Anti-Commercial Interruption

Anti-Commercial Interruption

I'm interrupting the Final Two Weeks of Yogyakarta Indonesia for an Anti-Commercial message:

I watched the movie Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price last night; it was enraging, enlightening, and inspiring. I'm proud to say I've never been in a Walmart -- and never will, unless it's for a protest. I highly recommend watching this film.

I also want to say SHAME on Garth Brooks, Destiny's Child, Martina McBride, Jesse McCartney, and Queen Latifah for their role in supporting and providing propaganda for Wal-Mart.

The following are facts taken from

Federal Poverty Level Family of Four - $17,650

Average Wal-Mart Hourly Sales Employee Wages - $13,861

  • "On average, Wal-Mart sales clerks -- "associates" in company parlance -- pulled in $8.23 an hour, or $13,861 a year, in 2001, according to documents filed in a lawsuit pending against the company."
  • Source: Anthony Bianco and Wendy Zellner, "Is Wal-Mart Too Powerful?" Business Week, October 6, 2003. Primary source information on 2001 wage data is from the testimony of Dr. Richard Drogin, in Dukes v. WM.

WAL-MART Drives Down Retail Wages $3 BILLION Every Year

  • "A recent study by researchers at UC Berkeley's Labor Center has quantified what happened to retail wages when Wal-Mart set up shop, drawing on 15 years of data on actual store openings. The study found that Wal-Mart drives down wages in urban areas, with an annual loss of at least $3 billion dollars in earnings for retail workers."

  • UPDATE: Since the completion of our film, the study has been finalized and published, and the published findings produced a different number for the annual loss in retail earnings than the preliminary figure we used in the film. The published study ultimately found that Wal-Mart actually reduced the take-home pay of retail workers by $4.7 BILLION dollars annually. Unfortunately for the retail workers this statistic concerns, Wal-Mart's effect on retail wages turns out to be worse than we had anticipated.
  • Source: Arindrajit Dube, "Impact of Wal-Mart Growth on Earnings throughout the Retail Sector in Urban and Rural Counties" [PDF File], UC Berkeley Labor Center, November 2005.

$86 MILLION a Year to California Taxpayers

  • In 2004, a study released the UC Berkeley Labor Center found that "reliance by Wal-Mart workers on public assistance programs in California comes at a cost to taxpayers of an estimated $86 million annually; this is comprised of $32 million in health related expenses and $54 million in other assistance."
  • Source: Ken Jacobs and Arindrajit Dube, "Hidden Costs of Wal-Mart Jobs" [PDF file], UC Berkeley Labor Center, August 2, 2004.
  • Wal-Mart dismisses the findings of the UC Berkeley study, "Hidden Costs of Wal-Mart Jobs," as a "union hit piece." However, text from Wal-Mart's own internal memo substantially corroborates their findings.

    An excerpt from the memo states:

    "We also have a significant number of Associates and their children who receive health insurance through public-assistance programs. Five percent of our Associates are on Medicaid compared to an average for national employers of 4 percent. Twenty-seven percent of Associates' children are on such programs, compared to a national average of 22 percent (Exhibit 5). In total, 46 percent of Associates' children are either on Medicaid or are uninsured."

    Source: Wal-Mart Internal Memo [PDF File], via New York Times

  • The researchers from the UC Berkeley Labor Center recently re-visited the situation, using Wal-Mart's own findings as a basis for their analysis. This is what they have found:
    Applying Wal-Mart's reported percentages of workers and children enrolled in Medicaid/SCHIP implies Wal-Mart workers and children cost $456 million to taxpayers nationally through their use of public health programs. This does not include the costs of adult dependents. (See Table 3)

    Adding in the cost of adult dependents, the number approaches the original estimate reported in the Labor Center report.

  • Also, the original report did not include costs to the public for Wal-Mart employees who are uninsured. Information from the Wal-Mart memo also points to the possibility of additional taxpayer costs incurred from uninsured employees, as analyzed by the Labor Center:
    The memo further reports that 19% of Wal-Mart employees lack health insurance. The cost of uncompensated care for those workers adds an estimated $202 million in taxpayer costs nationally, and $10 million in California. These costs were not quantified in the original report (see Table 4).

    Source: The updated analysis, with additional references to primary source material, can be found on the UC Berkeley Labor Center website (see: "Internal Wal-Mart Memo Validates Findings of UC Berkeley Study," November 2005)

  • In addition to these new findings, a paper presented at the recent Wal-Mart sponsored conference by Michael J. Hicks of the Air Force Institute of Technology and Marshall University, finds that "Wal-Mart does increase Medicaid expenditures by roughly $898 per worker, which is consistent with other studies of the Medicaid costs per low wage worker across the United States."
    • Source: Michael Hicks, "Does Wal-Mart Cause an Increase in Anti-Poverty Program Expenditures?" [PDF File], via Business Week, October 26, 2005.


An up-to-date compilation of states' reporting of employers whose workers are enrolled in Medicaid or state health programs is being maintained by Good Jobs First, a non-profit research group based in Washington, DC. The film does not list all 15 states that report such data. The full list of states reporting employer disclosure of public health data is available online at: Philip Mattera, research director for Good Jobs First, has also given testimony on this healthcare data before the Maryland Senate. That testimony can be found on the Good Jobs First website [PDF file].

