Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Shopping at Walmart made more moral, maybe

The New York Times reports today that Walmart has reached a $640 million settlement with employees involving wage and hour and other workplace abuses dating back to the year 2000. Some employees were not even allowed to take meal breaks. Outrageous.

The world's largest retailer has recently been making amends for its wrongs in various workplace wrongs' settlements for mega-millions of dollars.

I shop at Walmart due to low prices. But I do so with a some of my conscience held at bay. I know it can offer low prices because it buys from the Chinese, who are not known for human rights let alone labor rights. I know store employees are not paid a lot and only recently got health care coverage.

The settlement of the lawsuits helps. Another big lawsuit remains unsettled, yet Walmart says it is new and more moral in how it treats its employees. I sure hope so. I'm not a believer, however, in trusting corporations. Employees I question about working for the company are positive in their responses.

But it still is a struggle for me to shop at Walmart. More strides must be made for worker salaries and benefits and in disconnecting from China's sweatshops.

Thankfully, the corporation has decided to temporarily halt the building of new mega centers across the country. And Memphians were the last to turn back one of Walmart's huge developments.

If it were not for a bad economy, Walmart sales would not be as strong and rightly so. And I would stay completely away and encourage others to do likewise.

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