Law School Discussion

wal-mart and unions

Re: wal-mart and unions
« Reply #30 on: August 04, 2008, 04:02:21 PM »

I don't care about Walmart's profits, I care about my own taxes going up because of the cost of benefits for their underpaid employees. That, and the exploited workers themselves.  I have nothing good to say about Walmart.

1.  Define underpaid. 

2.  Define exploited.

Seems to me the workers at WalMart get a fair wage for what they do.  If you don't want to pay higher taxes for someone's benefits, there's other ways to stop that.

http://www.mindfully.org/Industry/2004/Wal-Mart-Workers-Lock-Ins18jan04.htm

I know, you'll probably say that these employees have choices and could work elsewhere.  However, as has already been mentioned, when you don't have much education and you're living in a town where many other smaller businesses have likely gone under due to Walmart's presence, that tends to reduce your options quite substantially.

Within the scope of the conversation, the point was perfectly relevant.


Quote
In any event, has this practice been deemed illegal in all states?  Last I read, it was legal in some states, provided there is a fire exit.  Of course, the problem came from the fact that these people were told that if they used that exit and there was no fire, they'd be fired (even if it was an emergency).

This is silly.  Why not simply fire anyone who walks out the unlocked front door?

Ummm...because it hasn't been unlocked, which has been the whole point????  Because threatening to fire people when they need to leave due to medical emergency (including emergencies that happen from workplace injury) is the mark of a shittastic employer?  If it were that simple and they could just fire anyone who left out of an unlocked front door, why didn't they keep them unlocked in the first place?


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Re: wal-mart and unions
« Reply #31 on: August 04, 2008, 05:02:09 PM »
Ummm...because it hasn't been unlocked, which has been the whole point????  Because threatening to fire people when they need to leave due to medical emergency (including emergencies that happen from workplace injury) is the mark of a shittastic employer?  If it were that simple and they could just fire anyone who left out of an unlocked front door, why didn't they keep them unlocked in the first place?

That was my question.  Why would they lock any doors if there was an unlocked fire exit, and if they could just fire anyone who left through the fire exit, why not just leave all the doors unlocked and fire anyone who left at all.  Something doesn't add up.

And I'm not condoning locking people in, nor am I saying WalMart isn't shittastic to work for (most employers of unskilled labor are), but what does this have to do with unions?

Re: wal-mart and unions
« Reply #32 on: August 04, 2008, 05:21:07 PM »
"Just as all the conservatives have said, if you work for walmart and tell your boss you want $0.50 extra per hour, they'll laugh at you or fire you. "

And you know this because it's true or because you think it's true?

"Second of all, labor is not a resource like other things. If you have an ounce of gold and someone offers you a price you don't like, you can hold on it it and wait for a better price. If someone offers you a bad job with no health care, eventually you are FORCED to accept it--you have to pay for all those bigmacs somehow."

What?  So I am sure to understand you, in this country you HAVE to take jobs that pay less than you want without health insurance?  That sucks.  Because I went to high school every day expecting to go to college.  Then I went to college, dropped out, entered the work force, busted my rear end, made more money than some of my college buddies, returned to college, got my degree, got a job at a fortune 500, made loads of money, then quit to go to law school.  Somehow I managed to avoid bad jobs with no health care along the way.  Maybe I'm special.

"But the truth of the situation is that walmart is already running with as few employees as they believe they can and still make money. Increasing labor costs (or making them reflect the real cost on society) is not going to cause massive layoffs at walmart. And neither will it hurt the company, which does not operate at slim margins, it is wildly profitable."

You mean walmart is doing what every other business and government agency (supposedly) does?  They run efficiently and profitably?  CRIMINALS!  Find me a business that runs with more employees that they need and I'll show you a business that is on the way out.  Unionizing will result in increased labor costs, which will cause walmart to do what a lot of companies will have to do - lay people off, keep the best they can, and ask those that stay to do more.  Just ask your grandfather.  He'll set you straight.

"The problem is that as the law stands now, walmart can very easily quash any unions by threatening all their employees with firings."

And your problem with this is........ what?
In this country, private companies owe no duty to employees to continue their employment beyond the employment contract.  If they have a reason to fire employees that is legitimate, I fail to see an issue here.