ALABAMA: 3,864 Children of WAL-MART Employees are Enrolled in Medicaid

  • "Retail giant Wal-Mart tops the list of companies in Alabama whose employees have children on Medicaid, the [Montgomery] Advertiser reported, citing state records. Wal-Mart workers' children account for 3,864 children on the Medicaid rolls at a cost between $5.8 million and $8.2 million."
  • Source: Associated Press, "Wal-Mart No. 1 in Employee Medicaid," The Decatur Daily, February 23, 2005

ARIZONA: 2,700 WAL-MART Workers on Medicaid

  • According to state data provided to Capitol Media Services and reported by the Arizona Daily Star, "Close to one of every 10 Wal-Mart employees is getting health insurance paid for by Arizona taxpayers, according to figures obtained Friday from the state...In the Arizona statistics, nearly 2,700 people listed their employer as Wal-Mart out of more than 28,000 company employees in the state...The numbers came as a surprise to state Sen. Richard Miranda, D-Phoenix, who tried earlier this year to get a law requiring the DES [Department of Economic Security] to disclose the employers of people on AHCCCS. That measure was defeated amid opposition from corporate lobbyists, including Rip Wilson representing Wal-Mart."
  • Source: Howard Fischer, "Wal-Mart 1st in State Aid Enrollees," Arizona Daily Star, July 30, 2005

ARKANSAS: 3971 WAL-MART Workers on Public Assistance

  • "Nearly 10,000 workers with Arkansas' nine largest employers receive public welfare for themselves and their families, according to the state Department of Human Services. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., with 3,971 of its 45,106 employees on public assistance, topped the list."
  • Source: Brian Baskin, "Top 9 Employers in State Have 9,698 Getting Public Aid," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, March 17, 2005.

CONNECTICUT: 824 WAL-MART Workers Have Children in a State Heath Care Program

  • According to a report prepared by the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research examining enrollment data for the HUSKY (Healthcare for UninSured Kids and Youth) program for children of low-income families, "The same employers account for the highest number of employed parents of HUSKY A [traditional Medicaid] and B [state CHIP] children. For example, Wal Mart employed the highest number of HUSKY A parents (824 in September 2004) and the second highest number of HUSKY B parents (79 in December 2004)."
  • Source: Robin K. Cohen, "HUSKY A and B - Enrollment and Employer Data," Connecticut Office of Legislative Research Report 2005-R-0017, January 10, 2005.

FLORIDA: 12,300 WAL-MART Workers and their Dependents on Medicaid

  • "Wal-Mart Corp., which is getting millions of dollars in state incentives to create jobs in Florida, has more employees and family members enrolled in Medicaid than any company in the state. ...The giant retailer, which has 91,000 full-time and part-time employees in Florida, has about 12,300 workers or dependents eligible for Medicaid, the growing health care program for the poor and the elderly...According to figures released Thursday by Florida's Department of Children and Families, Wal-Mart and four other large companies that receive state incentives have an estimated 29,900 employees or their family members enrolled in Medicaid...The figures suggest taxpayers may be double-subsidizing low-wage employment by paying companies to create jobs and by paying for the health care of some of those companies' employees."
  • Source: Sydney P. Freedberg and Connie Humburg, "Lured Employers Now Tax Medicaid," St. Petersburg Times, March 25, 2005.

GEORGIA: 10,261 Children of WAL-MART Employees are Enrolled in PeachCare for Kids

  • "A state survey found 10,261 of the 166,000 children covered by Georgia's Peach Care? for Kids health insurance in September 2002 had a parent working for Wal-Mart Stores...Wal-Mart is the state's largest private employer. But when the top four companies on the list are measured by number of PeachCare children per the number of employees in Georgia, Wal-Mart still dominates."
  • Source: Andy Miller, "Wal-Mart Stands Out On Rolls Of PeachCare," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 27, 2004.

MASSACHUSETTS: 4,172 WAL-MART Workers and Dependents on State Health Care

  • "Section 304 of Chapter 149 of the Acts of 2004 requires the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to produce a list of employers who have 50 or more employees using public health assistance each year." As a result, the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy, in collaboration with staff from the Office of Medicaid, compiled a report of employers who had 50 or more employees on MassHealth and the Uncompensated Care Pool (UCP). The report found that in 2004, Wal-Mart had 1,258 employees participating in UCP and 823 employees participating in MassHealth.
  • Source: Executive Office of Health and Human Services Division of Health Care Finance and Policy, "Employers Who Have 50 or More Employees Using Public Health Assistance," February 1, 2005 (an additional data spreadsheet can be found here)

TENNESSEE: 9,617 WAL-MART Workers on TennCare

  • "Wal-Mart, with about 25 percent of the company's 37,000 workers on TennCare, tops the list of businesses with employees on the expanded Medicaid program. Wal-Mart is the state's largest private employer."
  • Source: Associated Press, "Study Shows Thousands of Wal-Mart Employees on TennCare," WKRN-TV Nashville, January 20, 2005.

