Washington, D.C.’s unemployment rate remains at a staggering 9.5 percent. Yet that hasn’t stopped D.C. politicians, labor unions, and community organizers from trying to prevent Walmart from setting up shop in the city–a move that, if successful, will prevent the creation of hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs for D.C. residents.
While these protestors use the familiar talking points that they’re concerned “Walmart will drive out smaller mom and pops businesses,” the real reason for the protests is that unlike most grocery stores, Walmart remains non-union. Walmart’s non-union status isn’t just an irritant to big unions, it’s a threat to the very existence of unions. Adam Bitely at Netrightdaily.com explains:
Because Walmart is able to price their products lower than their competitors, they are able to force their competitors to change business practices or close-up altogether, which has been a blow to the grocery store labor unions. The UFCW is not concerned about whether or not people have jobs in a city where unemployment is hovering around double digits, rather, they are concerned that they are able to corner the market on the grocery stores to keep their political power intact.
In an effort to protect that power, the UFCW formed a coalition with other dubiously motivated community organizers to promote their cause. The groups joined together to spearhead a smear-campaign called Respect D.C. that aims to force Walmart to sign a “Community Benefits Agreement.” This agreement, which Walmart will most likely never sign, would commit Walmart to all sorts of demands being levied by groups seeking to benefit themself from Walmart’s success.
Now take a look at the list of utterly rediculous demands from Respect D.C.:
* Pay every employee the D.C. living wage, currently $12.50 per hour.
* Provide $50 a month in public transportation subsidy to every employee.
* Employ at least 65 percent of its D.C. employees on a full-time basis.
* Not ask job applicants about previous criminal convictions.
* Use project labor agreements to construct its stores.
* Fund all infrastructure improvements made necessary by its stores.
* Provide free shuttle transportation to and from the nearest Metro station to each D.C. store every 10 minutes.
* Commit to traffic alleviation studies.
* Provide up to 2.5 free or low-priced parking spaces per 1,000 square feet of building space.
* Provide secure, accessible bicycle parking, car sharing and bike sharing for workers and shoppers.
* Not sell firearms or ammunition.
* Employ no less than two off-duty D.C. police officers on its premises at all times.
* Abide by a “code of conduct with regard to its employees’ freedom to choose a voice on the job without interference.”
* Fund workforce training programs for D.C. residents, and use training programs as its primary avenue for hiring D.C. residents.
* Hire at least 40 percent of its employees at each store from the ward in which the store is located.
* Make “ongoing contributions to a fund managed by a council of community stakeholders” that will provide incentives and support to local small businesses.
* Make ongoing payments for community funds controlled by “community advisory councils” for education and faith-based programs.
Reason TV put together an excellent video on this issue:
My question: what does the First Lady have to say about this? Where is her voice in all this? Isn’t she supposed to be encouraging grocery stores to go into urban areas?