[Paleopsych] NYRB: Inside the Leviathan

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Inside the Leviathan
Volume 51, Number 20 · December 16, 2004

By [13]Simon Head


Wal-Mart: Template for 21st Century Capitalism?
edited by Nelson Lichtenstein

    Papers presented at a conference on Wal-Mart held at the University of
    California, Santa Barbara, April 12, 2004.
    New Press, forthcoming in 2005

US Productivity Growth, 1995-2000, Section VI: Retail Trade
a report by the McKinsey Global Institute
    October 2001, at www.mckinsey.com/knowledge/mgi/productivity

[14]Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers' Rights at Wal-Mart
by Liza Featherstone
    Basic Books, 282 pp., $25.00

[15]Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
by Barbara Ehrenreich
    Owl, 221 pp., $13.00 (paper)

Betty Dukes, Patricia Surgeson, Cleo Page et al., Plaintiff, vs. Wal-Mart
Stores Inc., Defendant: Declarations in Support of Plaintiffs
    United States District Court, Northern District of California, at

Everyday Low Wages: The Hidden Price We All Pay for Wal-Mart
a report by the Democratic Staff of the House Committee on Education and the
    February 16, 2004, at


    Throughout the recent history of American capitalism there has always
    been one giant corporation whose size dwarfs that of all others, and
    whose power conveys to the world the strength and confidence of
    American capitalism itself. At mid-century General Motors was the
    undisputed occupant of this corporate throne. But from the late 1970s
    onward GM shrank in the face of superior Japanese competition and from
    having outsourced the manufacture of many car components to
    independent suppliers. By the millennium GM was struggling to maintain
    its lead over Ford, its longstanding rival.

    With the technology boom of the 1990s, the business press began
    writing about Microsoft as if it were GM's rightful heir as the
    dominant American corporation. But despite its worldwide monopoly as
    the provider of software for personal computers, Microsoft has lacked
    the essential qualification of size. In Fortune's 2004 listings of the
    largest US corporations, Microsoft ranks a mere forty-sixth, behind
    such falling stars as AT&T and J.C. Penney. However, Fortune's 2004
    rankings also reveal the clear successor to GM, Wal-Mart. In 2003
    Wal-Mart was also Fortune's "most admired company."^[16][1]

    Wal-Mart is an improbable candidate for corporate gorilla because it
    belongs to a sector, retail, that has never before produced America's
    most powerful companies. But Wal-Mart has grown into a business whose
    dominance of the corporate world rivals GM's in its heyday. With 1.4
    million employees worldwide, Wal-Mart's workforce is now larger than
    that of GM, Ford, GE, and IBM combined. At $258 billion in 2003,
    Wal-Mart's annual revenues are 2 percent of US GDP, and eight times
    the size of Microsoft's. In fact, when ranked by its revenues,
    Wal-Mart is the world's largest corporation.

    One sign of its rising status is an academic conference devoted
    entirely to the subject of Wal-Mart that was held last April at the
    University of California, Santa Barbara. The range of subjects covered
    in the conference papers to be published early next year testifies to
    Wal-Mart's impact both on the transfer of goods from third-world
    sweatshops to suburban shopping malls in the US and on local
    communities where its stores are located. At the conference the
    many class-action lawsuits against Wal-Mart's employment practices
    were discussed, particularly its unfair treatment of women, whether by
    paying them extremely low wages or denying them promotions. The
    conference organizer, the labor historian Nelson Lichtenstein, asked
    Wal-Mart to send a representative, but Wal-Mart declined.

    Within the corporate world Wal-Mart's preeminence is not simply a
    matter of size. In its analysis of the growth of US productivity, or
    output per worker, between 1995 and 2000-- the years of the "new
    economy" and the high-tech bubble on Wall Street--the McKinsey Global
    Institute has found that just over half that growth took place in two
    sectors, retail and wholesale, where, directly or indirectly, Wal-Mart
    "caused the bulk of the productivity acceleration through ongoing
    managerial innovation that increased competition intensity and drove
    the diffusion of best practice."^ This is management-speak for
    Wal-Mart's aggressive use of information technology and its skill in
    meeting the needs of its customers.