TEXAS: 4,363 Children of WAL-MART Employees on CHIP

  • "The Center for Public Policy Priorities, a non-partisan research center based in Austin, has obtained data on the 20 employers in the state with the largest number of employees whose dependents participate in the Children's Health Insurance Program. (Employer data for Medicaid are not available.) The data for February 2005 show Wal-Mart at the top of the list, with 2,333 employee families in CHIP, with an estimated 4,363 individual children enrolled."
  • Source: Good Jobs First [PDF file], with data provided by the Center for Public Policy Priorities.

WISCONSIN: 1,252 WAL-MART Employees and Dependents on BadgerCare

  • "The biggest employer of BadgerCare recipients was Wal-Mart, which had 809 of its employees and 443 of employee dependents enrolled in the state program in April. Providing health care for those 1,252 people costs Wisconsin about $2.7 million a year; Wal-Mart turned a profit of $10.3 billion in 2004."
  • Source: Stacy Forster, "Big Companies Fill BadgerCare Rolls," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 24, 2005

WAL-MART Costs Taxpayers $1,557,000,000,00 to Support its Employees

  • "The Democratic Staff of the Committee on Education and the Workforce estimates that one 200-person Wal-Mart store may result in a cost to federal taxpayers of $420,750 per year - about $2,103 per employee. Specifically, the low wages result in the following additional public costs being passed along to taxpayers:
    • $36,000 a year for free and reduced lunches for just 50 qualifying Wal-Mart families.
    • $42,000 a year for Section 8 housing assistance, assuming 3 percent of the store employees qualify for such assistance, at $6,700 per family.
    • $125,000 a year for federal tax credits and deductions for low-income families, assuming 50 employees are heads of household with a child and 50 are married with two children.
    • $100,000 a year for the additional Title I expenses, assuming 50 Wal-Mart families qualify with an average of 2 children.
    • $108,000 a year for the additional federal health care costs of moving into state children's health insurance programs (S-CHIP), assuming 30 employees with an average of two children qualify.
    • $9,750 a year for the additional costs for low income energy assistance."

  • The total figure is based on the average $420,750 per-store figure, multiplied by 3700 (the approximate number of stores currently in the United States).
  • Source: Rep. George Miller / Democratic Staff of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, "Everyday Low Wages: The Hidden Price We All Pay for Wal-Mart" [PDF file], February 16, 2004.

WAL-MART and Full Time Status

  • In the film, a former Wal-Mart co-manager claims that store managers are told to "Keep the number of associates from being full time, as many as you can, keep many of them part time, as much as you can." A paragraph in a recently released internal memo from Wal-Mart corroborates the co-manager's statement:
    5. Capture savings from current initiatives to improve labor productivity. These initiatives include reducing the number of labor hours per store, increasing the percentage of part-time Associates in stores, and increasing the number of hours per Associate.

    Source: Wal-Mart Internal Memo [PDF File], via New York Times

  • Wal-Mart says that "Wal-Mart's 'full time' status begins at 34 hours per week, not 28, for associates hired after 2002." Before 2002, however, Wal-Mart's definition of full-time WAS 28 hours per week, and was raised in 2002 to 34 hours per week in order to raise the bar for healthcare eligibility for their employees - as the raise in hours coincided with the increase in eligibility requirements for healthcare. According to Wikipedia, "In 2002, Wal-Mart increased the waiting period for enrollment eligibility from 90 days to 6 months for full-time employees. Part-time employees must wait 2 years before they may enroll in the plan, and they may not purchase coverage for their spouses or children. The definition of part-time was changed from 28 hours or less per week to less than 34 hours per week." The change was not done to benefit more full-time employees, but to discourage more employees from being eligible for Wal-Mart's healthcare plan.

    Suppose we accepted this correction. The 34-hour per week full-time definition still is not the 40-hour definition employed by most businesses in America. Also, at Wal-Mart's stated average hourly wage of $9.68 per hour (source:, a 34-hour week results in an annual wage of only $17,114 � STILL below the poverty line for a family of four.

$30,000 UNDERCOVER SPY VAN per store
$100,000 24 hour ANTI-UNION HOTLINE
$7,000,000 Rapid response team with CORPORATE JET

  • Source: Data provided to the producers by Stan Fortune, former manager and 17-year employee of Wal-Mart

  • According to a recent report issued by American Rights At Work ("Wal-Mart: Rolling Back Wages, Workers' Rights, and the American Dream"), at least 59 complaints have been issued by the National Labor Relations Board on the basis that Wal-Mart uses illegal surveillance techniques to monitor union activity inside and outside their stores. These include the following claims:
    • "Following a NLRB investigation of worker charges in Denver, Colorado; Paris, Texas; and Orlando, Florida, the government has charged Wal-Mart with illegal surveillance, threats and intimidation of its associates."

    • "Wal-Mart will face trial on February 10, 2003 for illegal surveillance of union supporters."
    • "Workers in Paris, Texas suffer similar injustices�The NLRB investigation of Wal-Mart's actions resulted in a complaint charging that Wal-Mart managers carried out surveillance on their workers, restricted workers' attire in an effort to retaliate against union supporters and also threatened and interrogated workers."
    • "In Orlando, Florida, Wal-Mart faces a NLRB trial on June 28, 2003 for illegal surveillance of workers, illegal threats and harassment of workers."
    • Source: UFCW, "Wal-Mart's War on Workers," PR Newswire, January 8, 2003, and the National Labor Relations Board.

