Retail giant has a ways to go to clean up its image

September 1, 2011

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Retail giant has a ways to go to clean up its image I HAVE to take issue with Yvonne Abraham’s assertion that Wal-Mart “is no longer seen as the evil giant it was 10 years ago.’’ The company may be seeking to clean up its image, as Abraham asserts, but the reality is that Wal-Mart is still stomping like Godzilla over communities across the country.

One victim in its path: state budgets. In a 2009 study, the company came in first in Massachusetts and other states on the list of large employers with subsidized health care (Medicaid). This means that Wal-Mart cost our state $15.5 million that year. Ouch! That’s a huge burden given the fiscal crises our cities and towns are facing.

Closer to home, consider the impact Wal-Mart could have on families and individuals right here in Roxbury. Wal-Mart pays its employees wages that can hardly be called livable - the exact opposite of what our neighborhood needs. It also has a vicious record of discriminating against women, who earn less across the board in all positions at Wal-Mart, even though they make up the majority of employees. In fact, on average, female employees at Wal-Mart earn $5,200 less per year than male employees.

The company is still the world’s largest and most powerful retailer - that’s giant. And it is still sacrificing people over profits - that’s evil in my book. Dudley Square and Roxbury need economic opportunities, but we don’t need Wal-Mart. We would become just another crushed community in its path of destruction.

Jen Rose-Wood