Local Groups Nationwide Hold Walmart Accountable
Posted on July 17, 2012 by jway
On the heels of the largest Walmart protest in US history, local groups across the country are stepping up their efforts to hold the company accountable as it attempts to build stores in their communities.
In Altadena, CA, more than 200 residents, many of them opponents to a proposed Neighborhood Market in the Los Angeles suburb, showed up for a presentation by Walmart spokespersons at a local elementary school. Attendees raised concerns about the company’s wages as well as its impact on local businesses and traffic. A number of those in attendance were unsatisfied with the company’s responses to questions concerning its plans to hire locally, the length of its lease at the proposed site and the company’s lack of transparency around its procurement and development of the site.
In Decatur, GA, Good Growth Dekalb, a group of residents who are opposing plans for a 150,000 square foot supercenter, held a rally on Friday to protest the project. Local developer Selig Enterprises, which is driving the project, is also attempting to open a store in downtown Athens, where several opposition groups and celebrities have successfully highlighted Walmart’s poor history with workers, its impact to local businesses and overstated claims of additional tax revenue.
In Mount Laurel, NJ, residents opposed to a Walmart turned out en masse for a city planning meeting, where they voiced their concerns about a new supercenter’s impact to traffic. Redlands, CA residents are leading a similar campaign to prevent a new store from worsening an already congested intersection.
Of course, more important than any single local fight is the growing awareness that Walmart draws on its considerable resources to drive its growth-at-any-cost strategy without taking into account the concerns of opposition in the community. It is incumbent on residents, elected officials and community leaders to engage the company head on and in coordination with one another.
You can find a list of local groups working on Walmart issues in your area here.
This post was written by Kurt Scott.