$50 MILLION to settle an off-the-clock class action suit in Colorado

  • In 2000, "Wal-Mart paid $50 million to settle a class-action suit that asserted that 69,000 current and former Wal-Mart employees in Colorado had worked off the clock."
  • Source: Steven Greenhouse, "Suits Say Wal-Mart Workers Forced To Toil Off The Clock," New York Times, June 25, 2002 [reprinted via Common Dreams]

In Texas it is estimated that they cheated workers out of up to one hundred and fifty million dollars in unpaid wages

  • "In a recently certified class-action suit in Texas on behalf of more than 200,000 current and former Wal-Mart workers, statisticians estimate that the company underpaid its Texas workers by $150 million over four years by not paying them for the many times they worked during their daily 15-minute breaks. That $150 million estimate does not include other types of unpaid work. The statisticians, who analyzed time records from 12 Wal-Mart stores, found that the Texas employees averaged at least one hour of unpaid work each week from working through breaks."
  • Source: Steven Greenhouse, "Suits Say Wal-Mart Workers Forced To Toil Off The Clock," New York Times, June 25, 2002 [reprinted via Common Dreams]

Wal-Mart Managers delete time from workers' timecards

  • In Massachusetts, "a Middlesex court judge has put his imprimatur on a suit alleging the retail giant failed to pay employees for time worked and neglected to give them meal and rest breaks, the Herald has learned. The eight-page ruling by Superior Court Judge Ernest B. Murphy cites an affidavit by a computer expert hired by the plaintiffs. The expert allegedly found 7,000 instances during a one-year period when Wal-Mart managers deleted large blocks of time from their employee payroll records."
  • Source: John Strahinich, "Judge OKs Employee Lawsuit Against Wal-Mart," Boston Herald, January 7, 2005.
  • Meanwhile, in California, a class-action lawsuit potentially involving up to 215,000 current and former Wal-Mart and Sam's Club employees "charges that Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Ark., deleted thousands of hours of time worked from employees' payroll records by erasing overtime hours and by penalizing employees who forgot to punch in after their meal breaks by denying them pay for the remainder of those days."
  • Source: "Alameda County Suit Alleges Wal-Mart Cheated Workers," Bay City News, January 20, 2005.

Wal-Mart currently faces lawsuits in thirty-one different States for wage and hour abuses potentially involving hundreds of thousand workers.

  • Wal-Mart Wage and Hour "Off the Clock" Class Actions:
    1. Adcox v. WM, US Dist. Ct. ("USDC"), Southern Dist. of TX, 11/9/04;
    2. Armijo v. WM, 1st Judicial Dist. Ct., Rio Arriba County, NM, 9/18/00;
    3. Bailey v. WM, Marion County Superior Ct. IN, 8/17/00;
    4. Barnett v. WM, Superior Ct. of WA, King County, 9/10/01;
    5. Basco v. WM, USDC, Eastern Dist. of LA, 9/5/00;
    6. Braun v. WM, 1st Judicial Dist. Ct. Dakota County MN, 9/12/01;
    7. Braun v. WM, Ct. of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, PA, 3/20/02;
    8. Brown v. WM, 14th Judicial Circuit Ct., Rock Island, IL, 6/20/01;
    9. Carr v. WM, Superior Ct. of Fulton County, GA, 8/14/01;
    10. Culver v. WM, USDC, Dist. of CO, 12/10/1996;
    11. Carter v. WM, Ct. of Common Pleas, Colleton County, SC, 7/31/02;
    12. Gamble v. WM, Supreme Ct. of the State of NY, County of Albany, 12/7/01;
    13. Gross v. WM, Circuit Ct., Laurel County, KY, 9/29/04;
    14. Hale v. WM, Circuit Ct., Jackson County, MO, 8/15/01;
    15. Hall v. WM, 8th Judicial Dist. Ct., Clark County, NV, 9/9/99;
    16. Harrison v. WM, Superior Ct. of Forsyth County, NC, 11/29/00;
    17. Holcomb v. WM, State Ct. of Chatham County, GA, 3/28/00;
    18. Hummel v. WM, Common Pleas Ct. of Philadelphia County, PA, 8/30/04;
    19. Iliadis v. WM, Superior Ct. of NJ, Middlesex County, 5/30/02;
    20. Kuhlmann (In Re: Wal-Mart Employee Litigation) v. WM, Circuit Ct., Milwaukee County, WI, 8/30/01;
    21. Lerma v. WM, Dist. Ct., Cleveland County, OK, 8/31/01;
    22. Lopez v. WM, 23rd Judicial Dist. Ct. of Brazoria County, TX, 6/23/00;
    23. Mendoza v. WM, Superior Ct. of CA, Ventura County, 3/2/04;
    24. Michell v. WM, USDC, Eastern Dist. of TX, Marshall Div., 9/13/02;
    25. Montgomery v. WM, USDC, Southern Dist. of MS, 12/30/02;
    26. Mussman v. WM, IA Dist. Ct., Clinton County, 6/5/01;
    27. Nagy v. WM, Circuit Ct. of Boyd County, KY, 8/29/01;
    28. Newland v. WM, Superior Ct. of CA, Alameda County, CA, 01/14/05;
    29. Osuna v. WM, Superior Ct. of AZ, Pima County, 11/30/01;
    30. Pickett v. WM, Circuit Court, Shelby County, TN, 10/22/03;
    31. Pittman v. WM, Circuit Ct. for Prince George's County, MD, 7/31/02;
    32. Robinson v. WM, Circuit Ct., Holmes County, MS, 12/30/02;
    33. Sago v. WM, Circuit Ct., Holmes County, MS, 12/31/02;
    34. Romero v. WM, Superior Ct. of CA, Monterey County, 03/25/04;
    35. Salvas v. WM, Superior Ct., Middlesex County, MA, 8/21/01;
    36. Sarda v. WM, Circuit Ct., Washington County, FL, 9/21/01;
    37. Savaglio v. WM, Superior Ct. of CA, Alameda County, 2/6/01;
    38. Scott v. WM, Circuit Ct. of Saginaw County, MI, 9/26/01;
    39. Smith v. WM, Circuit Ct., Holmes County, MS, 12/31/02;
    40. Thiebes v. WM, USDC, Dist. of OR, 6/30/98;
    41. Willey v. WM, Dist. Ct. of Wyandotte County, KS, 9/21/01;
    42. Williams v. WM, Superior Ct. of CA, Alameda County, 3/23/04;
    43. Wilson v. WM, Common Pleas Ct. of Butler County, OH, 10/27/03;
    44. Winters v. WM, Circuit Ct., Holmes County, MS, 5/28/02.
  • Source: Wal-Mart Stores 10K Filing, March 31, 2005, Pg. 16, Item 3.

