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Mart_ Blog _ Wal-Mart Watch _ Fighting for Wal-Mart Workers _ Employe

Mart_ Blog _ Wal-Mart Watch _ Fighting for Wal-Mart Workers _ Employe

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Published by: Will Thanheiser on Aug 04, 2010
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Battle-Mart: Blog | Wal-Mart Watch | Fighting for Wal-Mart Workers | Employee Free Choice Acthttp://walmartwatch.com/battlemart/blog/P240/[7/15/2010 11:38:23 AM]
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In the two sections below,you can find specificexamples, original documentsand links to other websitesorganized by the type of tactic or issue.
EnvironmentEconomic (Small Business)Workers Rights & WagesCrime & SafetyCommunity ImpactTraffic/SprawlBattle-Mart is a joint projectof Wal-Mart Watch and AlNorman and Steve Alves.
Is the American public reaching its saturation point with big box stores?A new opinion poll published by the Santa Rosa, California Press Democratnewspaper suggests that most people don’t want more, or bigger,superstores. The newspaper reports this week that its readers “aregenerally opposed to many of the pending big-box plans in Sonoma County,including a proposed Lowe’s in Santa Rosa and a Wal-Mart expansion inRohnert Park.” Readers tended to favor locally-owned stores instead of thenational chains. For example, an overwhelming 80% of those who respondedto the newspaper survey said that if they had to make a choice between alocally-owned home improvement store, or a Lowe’s chain store, thelocally-owned store was preferred. “As a community, we absolutely need tosupport our locally owned businesses” wrote a couple in Santa Rosa. Somereaders said they actually drive across town to shop at local stores,going past the big box chains, like Home Depot. 63% of those who respondedto the two day survey said they oppose plans by Lowe’s to build a 155,000s.f. in Santa Rosa. That project is coming before the Santa Rosa CityCouncil this coming week. “Another huge store on Santa Rosa Avenue isunnecessary,” said one resident. “That area is over-saturated as it is.” 54% of readers oppose a plan by Wal-Mart to expand its Rohnert Park,California store by 35,000 s.f., and another 12% were unsure. Only 34%supported Wal-Mart’s expansion plans. “Please, we do not need an expandedWal-Mart in Rohnert Park,” wrote a Rohnert Park resident. “I never go tothat store.” 68% of those who took the survey said they were be willing topay more for an item if they knew they were supporting a locally ownedbusiness. 56% said they “frequently” or “always” made their shoppingdecisions based on whether the store is locally owned. “We’ve found thatwhen we make big purchases, often the local dealer can come pretty close(in price.) And we would much rather do business with locally ownedstore,” wrote one resident of Petaluma, California. “For every dollarspent, only 15 cents are recirculated locally when a purchase is made at anational chain,” wrote a resident of Windsor, California. “Forty-fivecents are recirculated when that same dollar is spent at a locally ownedchain. National chains rob us of economic sustainability.” Read the rest of this story ...Topics:Posted by Al Norman on Monday, May 11, 2009 |Permalink
On July 15, 2008, Sprawl-Busters reported that residents in Wawarsing, NewYork, and the village of Ellenville, New York were fighting a ‘secret’ Wal-Mart. Ellenville describes itself as “cute” and “one of the most
Battle-Mart: Blog | Wal-Mart Watch | Fighting for Wal-Mart Workers | Employee Free Choice Acthttp://walmartwatch.com/battlemart/blog/P240/[7/15/2010 11:38:23 AM]
Al Norman stopped Wal-Martfrom locating in his hometownof Greenfield, Massachusettsom 1993 and his fightcontinues today.Named "enemy no. 1" byFortune Magazine, Al runsSprawl-Busters, and hastraveled throughout the U.S.helping dozens of localcoalitions.> Learn More About Albeautiful, up and coming communities in the area.” This little communityin the Catskills has six very big Wal-Mart supercenters within 30 miles,in Monticello, Middletown, Kingston, Fishkill, Newburgh, and Milford PA.The census count in Ellenville in 2006 was only 3,926---a loss of 317people since 1990. It’s doubtful that those 317 people left the village of Ellenville to move closer to a Wal-Mart---but for the people who remain,their “cute” village and surrounding town of Wawarsing is going to beturned on its head by a proposed Wal-Mart supercenter, located two milesnorth of Ellenville in the hamlet of Napanoch. According to the TimesHerald-Record, Wal-Mart has signed a contract to buy an existing shoppingcenter called the Napanoch Valley Mall. The potential sale of the 20-acreproperty was announced by the village