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Letter: Is Walmart what we want in a business?

December 24, 2013
  • The Great Indoors at the Empire Center in Burbank on Tuesday, July 5, 2011. Sears has sold the site to Wal-Mart, paving the way for the mega-discount store to move into the center next to its main competitor Target.
The Great Indoors at the Empire Center in Burbank on Tuesday,… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

Gregory Krikorian clearly knows how to utilize chamber of commerce corporate-speak in his defense of Walmart in the Leader (“Walmart could create 250 new jobs,” Op-Ed, Dec. 18), but he fails to inform the readers about the true nature of Walmart's history of exploiting workers and destroying small businesses across the United States with non-competitive and predatory business practices. Krikorian laments the vacant Great Indoors structure and claims that a new Walmart store will create about 250 jobs. However, he doesn't mention Walmart's well-known employment practices.

Why did thousands of Walmart workers strike on Black Friday in nine American cities? They were asking for better treatment by Walmart and a living wage. Most Walmart employees make less than $25,000 a year and they have been encouraged to go to emergency rooms for medical care. Some Walmart stores have even held food drives for their own employees. Are those the kind of jobs that Krikorian wants to bring to Burbank simply to boost employment numbers?

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He also doesn't mention that Walmart manufactures much of their merchandise in China without any environmental or labor regulations. Child labor and toxic substances are ignored and are apparently of no concern. Cheap prices don't equal good quality for the American consumer. Is Walmart really the kind of business that Krikorian wants to single out for praise. His denigration of protesters and labor unions shows what his motivation really is. From Krikorian's op-ed piece, I infer that he is more concerned about an empty building than American workers.

Thomas Saito
Burbank

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