May 12, 2004

The Other WM Blog

Stephen Greenhouse of The New York Times writes about Andrew Stern of the other WM blog, Fight for the Future. I found many--not all--of the other WM blog's posts to be a mix of propaganda, pep, and outrageous, unfounded allegations. And I probably wouldn't have written about them yet if the Times' Mr. Greenhouse hadn't chosen to highlight the blog as part of a wider movement:

Union leaders, academics and community activists plan to hold an unusual meeting in Washington today to begin mapping out a strategy to check Wal-Mart's growing power and to press the company to improve its wages and benefits.

The meeting was organized largely because union leaders fear that Wal-Mart Stores, the nation's largest company, is pushing down wages and benefits, not just among retailers but throughout the economy

Mr. Greenhouse, you can check out the actual effect of WM on wages by looking at wage data in retail and throughout the economy. Why didn't you bother? If real wages have gone down in retail, or other sectors of the economy, don't tell readers what some organization believes, tell us what really happened. This argument is not a political contest, a wr of opinion, or a popularity contest; it is an argument about something that can be verified.

I don't claim the last word on the subject, but according the the BLS, as WM has expanded throughout the nation, retail wages (pictured below)--not to mention wages in other industries--are increasing in real terms:

So much for the "ripple effect" of low wages. Here's an excel spreadsheet with the data and chart.

The article also closes with this flagrant error:

"Wal-Mart is the largest employer in the U.S.,'' Mr. Wilhelm said. "It's incredibly pervasive in its race-to-the-bottom influence.''
Give me a break. How many times must I debunk this? Did Mr. Greenhouse even bother to check this one out? The federal government by far is the largest employer in the U.S. (the military itself being larger than WM, and the federal government about 15x larger than WM), although WM is the largest private employer in the U.S..

Posted by Kevin on May, 12 2004 at 09:01 AM