Mayor, Jeff Kaplan---who alsohappens to be the lawyer for the owner of the mall. Wal-Mart has put up$250,000 in an escrow account to hold the $5.5 million property. “Everybody knows who it is, but you don’t really know,” WawarsingSupervisor Edward Jennings told the media back in July of 2008.. It is thetown of Wawarsing which will permit the project, not the village. In lateJuly, 2008, lawyers, architects, and engineers from Wal-Mart met withselected town officials in Town Hall. In order to keep the press andpublic out--at Wal-Mart’s “request”--no more than two town councilmen werepresent at any one time, to circumvent open-meeting law requirements.Preliminary plans for a 140,000 s.f. supercenter were unveiled. TheMayor/Lawyer, who clearly has known about the project for months, if notyears, said, “This has been a lengthy process, but there is clearly moreactivity as of late than there was previously. We anticipate that it willbe fast-tracked in the near future.” The Napanoch Mall lost its steam whenits two main anchors, Ames and Grand Union, succumbed to competition fromthe Wal-Mart fleet of stores in the area. Several small businesses remainat the Mall, but it will be ironic for Wal-Mart to build in the mall thatit helped to kill in the first place. On November 28, 2008, Sprawl-Bustersnoted that Wal-Mart was before the Wawarsing Planning Board. The TimesHerald-Record said the Planning Board had to relocate its public hearingon the store’s site plan in order to fit all the attendees in the room.Wawarsing Supervisor Jennings told the newspaper that people in town willremain loyal to small businesses. On March 27, 2009, Sprawl-Busters notedthat the Warwarsing Planning Board had given Wal-Mart a big short-cut tosuccess. The Board issued a “negative declaration” under the New YorkSEQRA law (State Environmental Quality Review Act). Competing grocerychain ShopRite had an attorney at the hearing. Shoprite’s lawyer asked howthe Board could vote on a negative declaration if the public hearingprocess had not yet been closed. The towns’ lawyer explained that thepublic hearings for the past several months were not part of the SEQRAprocess at all—just a way for the Planning Board to gather publiccomments. The Planning Board proceeded to rule that the Wal-Martsupercenter would not have any significant impact on water, drainage,plants or wildlife, nor on the view or aesthetic character of thecommunity. The Board concluded that there might be a “small to moderate” impact on traffic pattern due to the expansion of the mall’s footprint.State law also requires the Board to rule on economic impacts, and thePlanning Board said that the superstore would have a large positive impacton the area’s economy because of an estimated 200 jobs that would becreated—although they had no evidence of this job impact other thanWal-Mart’s own statement. The Board noted that the Ellenville VillageBoard of Trustees had voted the night before to support the project. TheUlster County Planning Board had recommended that Wawarsing’s PlanningBoard should issue a positive declaration---but Wawarsing ignored thatrecommendation. This week, the Times Herald-Record reported that Shop Riteand a local citizen’s group have sued Wawarsing to try and kill theproject. The lawsuit was filed on April 23, 2009 by theWawarsing-Ellengive for Responsible Development (WERD) and Shop Rite. Thelatter is a grocery chain which employs more than 50,000 people throughoutNew Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland.The lawsuit says the town’s Planning Board unjustly bypassed the fullenvironmental review that this huge retail project should have received.This is the largest retail building in the history of Wawarsing. ThePlanning Board’s vote to short-cut the state environmental review happenedin March. The board said that because the site Wal-Mart wants is part of the existing Napanoch Valley Mall, and has been used for retail andgrocery sales when Ames and Grand Union were the anchors, that a positivedeclaration of environmental impact was not necessary. ShopRite and WERDcharge that the town missed the 20-day deadline to skip the long reviewafter declaring they’d be lead agency for the project. WawarsingSupervisor Jennings described the lawsuit as “absolutely ridiculous.” Jennings said he expects Wal-Mart to move forward despite the litigation. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s a go,” Jennings told the newspaper.According to the Times Herald-Record, Shop Rite has been very aggressiveabout litigating against projects that “threaten its market share.” Thenewspaper says Shop Rite sued in the town of New Windsor, New York to stop
Battle-Mart: Blog | Wal-Mart Watch | Fighting for Wal-Mart Workers | Employee Free Choice Acthttp://walmartwatch.com/battlemart/blog/P240/[7/15/2010 11:38:23 AM]
