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May 12, 2004

Wal-Mart: Stealing Health Care

The New York Times has highlighted the coming Justice at Work campaign to target Wal-Mart. This is a big story with the airing of internal union complaints about the UFCW's failure to aggressively organize Wal-Mart. And a great quote by HERE head, John Wilhelm, saying:

the A.F.L.-C.I.O. focus on just two things after the November elections: politics and finding ways to press Wal-Mart to improve wages and benefits. "Wal-Mart is the largest employer in the U.S.,'' Mr. Wilhelm said. "It's incredibly pervasive in its race-to-the-bottom influence.''
But the real money quote comes from Wal-Mart defending its lack of health care for its employees:
[Wal-Mart spokesperson] said that while critics say 40 percent of Wal-Mart's workers do not have company health insurance, 90 percent of its employees have health benefits through some plan - perhaps a spouse's or through state Medicaid.
Read that quote carefully. What Wal-Mart is saying is first, they are depending on other companies to provide health care for their employees, thereby driving up health costs for other businesses-- a nice trick of unfair competition.

But secondly, this Wal-Mart spokesperson is admitting that a lot of their employees are paid so badly that they qualify for MEDICAID?!!! Essentially, Wal-Mart is stealing money from overburdened health care for the poor to subsidize their low-wage employment practices.

This is admission of guilt straight from the horse's mouth-- Wal-Mart admits they pay poverty wages and steal health care funds from the rest of us.

If you need any argument on why we need to make Wal-Mart a prime target for progressive organizing, this is the best reason.

Posted by Nathan at May 12, 2004 09:18 AM