New York State AFL-CIO Statement on Walmart in New York City

ALBANY, NY (02/07/2011)(readMedia)-- The New York State AFL-CIO, representing over 2 million union members and their families, remains extremely concerned about the prospects of Walmart opening a facility in New York City. Walmart's history of questionable employment practices has been well documented. It has been accused of engaging in inappropriate employment practices, violating labor laws and fundamentally lacking concern for the economic well being of its employees.

Over the years, Walmart has become synonymous with a "race to the bottom" economic mindset, seemingly bent on encouraging low wage employers to flourish. They have created additional pools of low wage jobs with inadequate benefits. This "low-road" strategy results in a lack of ability to sustain any long-term economic advantage to the communities where they are based.

As such, the far reaching, long term detriment of such policies cannot be overstated, because they leave consumers, job seekers and small businesses with little or no viable options.

Studies have shown that when Walmart opens, small and locally owned businesses close and the permanent jobs that Walmart creates are mostly low-wage, part time jobs. We believe there is a better way. We are pleased Walmart has agreed to utilize union building and construction trades in the development of their facilities in the city. This situation, however, begs the question: Why won't Walmart also utilize union labor in its retail and food and commercial operations?

New York has a long and proud history of cooperation between labor and management. Such alliances have led us to become leaders in commerce and finance not only in our country, but throughout the world. It is our hope that Walmart will change the way they operate and join in this effort, providing employment which truly benefits New York's greatest asset-its workers and the communities in which they live.