Friday, November 02, 2007

Wal-Town

Tonight, after work, the Deranged Squirrel and I watched a documentary called "Wal-Town". In the film a group of people travel across Canada visiting Wal-Marts and trying to talk to customers, workers, managers, etc., about what Wal-Mart is doing to our culture. You can see more about Wal-Town at their website.

The documentary was interesting, and brought to light some interesting facts and issues. For instance, did you know that the one and only Wal-Mart staff that managed to successfully unionize had their store closed down for "financial reasons" shortly thereafter? Or that 28 hours a week is what is considered "full-time" at Wal-Mart, but that much of the staff at most stores are part-time, working about 12 hours per week? And that a person working at Wal-Mart could make just over $11,000 in the year, which, for a single mother would be less than half of what is required to be above the poverty line? Or that the Walton family, founders and largest stock holders in the Wal-Mart corporation are the richest family in the world? Or that, world-wide 1.6 Wal-Marts are built a day? A day!

If Wal-Mart were a country, it would have the 21st largest economy, between Saudi Arabia and Taiwan, and representing more in revenues than the entire GDP of Ireland and New Zealand combined.

Wal-Mart employs over 70,000 people at 278 stores in Canada.

Since coming to Canada in 1994, Wal-Mart has opened the equivalent of a new store every 16 days.

Just under 1 million Canadians shop at Wal-Mart everyday.

Wal-Mart has been charged with human and labour rights violations in over 25 countries.

Wal-Mart has faced charges of 1,400 child labor violations in Maine alone.

For more information check out the Wal-Town About Wal-Mart page. Or watch the movie.

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