    In its own category of "general merchandise," Wal-Mart has taken a
    huge lead in productivity over its competitors, a lead of 44 percent
    in 1987, 48 percent in 1995, and still 41 percent in 1999, even as
    competitors began to copy Wal-Mart's strategy. Thanks to the company's
    superior productivity, Wal-Mart's share of total sales among all the
    sellers of "general merchandise" rose from 9 percent in 1987 to 27
    percent in 1995, and 30 percent in 1999, an astonishing rate of growth
    which recalls the rise of the Ford Motor Company nearly a century ago.
    McKinsey lists some of the leading causes of Wal-Mart's success. For
    example, its huge, ugly box-shaped buildings enable Wal-Mart "to carry
    a wider range of goods than competitors" and to "enjoy labor economies
    of scale."

    McKinsey mentions Wal-Mart's "efficiency in logistics," which make it
    possible for the company to buy in bulk directly from producers of
    everything from toilet paper to refrigerators, allowing it to dispense
    with wholesalers. McKinsey also makes much of the company's innovative
    use of information technology, for example its early use of computers
    and scanners to track inventory, and its use of satellite
    communications to link corporate headquarters in Arkansas with the
    nationwide network of Wal-Mart stores. Setting up and fine-tuning
    these tracking and distribution systems has been the special
    achievement of founder Sam Walton's (the "Wal" of Wal-Mart) two
    successors as CEO, David Glass and the incumbent Lee Scott.

    Throughout its forty-year existence Wal-Mart has also shown
    considerable skill in defining its core customers and catering to
    their needs. One of Sam Walton's wisest decisions was to locate many
    of his earliest stores in towns with populations of fewer than five
    thousand people, communities largely ignored by his competitors. This
    strategy gave Wal-Mart a near monopoly in its local markets and
    enabled the company to ride out the recessions of the 1970s and 1980s
    more successfully than its then larger competitors such as K-Mart and
    Sears.^[17][2] Wal-Mart has also been skillful in providing products
    that appeal to women with low incomes.

    Although her book Selling Women Short is a powerful indictment of how
    Wal-Mart has treated its female employees, Liza Featherstone
    nonetheless acknowledges the lure of the Wal-Mart store for female
    shoppers, who delight "in spending as little as possible, all in one
    place." At a Wal-Mart "supercenter"

      you can change a tire, buy groceries for dinner, and get a new pair
      of shoes and some yard furniture--a set of errands that once would
      have required a long afternoon of visits to far-flung merchants.

    All these innovations contribute to Wal-Mart's remarkable productivity
    record, and this in turn has opened up another major source of
    competitive advantage for the company, its policy of "Every Day Low
    Prices" ("EDLP"), which makes it possible for it to undersell its
    competitors by an average of as much as 14 percent.^[18][3] Here the
    picture darkens because Wal-Mart's ability to keep prices low depends
    not just on its productivity but also on its ability to contain, or
    even reduce, costs, above all labor costs. As Sam Walton wrote in his

      You see: no matter how you slice it in the retail business, payroll
      is one of the most important parts of overhead, and overhead is one
      of the most crucial things you have to fight to maintain your
      profit margin.

    One of the ways to win this particular fight is to make sure that the
    growth of labor's productivity well exceeds the growth of its wages
    and benefits, which has in fact been the dominant pattern for US
    corporations during the past decade.

    From a corporate perspective, this is a rosy outcome. When the
    productivity of labor rises and its compensation stagnates, then,
    other things being equal, the cost of labor per unit of output will
    fall and profit margins will rise. Wal-Mart has carried this strategy
    to extremes. While its workforce has one of the best productivity
    records of any US corporation, it has kept the compensation of its
    rank-and-file workers at or barely above the poverty line. As of last
    spring, the average pay of a sales clerk at Wal-Mart was $8.50 an
    hour, or about $14,000 a year, $1,000 below the government's
    definition of the poverty level for a family of three.^[19][4] Despite
    the implied claims of Wal-Mart's current TV advertising campaign,
    fewer than half-- between 41 and 46 percent--of Wal-Mart employees can
    afford even the least-expensive health care benefits offered by the
    company. To keep the growth of productivity and real wages far apart,
    Wal-Mart has reached back beyond the New Deal to the harsh, abrasive
    capitalism of the 1920s.