Wal-Mart is paying eleven million dollars to settle Federal allegations it used illegal immigrants to clean its stores.

  • "Wal-Mart will escape criminal sanctions and pay $11 million to settle claims stemming from a federal investigation of illegal workers hired by the company's cleaning contractors, the company said Friday...The more than four-year investigation was led by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and federal prosecutors in Pennsylvania. It produced 245 arrests of undocumented workers in 2003."
  • Source: CNN/Money, "Wal-Mart Pays $11M Over Illegal Labor,", March 18, 2005.

Wal-Mart is facing a class-action lawsuit for discrimination against $1.6 million former and current female employees.

  • Source: Liza Featherstone, "Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers' Rights At Wal-Mart," Basic Books, 2004.
  • For more information on this lawsuit, please visit the Wal-Mart Class website.

Edith Arana was told by a manager, "There's no place for people like you in management..." - WAL-MART and Racial Discrimination

Wal-Mart disputes a claim made by Edith Arana in the film, that she experienced racial as well as gender discrimination in her experience working at Wal-Mart, by saying hers is an isolated incident.

  • In fact, in addition to Edith Arana's claim, Cleo Page and Betty Dukes, two of the six named plaintiffs in Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, the largest gender discrimination class-action lawsuit in history, have also filed individual race discrimination claims against Wal-Mart.

    Several of the other women involved in the class-action have provided depositions that attest to racial discrimination as well as gender discrimination. Those testimonies are available at the website and include the declarations of the following women, who testify to racial discrimination in addition to their gender discrimination claims:

  • The company also faces a smaller class-action lawsuit from African American truckers who charge discrimination, which was publicized recently in the New York Times (source: Jonathan D. Glater, "2 Black Truckers Sue, Accusing Wal-Mart of Hiring Bias," New York Times, July 14, 2005).
  • Also, the following reports attest to further racial discrimination practices:
    • "The EEOC noted�that only one of the 20 drivers Wal-Mart hired in 2002 was black. The EEOC also noted that Wal-Mart hired some white drivers with more serious driving violations and less experience than black applicants."
      • Source: Tammy Joyner, "Truck Driver Applicant Accuses Wal-Mart of Racial Bias," Cox News Service, September 23, 2004.
    • In 2001, the Mexican-American Political Association initiated a boycott of a Fresno, CA Wal-Mart. Ben Benavidez, president of MAPA, claimed that "MAPA received complaints from current and past employees about the store manager and some of his assistants making remarks such as, "You see one Mexican, you've seen them all," "We don't want our store front to look like a Mexican flea market," and something to the effect of, "Have you noticed how Mexican women like to buy body-revealing clothes?"
      • Source: Louis Galvan, "Fresno Wal-Mart Mistreatment Alleged," Fresno Bee, November 24, 2001.
    • The NAACP's 2005 Industry Survey gave Wal-Mart a grade of C- "within the areas of employment, vendor development, advertising/marketing, charitable giving and investing/ franchising."

  • Wal-Mart also testifies to its diversity by citing several awards it has won for racial diversity, including a citation from DiversityInc Magazine.