"As for the taxes issue, MY taxes aren't going up, and, likely, neither are yours, Earlcat. And yes, I do have a problem with walmart's not paying its fair share of the tax burdon."

How much did Walmart pay in taxes last year?  How much should they have paid?
I'm curious, because people like to talk about loopholes yet rarely, if ever, know what the heck they are talking about.
For example - oil companies.  They pay more in taxes to the government than they clear in profits.  Alot more.
"Take Exxon Mobil, which on Thursday reported the highest quarterly profit ever and is the main target of any "windfall" tax surcharge. Yet if its profits are at record highs, its tax bills are already at record highs too. Between 2003 and 2007, Exxon paid $64.7 billion in U.S. taxes, exceeding its after-tax U.S. earnings by more than $19 billion."
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121780636275808495.html?mod=opinion_main_review_and_outlooks

"If you have a problem with your taxes going up, I suggest you take that up with your congress person, you might mention corporate loop holes. "
[/quote]

And I suggest you vote for McCain so you don't have to worry about bleeding heart libs bilking you. 
Here's a fun fact:
McCain and Obama are virtually tied as of today (a deat heat).  And this is with the MSM treating Obama like a rock star, refusing to ask difficult questions, fawning over him, and covering his campaign with glitz (Obama coverage far exceeds McCain coverage).  If he couldn't seal the deal with "The Obama world tour - 2008" rock show, what is he going to do to win (you know, besides change all of his position after feeding the democrats with his liberalism to beat out the more moderate, but far crazier, Hillary in the primaries)?
Closing 'loopholes' isn't going to help anyone but the government prosper.  Closing these 'loopholes' isn't going to mean more jobs, better jobs, or health care.  It's going to mean that the government takes more money from the very industries and people that pay the overwhelming bulk of the taxes collected.  Check your facts - you are being led astray by illogical, completely innaccurate political double speak, written and performed by clowns trying to win elections so they can attain power and wealth.
Admittedly, I pay more attention to the clowns that lean right.  Clearly you listen to the clowns on the left.  Try not to forget that they are still clowns!
Indulge your lawerly mind and let the emotional and illogical melt away.  Focus on the analytical.
Good luck with your civic action.  Even though we disagree, I hope your efforts pay off.

Saxby Clemens II

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Re: wal-mart and unions
« Reply #33 on: August 05, 2008, 06:26:36 PM »
The worst thing about this entire debate is people who chastise Wal-Mart, but somehow Target is ignored or exempt from the critical eye of the consumers concerned for the well-being of the little, unskilled worker.  It isn't like Target is any better. Their workers are paid just as little, if not less, and receive as little health care as Wal-Mart's.  Yet, where are the rallies preventing Target from building in a new area? Or the websites setup for propaganda against Target? Or the documentaries? Or the political condemnations?

I'd rather WalMart pay higher labor costs than have higher taxes because I am paying for welfare for Walmart's employees who are below the poverty line.

Wal-Mart is paying for them too - it isn't like Wal-Mart is exempt from taxes.

I'm sorry, but the walton family stealing a billion dollars less profit next year just is not going to hurt them or me. And if they take home less money, they also pay fewer taxes. Oh wait, they already don't pay taxes. Huh, why are they worried about unions?

While Wal-Mart is clever in their methods of avoiding taxes, they still pay taxes.  If you have issue with the fact that Wal-Mart pays less taxes then you think they deserve, you should take that up with a congressman. 

Wal-Mart is worried about unions because unions have been historically bad for big business in the United States.  There is a reason the big three automakers are brought up whenever the word "union" is mentioned - their failures to compete in the auto industry can be linked to unions. 

 ::)

That has to be the most simplistic statement on this entire thread, and that's saying something. 

Saxby Clemens II

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Re: wal-mart and unions
« Reply #34 on: August 06, 2008, 08:04:40 AM »
Why do you think it is that people who can "barely make ends meet" shop at Wal Mart?  Maybe because they work there?  Perhaps because in parts of the country where there is little alternative to Wal Mart, in towns where most people work there or at other lower paying jobs, there is no choice but to pump wages earned right back into Wal Mart? 