    At a retail business such as Wal-Mart the methods used to increase
    employee productivity differ from those used "on the line" at a
    manufacturing plant producing automobiles or computers, where work can
    be rigorously defined, and higher productivity can be achieved by
    simplifying tasks so that they are performed more quickly. At Wal-Mart
    most employees are not engaged in single, repetitive tasks. The
    location and timing of work at a Wal-Mart store is determined by the
    flow of goods entering the store through the back entrance, and the
    flow of customers entering the store through the front.

    Neither of these flows is constant or entirely predictable, and
    workers may have to be moved from one task to another as the flows
    change. An employee may begin the day by unloading and unpacking goods
    at the receiving dock; she may then transfer to shifting goods from
    the dock into the store; then to stacking goods on shelves or in
    special displays; and then finally to registering the sale of goods at
    one of the many checkout counters and making change. (At a Wal-Mart
    "supercenter" I recently visited in suburban Columbus, Ohio, there
    were two rows of checkout counters, each row with eighteen cash

    Since there is no assembly line at Wal-Mart its senior management uses
    blunter methods to achieve higher levels of productivity from the
    workforce. These methods are governed by a simple principle: when
    deciding how many workers to employ, Wal-Mart management relies on a
    formula guaranteeing that the growth of the labor budget will lag
    behind the growth in store sales, so that every year there will be
    more work for each employee to do. In her paper "The Quality of Work
    at Wal-Mart," presented at the conference in Santa Barbara, Ellen
    Rosen of the Women's Studies Research Center at Brandeis described in
    detail how this squeeze on labor works. Each year Wal-Mart provides
    its store managers with a "preferred budget" for employment, which
    would allow managers to staff their stores at adequate levels. But the
    actual budget imposed on the store managers always falls short of the
    preferred budget, so that most Wal-Mart stores are permanently
    understaffed. The gap between the preferred and actual budgets gives
    store managers an idea of how much extra work they must try to extract
    from their workforce.

    Jed Stone, a store manager at Wal-Mart between 1983 and 1991,
    explained to Rosen the practical consequences of this understaffing:

      With the meager staff he was allowed, it had always been a struggle
      to keep the shelves stacked and the floors shiny, or to get hourly
      workers to help customers.

    To get the work done Stone had to break the company rules by having
    employees work more than fifty hours a week--an "offense" for which a
    manager can be fired at Wal-Mart. Rosen also interviewed Katie
    Mitchell, a shop floor employee who worked night shifts at the
    unloading dock. Her task was to move goods from the dock to the store
    aisles where they could be stacked. She also had to count the goods
    with her handheld computer: "There was always too much work to be done
    and no one to help her," and at the end of the shift the supervisor
    was always at hand to issue a reprimand if the work had not been done.

    Sandra Stevenson was an overnight supervisor at a Wal-Mart store in
    Gurnee, Illinois, whose job was to get the store ready for the next
    day's business. Stevenson was supposed to be assigned between fourteen
    and sixteen employees to do the job properly; but she was usually
    understaffed and her requests for additional workers were always
    turned down. Nevertheless, Stevenson was severely reprimanded for "the
    condition of the store in the mornings."^[20][5] After a string of
    such incidents, Stevenson found that her "spirit was broken" and she
    left the company. Many others have had similar experiences.