    That same magazine also published an article entitled "Wal-Mart Diversity Head Can't Back Claims With Numbers," in which it states:

    "The company won't say how many women and people of color now work as hourly associates, supervisors, managers and executives, and it won't describe hiring goals that it touts as critical to its new diversity efforts. As a result, Porter -- a 12-year-veteran of Wal-Mart -- has no factual support for her claim that Wal-Mart's existing diversity efforts have been successful or her contention that those well-publicized hiring goals will produce any significant change."
    (Source: Linda Bean, "Wal-Mart Diversity Head Can't Back Claims with Numbers," DiversityInc Magazine, June 23, 2004.)

City of Cameron give WAL-MART $2.1 MILLION to set up shop

City of Brookfield gives WAL-MART $300,000,00 to open doors

  • In Brookfield, "A Wal-Mart Supercenter of 110,000 sq. ft. was opened in 7-98. A voluntary annexation incorporated that area into the city. Utilities cost of $300,000 were paid by developer with a reported agreement that funds would be paid-back by the positive sales tax revenue generated by the Supercenter with consideration of the decrease in revenue experienced by the largest five businesses in town at that time."
  • Source: Donna Kennedy and John Morrison, Hometown Merchants Association Report.
    Primary Source information: City of Brookfield, Missouri Department of Economic Development.

According to the Missouri Department of Economic Development, TIF subsidies are only intended for light industrial projects and usually would not apply to a Wal-Mart development, yet somehow Wal-Mart received TIF deals in both Cameron and Brookfield.


  • In an initial search of "electronic archives of local newspapers to find cases of Wal-Mart stores that had received" development subsidies, Good Jobs First uncovered "91 stores that have received public assistance. In total, these subsidies were worth about $245 million to Wal-Mart and the developers of shopping centers in which a Wal-Mart store served as an anchor. Individual subsidy deals in those 91 stores ranged from less than $1 million to about $12 million, with an average of about $2.8 million." Later, Good Jobs First conducted "searches in a database covering the one type of subsidy�industrial revenue bonds�for which some centralized information is available. This enabled [Good Jobs First] to identify another 69 stores that received low-cost financing of approximately $138 million. This brought the total number of subsidy deals [Good Jobs First] identified to 244. The total value of all the subsidies was $1.008 billion."
  • Source: Good Jobs First, "Shopping For Subsidies: How Wal-Mart Uses Taxpayer Money To Finance Its Never-Ending Growth," May 2004.

Esry Family Subsidy: $0

  • The Esrys did not receive any kind of "tax abatement" through a tax-increment financing deal. Their grocery stores are not eligible for TIF-subsidized infrastructure improvements under Missouri law, though Wal-Mart developers were somehow able to receive TIF deals that they normally would not be eligible for.

    The Esrys also have a small farm, which does qualify for federal funds. Federal small-farm subsidies differ from the types of subsidies that Wal-Mart receives from state and local governments across the nation. According to Wikipedia, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is required by law (via the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, the Agricultural Act of 1949, and the CCC Charter Act of 1948, among others) to subsidize over two dozen agricultural commodities. The money for small-farm subsidies is already earmarked, by law, for that purpose in the government's budget. In contrast, the most common types of subsidies that Wal-Mart receives, including tax-increment financing (as described below), appropriates a portion of a city's tax revenue to finance infrastructure projects (construction of sewer and water lines, ingress and egress routes, etc) that most small businesses would have to pay for or finance themselves.

    (For more about TIF subsidies, see this report from Good Jobs First, or read Greg LeRoy's book "The Great American Jobs Scam: Corporate Tax Dodging And the Myth of Job Creation".)

Currently in the U.S. there are 26,699,678 SQUARE FEET of empty WAL-MARTS

  • "As of [March 5, 2005], Wal-Mart Realty has a total of 356 buildings for sale or lease, a total of 26,699,678 million square feet of empty stores. That's enough empty space to fill up 534 football fields. This phenomenal figure makes Wal-Mart the King of Dead Air in America and the world. No othe retailer has this many dead stores in its inventory. The annual figure ranges around 350 to 400 from year to year."
  • Source: Al Norman, "Wal-Mart Has 356 "Dark Stores" Available for Sale or Lease,", March 5, 2005.

1999: All new WAL-MART construction halted in state of PENNSYLVANIA due to Environmental Violations

  • "The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has signed a consent order and agreement with Wal-mart that will improve environmental construction practices for the Arkansas-based retailer's stores throughout Pennsylvania...The agreement is the result of violations of water quality laws and regulations at a Wal-mart under construction in Honesdale Borough, Wayne County, between January and September 1998...Wal-mart must correct all remaining violations at the Honesdale site under a schedule in the agreement. The retailer also will pay a $100,000 civil penalty to the Commonwealth and $2,800 to the Wayne County Conservation District...Three stop-work orders were issued by DEP for different areas of the construction site, and a hold was placed on new permits for Wal-mart construction sites throughout the Commonwealth as a result of the violations in Wayne County."
  • Source: Press Release, PA Department of Environmental Protection (Northeast Regional Office), February 4, 1999.

