OpinionMeister

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Big Labor Kills Another Attempt at Job Creation

The New York Sun has a report on the success of unions and their allies in halting plans by Wal-Mart to open its first store in New York City. Link.
In an emerging "big-box" backlash, members of the City Council said yesterday that Wal-Mart has halted plans for its first venture into New York City. (...)

While the retail giant appears stopped for now, Ms. Sears and other members of the vocal anti-Wal-Mart front of council members, union leaders, small-business owners, and mayoral candidates said they saw this as only the first victory in a long struggle.

"We don't think they'll go away," a spokesman for the Neighborhood Retail Alliance, Richard Lipsky, said. (...)

Organized labor has been a driving force behind the opposition to Wal-Mart, which has no union workers at its American stores. The fight escalated last year, when labor chose the Arkansas-based giant as a target for a nationwide campaign to improve its pay, benefits, and worker treatment.

"We look at the Wal-Mart struggle in Rego Park as the beginning of a big battle," the president of the New York City Central Labor Council, Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin of Queens, told The New York Sun last night. "I think this action in Rego Park demonstrates New York is a tough town. It's not like anywhere else in the country where Wal-Mart has established itself." The labor council is an umbrella group of more than 1 million union members.

Score one for the Luddites. However, it probably doesn't matter. Everyone knows that New Yorkers love high prices and low employment, so the unions were only giving them what they crave. After all, who needs Wal-Mart for discount shopping in a city where every street corner has someone selling "discount" goods out of the trunk of a car.

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