    The pervasive understaffing at Wal-Mart gives rise to one of the most
    common employee infractions at the company, "time theft." With each
    em-ployee having more work to do, managers assume that whenever they
    see an employee not working, she must be shirking her duties, or
    "stealing time" from the corporation, a punishable offense. When
    Barbara Ehrenreich worked at a Minneapolis Wal-Mart as part of her
    research for her book on low-wage work, Nickel and Dimed, she was told
    by her boss that "time theft" in the form of "associates standing
    around talking to one another" was his "pet peeve." Later a fellow
    worker warned Ehrenreich that they could only talk about their work,
    and that anything else counted as "time theft" and was forbidden.
    Ehrenreich soon found that her boss and his fellow management spies
    were a constant presence on the shop floor, looking out for time


    The harshness of the working conditions at Wal-Mart helps to account
    for the exceptionally high employee turnover at the company. Some 50
    percent of Wal-Mart workers employed at the beginning of 2003 had left
    the company by the end of the year. At the retailer Costco, where
    employees are better treated, turnover in 2003 was just 24
    percent.^[21][6] But Wal-Mart's harshness is not simply a consequence
    of management's efforts to extract maximum productivity from its
    workforce at minimum cost. There are also employees and groups of
    employees that management particularly mistrusts, and these have often
    been subjected to relentless harassment. Hundreds of employees have
    testified against Wal-Mart in the many class-action lawsuits brought
    against the corporation, and their sworn depositions provide a
    detailed account of what it is like to work at Wal-Mart day by day,
    even hour by hour.

    Perhaps the best evidence we have of this selective harassment is to
    be found in the depositions of 115 women who have testified against
    Wal-Mart in the Dukes case, a class-action lawsuit brought in 2001 by
    six female employees and named for one of the six, Betty Dukes, a
    Wal-Mart employee in Pittsburg, California. Most of the witnesses in
    the case have since either left Wal-Mart or been fired, but Betty
    Dukes herself continues to work as a greeter at the Pittsburg
    Wal-Mart. The suit, which alleges systematic discrimination by
    Wal-Mart both in the pay and promotion of women, is brought on behalf
    of 1.6 million female employees of Wal-Mart past and present, the
    largest civil rights case of its kind in US history. On June 22, 2004,
    US District Judge Martin Jenkins of San Francisco held that the Dukes
    lawsuit could proceed to trial, although a date has not been set.

    Sex discrimination at Wal-Mart has a long history. Bethany Moreton, a
    doctoral candidate in history at Yale, has stressed the importance of
    Wal-Mart's origins in the rural, small-town culture of the Ozarks,
    where Wal-Mart's corporate headquarters at Bentonville, Arkansas, is
    still located.^[22][7] In the early years many of the women who worked
    at Wal-Mart were the wives of local Ozark farmers, and the women's
    earnings were a meager supplement to their husbands'. The women in the
    Dukes case say that some of their store managers still often think of
    them as resembling those farmers' wives. Ramona Scott, a Dukes case
    petitioner who worked for Wal-Mart in the 1990s, was told by her store
    manager that "men are here to make a career and women aren't. Retail
    is for housewives who just need to earn extra money."

    In her book on the Dukes case, Selling Women Short, Liza Featherstone
    describes the women who have testified against Wal-Mart and shows why
    they have been willing to take on the corporation, often at the cost
    of their jobs. What the Dukes case women share in common is competence
    (as revealed in their work records), an ambition to move on to more
    responsible and better-paying jobs, and a sense of indignation when
    they discover that their male counterparts are paid significantly more
    than they are and are promoted ahead of them. The group includes
    college graduates who have worked at Wal-Mart's Bentonville
    headquarters, as well as high school graduates and dropouts assigned
    to Wal-Mart's checkout counters. For example, Stephanie Odle, an
    assistant store manager at a Riverside, California, Wal-Mart, decided
    that she would testify in the Dukes case when she found that a male
    assistant manager was earning $10,000 a year more than she was.

    The business economist and historian James Hoopes has described
    Wal-Mart as "one of the most highly disciplined firms in the history
    of busi-ness."^[23][8] The independence of spirit shown by the women
    in the Dukes case has therefore challenged the strict obedience that
    Wal-Mart requires of its rank-and-file employees. Indeed, the
    corporation insists on an elaborate aptitude test for new employees
    that is intended to weed out troublemakers. When Barbara Ehrenreich
    took the test at the Minneapolis Wal-Mart, she was told that she had
    given a wrong answer when she agreed "strongly" with the proposition
    that "rules have to be followed to the letter at all times." The only
    acceptable answer for Wal-Mart was "very strongly." Similarly, the
    only correct answer to the proposition "there is room in every
    corporation for a non-conformist" was: "totally disagree."

