Reprinted with the permission of http://www.door-county-guide.com
We left off in the last Door County Blog asking the question: Is WALMART exploiting their workers?
The issue of exploitation is a tricky one. One persons idea of exploitation can be vastly different than anothers. What seems like exploitation to an observer may in all likelyhood be an only option for employment by another.
Now we are firmly behind the idea of Union shops and businesses, However how many Union shops are here in Door County? Not many.
Based on low pay and weak benefits is WALMART the only exploiter of Door County workers. Ever wonder how those great Door County cherries, apples, and strawberries get to your table? Ever wonder how your hotel room is kept so spotless?
If you answered: Throught the use of low-skilled, low paid, often seasonal workers you hit the nail on the head. When the orchards are ripe for harvest someone needs to pick that produce. We personally met with many a person dog tired, filthy, hands stained, and hands cut returning from a day in the field.
These are folks that have mouths to feed,few skills, and a strong desire to support themselves. Where is their health plan, 401K, sick leave, retirement package, education pay? Lets see, Um No where! So when we are talking about a company exploiting Door County Workers lets look at every company.
The way we see it WALMART suffers from an illness for which no cure is available. That is pure and unabashed Corporate Greed! Thats right, bottom line at all costs. Anyone that follows the spread of WALMART across America can not help but notice the many "corporate scandals" surrounding the retail giant.
First it was the overseas prisoners producing their goods scandals. Then came the revalation of WALMARTS "free life insurance," where the company itself saw financial gain upon an employees death. Factor in the companys rabid opposition to union shops and you get a major case of Corporate Greed.
We think that some of WALMARTS past business practices were down right immoral, unethical, and highly exploitive. What were these corporate execs thinking? However, it appears that the worst issues were settled. Most likely only through public pressure.
But does this make WALMART an evil exploiter of every community it moves into. Probably not. However it does warrant the significant scrutiny the corporation gets. Lets face it, many of todays most popular business tycoons were not always boyscouts. Henry Ford and the Rockafellers to name just two. If you examine the issues surrounding WALMART it gets pretty hard to see past the hype.
There is no doubt that this is one company that really pulled some bonehead moves in the past. And their worship of the dollar and bottom line will most likely gain them some unwanted but appropriate negative attention in the future.
Lets face it, change happens. Even in Door County. We think those Door County residents fighting giants such as WALMART, Home Depot, K-mart etc.. aleready lost a battle they cannot win. Work with corporations and establish corporate "standards of conduct" they must adhere to if they want to do business in the area.
We are not saying build a K-Mart on the shores of Ephraim. But there is a place for everyone in Door County. There are just too many percieved and real benefits that come along with community growth, if properly monitored.
It is our great hope that issues surrounding the Peninsula's growth will be determined by the entire community.
So to the special interest groups, radicals on both sides of the issue, and trouble makers, Hands Off and Butt Out. Put the all the facts before the people and let them control their communities.