I am beyond mad about The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision today to deny class-action status to the women suing Walmart for sex discrimination. The suit — representing 1.6 million women who worked at the company from 1998 — was the largest class-action suit in American history. In their 5-4 decision, led by Justice Antonin Scalia (who doesn’t believe women are protected from discrimination under the 14th Amendment), the court decided that Walmart was basically too big to sue. And that decision will have implications for workers and their fair treatment for years to come.
Here’s the problem: Drinking the Walmart Koolaid (they’re too big to sue; they provide jobs in a down economy; et al) doesn’t erase the harm they do to communities all over America, and the world.
In fact, Walmart is the largest publicly traded corporation in the world by revenue and they are the largest employer in America! Walmart — a company whose wealth is equal part low-cost products and employing people at unlivable, low wages — has never allowed unionizing or other forms of collective bargaining. And that’s their strategy!
Here’s some other things that are part of their strategy to keep not only their profits high but their negative impact on communities high, too:
- (Illegally) locking in their employees.
- They have been named a Merchant of Shame.
- Encouraging its employees to rely so heavily on public assistance programs such as WIC and food stamps — and results in nearly half of the children of Walmart employees being uninsured or on Medicaid.
- It avoids paying more than a BILLION (nationwide) in property taxes, sales taxes, and economic development. Think that doesn’t have an impact? Well, I wonder how much taxes Nevada could get if our state collected sales taxes from corporations with headquarters outside Nevada. (Extra credit: How much money would ALL the corporations, banks, etc. pay the state if they had to pony up their share of taxes?)
- The company makes billions in profits and yet the majority of their associates make wages that put a family of four below the poverty line.
- Speaking of poverty, there’s the whole sweatshop labor thing.
- Need more studies and data? Check out this link.
- Wait, this has the 5 biggest reasons why Walmart is evil.
- Okay, and this site has some good points, too.
- Well, and the wikipedia site dedicated to criticisms of Walmart.
So, I don’t care what The Supreme Court says, Walmart IS evil! And any corporation that makes billions by screwing over its workers, the environment, economically depressing the communities it goes into, willingly employing sweatshops, and otherwise being a terrible corporate citizen doesn’t deserve a CENT of my money. Ever!
What’s that line from Spiderman? “With great power comes great responsibility.” If you are the biggest corporation in the WORLD, you have great responsibility! Your power and your example have an impact!