    For Wal-Mart the Dukes case women were therefore troublemakers who had
    somehow managed to get past Wal-Mart's digital gatekeeper and had
    ended up where they didn't belong. Wal-Mart management has been
    prepared to go to considerable lengths to discourage the women from
    making complaints, and to stop them from pursuing the Dukes case. The
    purpose of this management offensive was not simply to maintain
    discipline at Wal-Mart, but also to protect the corporation's pattern
    of sex discrimination. Since lower wages and salaries paid to female
    employees have added significantly to profits, the company's profit
    margin was threatened by the Dukes women's demands for fair promotion
    and for equal pay.

    The Dukes case depositions show how ruthless and inventive Wal-Mart
    managers can be in keeping troublesome women in their place. To
    discipline the workforce, Wal-Mart managers can use a variety of
    formidable penalties and punishments. There are written reprimands in
    the form of "pink slips"; spoken reprimands in the form of
    "coachings"; "decision making days" when an employee must explain why
    he or she should not be fired; and, finally, summary dismissal. Women
    who inquire about promotion are often told they must conform to rules
    or qualifications that are invented on the spur of the moment and have
    never been required of male employees. Claudia Renati, a marketing
    specialist at a Roseville, California, Wal-Mart, was told by her boss
    that she could not join a management training course unless she could
    first prove to him that she could lift fifty-pound bags of dog food.
    "When I told him I could not repeatedly lift 50 pounds, he told me
    that there was nothing he could do for me." Renati was also told that
    she was not eligible for management training unless she was prepared
    to sell her house in Roseville and move immediately to Alaska.

    The women in the Dukes case were frequently punished or fired for
    trivial or trumped-up offences. Melissa Howard, a manager at several
    Indiana Wal-Marts, resigned from the company when a senior manager
    well known for his belittling of women humiliated Howard in front of
    her subordinates. He berated her for designating a certain type of
    plastic spoon as a nonreplenishable item, even though a junior manager
    had told him that Howard had done the right thing. Trudy Crom, an
    assistant manager at a Loveland, Colorado, Wal-Mart, was told by her
    immediate boss, the store manager, to reprimand all the shop floor
    employees who were working forty hours a week or more and were
    therefore likely to earn higher overtime pay. This was a way of making
    it easier for Wal-Mart to fire such potentially expensive employees if
    the corporation needed to reduce its wage bill. Crom twice queried the
    order with her store manager, and was told both times that it was
    company policy and she should go ahead. But when some of the employees
    complained to senior management about this treatment, the store
    manager denied ever have given the order to Crom, and it was Crom who
    was reprimanded.

    The productivity figures at Wal-Mart wouldn't be as good as they are
    unless most employees were doing their jobs efficiently most of the
    time. But it is hard for Wal-Mart employees to take pride in their
    work or to have confidence in themselves. Perhaps the most powerful
    insight that Barbara Ehrenreich took away from her time at Wal-Mart
    was that the daily routines of the low-wage world damage the
    self-esteem of employees:

      If you are treated as an untrustworthy person--a potential slacker,
      drug addict or thief--you may begin to feel less trustworthy
      yourself. If you are constantly reminded of your lowly position in
      the social hierarchy, whether by individual managers or by a
      plethora of impersonal rules--you begin to accept that unfortunate

    With its deliberate understaffing, its obsession about time theft, its
    management spies, and its arbitrary punishments, Wal-Mart is a
    workplace where management's suspicion can affect the morale of even
    the best employees, creating a discrepancy between their objective
    record of high productivity and how they come to regard their
    performance on the job as a result of their day-to-day dealings with
    management. This discrepancy helps keep wages and benefits low at