a Price Chopper, in Thompson, New York to oppose another Wal-Mart, and inThompson to delay a Hannaford’s grocery. According to the newspaper, noneof the Shop Rite appeals stopped the projects—but they did delaly them. “We spent a lot of time and a lot of dollars in court because of ShopRite,” the supervisor in Thompson, New York told the newspaper.Read the rest of this story ...Topics:Posted by Al Norman on Monday, May 11, 2009 |Permalink
On January 3, 2009, Sprawl-Busters reported that the police in NassauCounty, New York had released a new plan designed to prevent therecurrence of a trampling death that took place at a Valley Stream, LongIsland Wal-Mart. According to Newsday, which says the plan was releasedDecember 31st, the new report will require Wal-Mart to be much betterprepared than it was when bargain hunters took the life of a temporaryworker at the retailer’s Valley Stream store. Nassau County Police wantWal-Mart to plan thoroughly, arrange for efficient crowd control andengage in clear communication, to prevent another tragedy. Wal-Martresponded by saying, “We look forward to continuing to work with lawenforcement to make our safety measures even stronger in the future.” Thenew report was the result of private discussions that took place in midDecember at police headquarters, attended by 75 representatives from areadepartment stores and malls. The retailers and the police were underpressure to demonstrate that some reforms would be made in the wake of thedeath November 28, 2008 of Jdimytai Damour of Queens, who was called “aseasonal worker” by Newsday. Wal-Mart officials were at the closed-doormeeting at the Nassau police station. In their report, Nassau police saidthey will respond and assist when needed, “but the responsibility for thesecurity and control of these sales events rests with the store. Storeadministrators should never market a sales event without having a plan,and the proper resources to manage it.” The police report also notes, “history has shown that large-scale events can turn from an orderlygathering to chaos as the doors open. Ultimately the goal is to provide asafe and comfortable shopping experience for patrons.” This requires “cooperation from the business owners, mall security, contract securityemployees and law enforcement. These special sales pose unique challengesto the business owner, mall owner and those who are charged with providingsecurity for the event.” The Nassau County police recommended thatretailers should: 1) begin planning months before the sales event 2) makesure enough trained employees are present 3) request an “intensive patrol” from the local police, and alert officers of large or unruly crowds 4)communicate with waiting customers with signs and announcements 5) set upbarricades or rope lines that reduce the risk of a crowd surge or stampede6) hand out wristbands or numbered tickets as customers arrive 7) allowcustomers to enter in small groups 8) have automated externaldefibrillators, and trained staff, on hand. Just before Christmas, therewas a rally held in front of the Valley Stream Wal-Mart. A group calledthe Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, told the media: “Thiswasn’t the crowd’s fault. Wal-Mart should have had a plan in place to dealwith this difficult situation.” The demonstrators held candles and signs,and wore pins with Damour’s face that read “Black Friday kills.” Aspokesman for the group The Workplace Project, said Wal-Mart’s BlackFriday failings were just part of a larger issues with its workforce. “Ihope that [shoppers] don’t go into Wal-Mart,” a spokesman told Newsday. “If they do go into Wal-Mart, they should think about how they’re walkingwhere someone’s blood was spilled.” This week the press widely reportedthat Wal-Mart had bought itself out of this trampling death with roughly$2 million in corporate funds. The retailer agreed to improve safety atits New York state stores as part of a deal that will avoid all criminalcharges against the company. Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Ricesaid that if she had brought criminal charges against the retailer in theworker’s death, the company would have been subject to only a $10,000 fineif convicted. Instead, the D.A.’s office worked out a deal in whichWal-Mart agrees to improved crowd-management plans for post-ThanksgivingDay sales, and creates a $400,000 victims’ compensation and remunerationfund. As another face-saving payoff, Wal-Mart will give $1.5 million toNassau County social services programs and nonprofit groups. D.A. Ricecalled this agreement “historic.” The D.A. deal allowing Wal-Mart to buy

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