Thursday, March 31, 2005

A Wal-Mart in Every Town

by Kyle Michaelis
Add Nebraska City to the ever-increasing cities with a Wal-Mart Supercenter. The store is tentatively slated to open in late 2006 or early 2007, surely putting the fear of God in local retailers and grocers.
"The emphasis that I placed with the Wal-Mart representatives was that they understand the uniqueness of Nebraska City, as far as our historic appeal and being the home of Arbor Day," Mayor Jo Dee Adelung said.

Oh, I'm sure they'll be more than happy to plant a few trees in front of the store. Expecting more than that from the largest corporation in the world, however, would be preposterous.

On the whole, I don't think Wal-Mart is the ultimate evil some make it out to be. Besides its violation of labor laws and the sickening lengths to which it will go to prevent collective bargaining, there isn't really anything innately wrong with their business model. It's just absolutely essential that the workers unionize and finally receive an honest share of the billions of dollars the company brings in annually, restoring some degree of balance to American commerce.

The rebirth of the labor movement lies in the inevitable confrontation between the American worker and Wal-Mart's Board of Directors. In it could very well lie the fate of univeral health care in this country, not to mention every protection on which the American worker has come to rely won by the progressive movements of the 20th Century. We must steel ourselves for the battle. We must also remind Wal-Mart's legions of hard-working, under-educated, uninsured employees that they are human, they are Americans, and - damn it - THEY DESERVE BETTER!


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