2001: EPA orders WAL-MART to pay $1.0 MILLION fine for Clean Water Violations in: TEXAS, OKLAHOMA AND MASSACHUSETTS

  • "The Justice Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today reached an environmental agreement with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to resolve claims the retailer violated the Clean Water Act at 17 locations in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Massachusetts. This is the first federal enforcement action against a company for multi-state violations of the Act's storm water provisions. The settlement commits Wal-Mart to establish a $4.5 million environmental management plan, to improve the retailer's compliance with environmental laws at each of its construction sites and minimize the impact of its building on streams and watersheds. The settlement also compels the company to pay a $1 million civil penalty."
  • Source: Press Release, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency/Department of Justice, June 7, 2001.

2004: WAL-MART fined $3.1 MILLION by EPA, the largest ever for a retailer, for Clean Water Act violations in TEXAS, COLORADO, CALIFORNIA, DELAWARE, MICHIGAN, SOUTH DAKOTA, NEW JERSEY, TENNESSEE and UTAH

  • "$3.1 Million Penalty Is Largest for Storm Water Violations at Construction Sites"
  • "The Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Delaware and the states of Utah and Tennessee, today announced a Clean Water Act settlement for storm water violations at Wal-Mart store construction sites across the country...In addition to paying a $3.1 million civil penalty to the United States, Tennessee and Utah, Wal-Mart has agreed to spend $250,000 on an environmental project that will help protect sensitive wetlands or waterways in one of the affected states, which are California, Colorado, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Utah."
  • Source: Press Release, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency/Department of Justice, May 12, 2004.

2005: Connecticut EPA orders WAL-MART to pay $1.15 MILLION for Clean Water Act violations in 22 stores

  • "Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Gina McCarthy today announced a $1.15 million settlement with Wal-Mart involving environmental violations at 22 stores related to stormwater and other water management issues."
  • Source: Press Release, CT Attorney General's Office, August 15, 2005.

Cost for WAL-MART Factory Worker to Assemble: $0.18
Retail cost at Wal-Mart: $14.96

WAL-MART Imported $18 BILLION from CHINA in 2004

  • "The world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, says its inventory of stock produced in China is expected to hit US$18 billion this year [2004], keeping the annual growth rate of over 20 per cent consistent over two years."
  • Source: Jiang Jingjing, "Wal-Mart's China Inventory To Hit US $18B This Year," China Daily, November 29, 2004.

Lee Scott earnings for 2005: $27,207,799

Average WAL-MART Hourly Sales Employee Earnings: $13,861

  • "On average, Wal-Mart sales clerks -- "associates" in company parlance -- pulled in $8.23 an hour, or $13,861 a year, in 2001, according to documents filed in a lawsuit pending against the company."
  • Source: Anthony Bianco and Wendy Zellner, "Is Wal-Mart Too Powerful?" Business Week, October 6, 2003. Primary source information on 2001 wage data is from the testimony of Dr. Richard Drogin, in Dukes v. WM.


Cost of WAL-MART Jet Fleet: $125,350,000

  • Data provided by Jeff Fiedler, Food and Allied Service Trades, AFL-CIO

The WALTON FAMILY Has Given LESS THAN 1% of Their Wealth to Charity
Bill Gates has given 58%

Wal-Mart Stores' Contributions to a Community

  • According to the Wal-Mart Facts website, "The typical Supercenter raises or gives $30,000 to $50,000 a year to local charitable needs ranging from youth programs to literacy councils." From a survey of Wal-Mart's grand opening contributions, its giving averages to about $47,222 per store.

    According to the Nation, "The WMF's 2003 IRS 990 form is 2,239 pages long, far longer than that of the Ford Foundation, which has billions more in assets. That's because most WMF gifts are tiny: thousands or even hundreds of dollars to churches and Lions clubs and Boys and Girls clubs, $500 to the YMCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee and to the Tulip Trace (Indiana) Girl Scouts Council and so on. Communities where Wal-Mart faced a particular battle over opening a new store--Inglewood, California, or New York City--enjoyed especially generous largesse. Like the flowers and other tokens of courtship from a suitor who later becomes a wife-beater, such gifts are often followed by demands for public subsidies and tax breaks. In this way Wal-Mart is repeating the strategy that has served it so well in Arkansas, where Wal-Mart and the Waltons' charitable gifts are many and company critics are relatively few. Says Lindsay Brown, president of the Central Arkansas Labor Council, 'It's a hell of a plan, and it works.' "

    Taken in the context of Wal-Mart's taxpayer costs, however, Wal-Mart's per store charitable contributions do not match up to the amount of money a store takes in the "numerous forms of public assistance--Medicaid, Food Stamps, public housing--that often allow workers to subsist on Wal-Mart's low wages. A report by the House Education and Workforce Committee conservatively places [public assistance costs] at $420,750 per store; the Wal-Mart Foundation's per-store charitable giving is just 11 percent of that amount ($47,222)."

  • Source: Liza Featherstone, "On The Wal-Mart Money Trail,", The Nation, November 21, 2005.

The WALTON FAMILY Made $3.2 MILLION in Political Contributions in 2004

  • "Led by Sam Walton's only daughter, Alice, the family spent $3.2 million on lobbying, conservative causes and candidates for last year's federal elections. That's more than double what it spent in the previous two elections combined, public documents show...a USA TODAY review of public documents reveals a small-town Arkansas family emerging as a political juggernaut on tax issues, extending Wal-Mart's influence over U.S. society even more."
  • Source: Jim Hopkins, "Wal-Mart Family Lobbies For Tax Cuts," USA Today, April 5, 2005.

