Volume 12, Issue 22 ~ May 27- June 2, 2004
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Letters to the Editor

We welcome your opinions and letters — with name and address. We will edit when necessary. Include your name, address and phone number for verification. Mail them to Bay Weekly, P.O. Box 358, Deale, MD 20751 • E-mail them to us at [email protected].

Seeing Cove Point in a New Way
Dear Bay Weekly:
Thank you for the pipeline details in your article on Cove Point natural gas plant [Analysis, Vol. XII, No. 21: May 20]. The details of the pipeline’s burrowing across Calvert helped me see its impact in a new, important way, never covered by local papers.

—Sara E. Leeland, St. Leonard

Why I Don’t Shop at Wal-Mart
Dear Bay Weekly:
For those of you who think only of Wal-Mart’s shopping convenience and low prices [Letters, Vol. XII, No. 19: May 6], please ask yourselves if you wish to feel responsible for the predatory practices of this giant!

By slashing its retail prices below cost when it enters a community, Wal-Mart can crush our groceries, pharmacies, hardware stores and other retailers, removing three decent jobs for every two jobs it creates. It raises its prices once it has monopoly control over the market.

The average Wal-Mart employee grosses less than $11,000 a year. Most have only part-time work.

Using its sheer size and massive advertising budget, the company forces rivals to adopt its price-is-everything approach, making the company a worldwide wage-depressor. Even Toys R Us and Krogers say they’re compelled to slash wages and search the globe for sweatshop suppliers to match Wal-Mart’s prices.

This one company is the world’s most powerful private force for lowering labor standards and the middle-class aspirations of workers everywhere. In China, sweatshop workers spend 13- to 16-hour days molding, assembling and spray-painting toys: 8am to 9pm, seven days a week. They are paid 13 cents an hour.

Of the 10 richest people in the world, five are Waltons. The ruling family of the Wal-Mart empire, Robert Walton, is ranked by London’s Rich List 2001 as the wealthiest person on the planet, having more than $65 billion in personal wealth and topping Bill Gates. Wal-Mart extracts local wealth. Instead of profits staying in town to be reinvested locally, the money goes to corporate headquarters. While Gates has committed over half of his fortune to philanthropy, the Waltons give less than one percent.

Newest news of Wal-Mart’s bad corporate behavior: The company has just been fined $3.1 million, the largest of any fine for stormwater violations at their construction sites all over the country.

Ask yourself why so many communities around the country fight the entry of Wal-Mart. Tremendous victories have been won as citizens from Maine to Arizona, Puget Sound to the Gulf of Mexico stop expansion of the Wal-Mart empire.

—Anne Pearson, Edgewater: Alliance for Sustainable Communities

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