Wal Mart is not some benevolent force bringing products to the poor masses who didn't get any book learnin'.  They know exactly what they're doing, and what they're doing is taking advantage of people with limited options, because they can.  WHEN THEY DON'T NEED TO in order to stay ridiculously profitable, as has already been pointed out.  It's disgusting when people say that it's fine for 14-year-olds in the third world to work for 10 cents an hour, because what would they do otherwise?  It's even more obnoxious when people try to justify pretty much the same thing in America.

Also, Wal Mart doesn't make all of it's money off the poor who would have to, apparently, live on the streets were it not for the kind hand of the Walton family.  There is one Wal Mart where I live, in RichWhiteVille, USA.  I can assure you that none of the Cadillacs or Lincolns or BMWs in the parking lot are driven by people who can't afford to pay five cents more down the road at KMart.  Or ten cents more at Target.  They're driven by people who so selfishly want to save five and ten cents on toilet paper they don't care what their patronage means for people in America and around the world who are abused by the Wal Mart system.  That's not affluence, it's not class, it's not sophistication.  It's straight up nouveau riche trash, and it's f-ing pathetic. 

Further, unions haven't destroyed the auto industry.  That's absolute crap spouted by people with little understanding beyond what they learned in freshman economics.  The American auto industry is in a pickle right now because they gave away the keys to the future while they were making bank in the 90s and early 00s with minivans, trucks and SUVs.  Their moronic WHITE COLLAR leadership pumped endless resources into areas that don't help a company survive an abysmal economy and $5 a gallon gas.  They didn't listen to anyone or anything not concerned with the immediate bottom line, they didn't really concern themselves with what consumers actually wanted, and they let foreign companies lure people away with cheap *&^% that'll run for 140,000 miles and get 30 miles to the gallon in the process. 

Has anyone bashing unions ever actually worked in an auto plant?  Clearly not, or you'd have a much better understanding and respect for the role unions have played in American industry.  I'm so tired of hearing a bunch of pansy-ass, paper-pushing, future dime-a-dozen lawyers, who would crap their pants if they had to actually WORK for a living, female dog about organizations that have given protection and security to the people who've kept America running for 200 years.  People who, for generations, have busted their asses, literally, keeping this country running.  In return, they got a living wage and $5 prescription drugs.  Oh, the horrors!  Especially since they clearly volunteered to be factory workers and shunned the readily available opportunities for higher education available to all Americans for free!  Riiight. 

Hrmm.  This post was a little harsh.  Oh well.  Last day of work and I'm bored.  And I wouldn't mind a donut, so, a little cranky?

Re: wal-mart and unions
« Reply #35 on: August 06, 2008, 08:08:46 AM »
Yeah!!  What saxby said!...MMMMM donuts....

Matthies

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Re: wal-mart and unions
« Reply #36 on: August 06, 2008, 09:12:34 AM »
It's disgusting when people say that it's fine for 14-year-olds in the third world to work for 10 cents an hour, because what would they do otherwise?  It's even more obnoxious when people try to justify pretty much the same thing in America.


Personally Iím glad there are kids out there willing to work for pennies an hour to scrape up enough money to put a bowl of gruel on their familyís table at the end of the day. I guess Iím not naÔve enough to think its precisely because some countries have such cheap and ill treated workforces that I can afford to drive the cars I do, have two flat screen TVs and a BlueRay player. If all nations had the same working standards of the US our quality of life would go way down. *&^% would be really expensive!

I mean I have tried far trade coffee, its gross, coffee picked by a 12 year old Honduran boy tastes like the sweet success that it is to live in a consumer society. Donít get me wrong I hate Wal-Mart, evil corporations and the WTO as much as the next guy. Iím just glad I can live in a country where I can drive my SUV, wear by $75 sandals, and my $200 sunglasses take a vacation day from work to protest the evils of mega corporations at same time as I convince myself Iím making a difference! Pay your workers! Donít hire children! Promote Fair Trade! Increase the living standards of your employees! Donít make excessive profits! Wow all that protesting made me hungry luckily I can afford to go to Whole Foods and buy some pesticide free, organic, free range Tuna for $19 a pound and still do my part to protect oppreseed workersí rights and still live like a king!

