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Wal-Mart May Be The Face of Twenty-First-Century Capitalism
But Now Its Workers at 1,500 Sites Across the US Risk Jobs and Arrest for Regular Hours, Better Pay, Benefits and Respect!
the Wal-Mart workers and supporters, speaking out, engaging in civil disobedience and their arrests at the Secaucus, NJ store protest
Wal-Mart is the nation s largest retailer, second-largest corporation, and largest private employer (with over 1.4 million workers). The Walton family is the richest family in the world, their wealth inherited from Sam Walton founder of Wal-Mart. Collectively, the Waltons own over 50% of the company, and are worth a combined total of $150 billion. In 2011, six members of the Walton family had the same net worth as the bottom 30% of American families combined. Wal-Mart made $16 billion in profits last year. Meanwhile Wal-Mart workers oftentimes make so little that they qualify for public benefits.
Labor Historian Nelson Lichtenstein calls Wal-Mart a template firm. The Wal-Mart model of employment is based on low wages, low benefits and rapid job turnover, has become the template for American firms to follow, This model erodes the American middle-class standard of living, while its principals accumulate unimaginable profits. But, brave Wal-Mart workers are not taking this lying down - they risked their jobs to take part in more than 1,500 protests around the country on Black Friday, including engaging in civil disobedience in nine cities -- Chicago, DC, LA, Dallas, Minnesota, Sacramento, Seattle, the Bay Area and New Jersey. These actions came on the heels of strikes throughout the month in Miami, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Ohio and Dallas and the rise of fast food workers strikes and unionization drives and movements across the country for increasing the minimum wage.
produced by Ken Nash and Mimi Rosenberg
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