A WAL-MART Worker may donate money from their paycheck to the CRITICAL NEED FUND, a program to aid other employees in times of crisis, like a fire or tornado.
In 2004, WAL-MART Employees gave OVER $5 MILLION to help fellow workers

  • Source: Form 990, Wal-Mart Associates in Critical Need Fund, 2004

The Walton Family gave $6,000

The WALTON FAMILY received a federal tax cut of: $91,500.00 per HOUR in the 2004 tax year

  • "FAST has calculated that in 2004, assuming the Walton family continues to hold their 1.68 billion shares of Wal-Mart stock and the company actually pays the 48 cent per share dividend projected, the five Walton family members (Helen, Rob, Alice, Jim and John) will save at least $190,367,803 in federal income taxes."
  • Source: Jeff Fielder, "Cheney Visit To Wal-Mart Shows He'll Never 'Get It'," Food and Allied Service Trades Department (AFL-CIO), May 5, 2004.

Screen Crawl of Wal-Mart Parking Lot Crimes that Occurred in the First 7 Months of 2005

  • Compiled from searches of newspaper and television news archives on Google and Lexis/Nexis. View the list.

Screen Crawl of Community Victories Against Wal-Mart

  • Compiled from searches of the Sprawl-Busters database, Google, and Lexis/Nexis. View the list.

Some Facts on Wal-Mart's Impact on Local Business

"Wal-Mart's influence begins before a store even goes in." - Los Angeles Times

  • When Jon Hunter applied for a business loan for H&H Hardware (presumably against the equity on the building that he had been paying on for the past 15 years), the bank actually de-valued Hunter's property, specifically citing Wal-Mart as a factor:
    "I put this business plan together that with the help of hard, different hardware organizations and people and I went to several different banks to check on some funding. And, ah,when I got an appraisal on my, on the business and, and the buildings, you know, the appraiser actually came in and de-valued the building. Here I figured it would be appreciating, after, like ten years, and he came in with a lower value and I questioned him, said, "How can this be?" I say, you know, "With inflation and, the economy's not great but it still should be at least holding its value." And he said, "No," he said, ah, "Any time a Wal-Mart's coming in to a town they, they knock the values down because sooner or later there's going to be a bunch of empty buildings and none of them are going to be able to sell."

    This shows that there is a recognition by market forces that Wal-Mart has a negative effect on local businesses in surrounding areas.

  • To say that Wal-Mart wipes out ALL existing businesses is of course ridiculous, and we do not make that point in our film. Businesses close for a number of reasons; the point we are making in the film, a point that is supported by a wealth of evidence present and not present in the film, is that Wal-Mart, in the final equation, hurts rather than helps these businesses in the struggle to remain open and competitive.

    As Greg LeRoy, author of the recent book "The Great American Jobs Scam," puts it, "Just because there are more places to shop does not mean people have more money to spend." Several studies, including those presented at Wal-Mart's own recent economic conference, affirm that Wal-Mart does not create new economic activity, but merely captures existing sales from businesses in the town and the surrounding areas. These effects are also not immediate, but build up over a length of time.

  • Consider the following findings from existing academic studies that have studied Wal-Mart's effect on local markets:
    • A study of small and rural towns in Iowa showed lost sales for local businesses ranging from -17.2% in small towns to -61.4% in rural areas, amounting to a total dollar loss of $2.46 BILLION over a 13-year period.
    • In Iowa, retail businesses in several categories experienced a decline of up to 59% over a 13-year period.
      • Source: Kenneth Stone, "Impact of the Wal-Mart Phenomenon on Rural Communities In Iowa" [PDF file], University of Iowa, 1997

    • In Mississippi, local food stores in counties hosting a Wal-Mart supercenter lost sales of up to 17 percent over 5 years
    • For every gain in sales by a Supercenter, there are corresponding losses in sales for local and/or family businesses
      • Source: Kenneth Stone, "The Economic Impact of Wal-Mart Supercenters on Existing Businesses in Mississippi" [PDF file], University of Iowa, 2003

    • In Maine, Wal-Mart captured an average $7.8 million from local/family businesses in their host towns during the first year of operation.
      • Source: Georgeanne Artz, "The Impact of Wal-Mart on Retail Market Structure in Maine," unpublished thesis, University of Maine, 1999

    • Retail Forward, an industry consulting firm, estimates that for every Wal-Mart Supercenter that opens in the next five years, two supermarkets will close.
      • Source: Retail Forward, "Wal-Mart Food: Big, and Getting Bigger," 2003
About the film
Director's Introduction
The People
» The Facts
Movie Soundtrack
Wal-Mart's Response:
The Attacks
Manager's Script
Bad Old Reviews
On Location:
Princess in China
Embedded in Florida
Veteran in Missouri
Parking Lot Crime
Production details
Financing & Insurance
Organizing with film
Poking Fun
Meet the Team
Special Thanks