Thursday, September 25, 2008
SOLEDAD ON ICE
Some Soledad residents will not flock to a new Wal-Mart. My wife and I will be among those who will refrain.
My wife spent a career as a retail clerk represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW). Over the years contract negotiations became more and more difficult. The reason: Wal-Mart. Management would point to Wal-Mart’s substandard wages and benefits and say, “We can’t compete with them.” The union struggled to maintain hard-earned wages and benefits. The situation came to a head about five years ago when 70,000 union grocery clerks in Southern California went out on strike for over four months.
Wal-Mart has led the retail industry in moving manufacturing overseas to countries where workers do not have the same rights and benefits as American workers. Health and safety standards are often nonexistent or unenforced. Many of the hard-fought gains of the labor movement have been wiped out by shipping jobs overseas.
Because of its size, Wal-Mart can bully suppliers into price concessions, sometimes forcing them into bankruptcy. One study estimated that the downward pressure Wal-Mart exerts on wages costs American workers over $4 billion a year in lowered wages. Some people say that they need to shop at Wal-Mart for low prices. They do not realize that Wal-Mart is one of the reasons wages are low.
Wal-Mart is no friend to small towns. Through predatory pricing tactics, Wal-Mart drives locally owned stores out of business, then raises prices when the other stores are gone. Wal-Mart destroys nearly as many jobs as it creates and the new jobs are mostly part-time and pay less than the jobs at the stores forced to close.
Across America there are vacant Wal-Mart stores in small towns; typically they’re vacant for several years before another use for them is found.
The (UFCW) created a website, www.WakeUpWalMart.com, and in 2005, my former union, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), formed a group called Wal-Mart Watch, which also has a website, www.WalMartWatch.com. For more information, check out these two websites.Randy Lent | Soledad
IS MARINA GREEN?
The article about Marina mayoral candidate and Green Party member Delgado was partially correct when he said Delgado had been absent from city politics since 2004. As a PTA Board member, I coached baseball, soccer and have been very active in Marina for the past 10 years. I have not seen Delgado participating at City Council or any other community events.
I consider the “tale” regarding the city budget to be a drastic misrepresentation. I have faith our city residents will educate themselves on these matters prior to voting.
The revenues of the city have more than doubled since Delgado was in office. The city will have more than $60 million in its coffers this year to prudently use for city priorities as the citizens desire. The projected ending balance in the general fund and reserves is huge compared to what Delgado left when in office and this in a [terrible] economy.
This election is very important to the citizens of Marina and I would hope that the Weekly would partner with the residents by providing them with all the information needed to be educated on our candidates.
A true leader shows leadership qualities regardless of their position. I have not seen that from Mr. Delgado.Ruby Cohan/Marina