Saxby Clemens II

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Re: wal-mart and unions
« Reply #37 on: August 06, 2008, 09:37:28 AM »
I know that was tounge-in-cheek, but I don't think anyone should take pleasure in their ability to purchase needless luxury items because native corporations have figured out a way to benefit from making poor, hungry, oppressed peoples in other lands very slightly less poor and hungry while keeping them just oppressed enough to continue the cycle. 

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Re: wal-mart and unions
« Reply #38 on: August 06, 2008, 10:07:49 AM »
I know that was tounge-in-cheek, but I don't think anyone should take pleasure in their ability to purchase needless luxury items because native corporations have figured out a way to benefit from making poor, hungry, oppressed peoples in other lands very slightly less poor and hungry while keeping them just oppressed enough to continue the cycle. 

Agreed, but for that cycle none of us would be here we are today. Higher education and being able to take 4-8 years off of working to support ourselves is a luxury paid for on the backs of peasants willing to work for pennies so we can live so good. The fact of the matter is unless you live completely off the grid and sew your own clothes and grow your own food your consumer decisions result in corporations making the choices they do not the other way around. None of us are guilt free, and I find it ironic that some of the biggest protesters are also consumers of the most expensive poo. I canít wait for the DNC to arrive here later this month and watch the free traders come out and protest in their Birkenstocks and Northface Backpacks about how bad the people have it who made their $200 Okleys. Joke about it or not, if not for the exploitation of people in other countries we as Americans would be living very different lives.

You can be against it all you want, but so long as you partake in it as well Iím not going to agree that we are all not born with original sin. Denying it just makes us feel better about the part we play, it does not change anything.  So long as consumers demand and pay for $200 shoes companies will respond to that and exploit workers to make a profit. Workers in the US will demand higher pay in so they can buy more stuff made by exploiting workers elswhere. It does not start with the idea to exploit workers then end up with people paying $200 for a product they did not want. Consumer demand drives exploitation in my book. If Segways were the hottest selling thing in the US they would be made in Mexico where the labor is the cheapest, and people would still buy them even if 5 y.o. put they together. Then the next weekend they would pack a picnic lunch put on $500 worth of clothes drive their SUVs to some protest against child labor and feel good about making a difference but if the price goes up for any of those goods they are goona female dog about how much they have to pay first. I think its hypocritical. I donít disagree with your arguments, but I also donít think any of us are guilt free, and I will point that out with humor when I think its being sidestepped as part of the problem.

Saxby Clemens II

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Re: wal-mart and unions
« Reply #39 on: August 06, 2008, 11:31:05 AM »
Well, no.  Certainly none of us are faultless.  If no one shopped at Wal Mart, Wal Mart wouldn't exist.  I saw that South Park.  Great episode.  But, any advantages I have in life have nothing to do with companies like Wal Mart taking advantage of the working poor in this country and peoples from other parts of the world.  If I'm considered rich via my parents, then the money I spend comes from the American automotive industry, which doesn't, to my knowledge, employ children in Latin America to build its cars.  I also spend my own money, and when I'm through with school and relying solely on what I earn, I can assure you I won't have earned it by working for a company that succeeds through a complete lack of regard for human rights.  I actually had a job at such a company already and I resigned when I discovered they did indeed have no regard for human rights.

I'm sure I've owned/own things that were made under less than ideal circumstances.  But, I have almost $1,000 worth of clothing on today, and none of it was sewn by children in sweatshops.  I don't not buy clothing at places like Wal Mart just because I'm a snob, or just because I don't have to.  I don't buy clothing at Wal Mart because I'm not interested in saving money at the expense of the people the company abuses.  Granted, I am very fortunate to be in a position where I can make that decision, and I understand that not everyone is.  Likewise, the convention protestors in Birkenstocks won't be worrying about whether or not a child crafted their shoes.   

My problem is with others who can make the choice to shop somewhere else, without suffering any real disadvantage and don't, out of pure selfishness.  And, again, it's with the Wal Martian cycle of thriving on the backs of classes in this country and around the world that the company is all-too-happy keeping down as long as it brings in an even more ridiculous profit.