the services you have to provide."… Read More
Big retailers are increasingly coming under fire from small and mid-sized manufacturers. Last month, more than 1,000 employees and owners of small manufacturing firms attended a rally in Connecticut to denounce Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Target, and other chains for forcing large manufacturers to move their factories to China. … Read More