Yes, Wal-Mart is once again trying to build one of its nefarious "stores" here in New York City. We're not going to debate whether this is a good thing. We're going to jump right to "How do we stop it?"
Wal-Mart is not good for people. (To review why we hate Wal-Mart, see here. While you're at it, see here, and here, and here.) The company has already saturated the entire United States of America, with the exception of a few urban areas. It is therefore eying those urban areas lustily. It's made no secret of its longstanding desire to infiltrate New York City. In the past, the city's powerful unions have kept the notoriously anti-union Wal-Mart out. But the company has a new plan: turn the unions against one another.
In recent weeks, Wal-Mart has been courting the building trades, pledging to use union labor for any new construction...The move would peel off the building-trades from unions trying to band together to collectively oppose Wal-Mart's attempts to crack into the city.
Wal-Mart is saying to the construction unions: we'll pay you guys off to get union support to build a staunchly non-union store. It's a bald payoff attempt that could very well succeed, especially in a tight economy. That's the thing about unions: they have to be, well, unionized. If organized labor does not stick together, its power erodes. Witness the last 50 years of American industrial history. Assuming Wal-Mart does get the construction guys on board, what can the rest of us do?
- Unions: let the construction guys go. NYC is still one of the greatest union towns left. Pull every political string you got. If you can't beat Wal-Mart here, it's a bad sign for everywhere else. Actually, we're fairly confident the union people have their end covered.
- Shoppers: don't shop at Wal-Mart. Duh. Do you want people to think you shop at Wal-Mart? Seriously, go re-read some of the stories from Wal-Mart employees. Don't shop at Wal-Mart.
- Activist types: an open secret about Wal-Mart is that they hate bad PR. They hate it! They have an all-American image to maintain! And they spend millions each year maintaining it. The key to hitting Wal-Mart where they hurt is explaining, a clear and precise way, just how un-American their business practices really are. Standing in front of their stores screeching while dressed like Uncle Sam can't hurt, either.
- Lazy Bastards: you're like, who cares if Wal-Mart is here or not? Well, the new store would be way the fuck out in bumfuck by JFK airport. You really gonna ride way the fuck out there to save 15 cents on some Hanes t-shirts? Fuck no. Convenience is worth the price. This is New York. Shit needs to be close.
- Mobsters: did you get your cut? Did you get enough of a cut? Cause if you get enough of a cut, Wal-Mart's thin profit margins could erode completely. Just observating.