    One of the most telling of all the criticisms of Wal-Mart is to be
    found in a February 2004 report by the Democratic Staff of the House
    Education and Workforce Committee. In analyzing Wal-Mart's success in
    holding employee compensation at low levels, the report assesses the
    costs to US taxpayers of employees who are so badly paid that they
    qualify for government assistance even under the less than generous
    rules of the federal welfare system. For a two-hundred-employee
    Wal-Mart store, the government is spending $108,000 a year for
    children's health care; $125,000 a year in tax credits and deductions
    for low-income families; and $42,000 a year in housing assistance. The
    report estimates that a two-hundred-employee Wal-Mart store costs
    federal taxpayers $420,000 a year, or about $2,103 per Wal-Mart
    employee. That translates into a total annual welfare bill of $2.5
    billion for Wal-Mart's 1.2 million US employees.

    Wal-Mart is also a burden on state governments. According to a study
    by the Institute for Labor and Employment at the University of
    California, Berkeley, in 2003 California taxpayers subsidized $20.5
    million worth of medical care for Wal-Mart employees. In Georgia ten
    thousand children of Wal-Mart employees were enrolled in the state's
    program for needy children in 2003, with one in four Wal-Mart
    employees having a child in the program.^[24][9]


    In the introduction to her book Liza Featherstone argues convincingly
    that Wal-Mart is a "scandal, not a praiseworthy business model." Yet
    Wal-Mart is Fortune's most admired corporation, the star of McKinsey's
    productivity study, and the subject, as recently as last April, of a
    hagiographic cover story in The Economist, "Wal-Mart: Learning to Love

    Wal-Mart has also set off a particularly destructive form of
    competition among corporations, which seek competitive advantage by
    pushing down the wages and benefits of employees. A clear example of
    this has been the conflict provoked by Wal-Mart's decision in 2002 to
    enter the southern California grocery market with forty of its
    "supercenters"--where the shopper can buy everything from tomatoes to
    deck furniture and spare tires. Although Wal-Mart has not yet opened
    any of these new stores, the response of California supermarkets, led
    by Safeway, has been to demand cuts in their employees' wages and
    benefits, with the cuts falling heavily on newly hired workers. This
    posed a serious threat to the supermarket employees, 70,000 of whom
    are members of the Union of Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and
    have benefited from its bargaining with employers. While a sales clerk
    at Wal-Mart earns only $8.50 an hour, a worker holding a similar job
    at Safeway or Albertson could earn $13 an hour along with full health
    care benefits.^[26][11] For employees that could make the difference
    between minimal financial security and a life spent scraping by on the
    poverty line.

    After the UFCW called a large-scale strike against the Safeway stores
    last winter, two other retailers, Kroger and Albertsons, locked out
    their workforce --and replaced it with temporary employees--as a
    demonstration of support for Safeway even though their workers were
    not on strike themselves. Taking full advantage of their right to hire
    replacements for striking and nonstriking workers, the supermarket
    owners beat the Safeway strike and forced the UFCW to accept cuts in
    wages and benefits.

    The failure of the California grocery strike, not to mention the
    history of labor relations at Wal-Mart, points to the urgent need for
    reform of labor law in the United States. Wal-Mart is a ferociously
    anti-union company, and the UFCW has yet to organize a Wal-Mart store.
    Every store manager at Wal-Mart is issued a "Manager's Toolbox to
    Remaining Union Free," which warns managers to be on the lookout for
    signs of union activity, such as "frequent meetings at associates'
    homes" or "associates who are never seen together...talking or
    associating with each other."

    The "Toolbox" provides managers with a special hotline so that they
    can get in touch with Wal-Mart's Bentonville headquarters the moment
    they think employees may be planning to organize a union. A
    high-powered union-busting team will then be dispatched by corporate
    jet to the offending store, to be followed by days of compulsory
    anti-union meetings for all employees. In the only known case of union
    success at Wal-Mart, in 2000 workers at the meat-cutting department of
    a Texas Wal-Mart somehow managed to circumvent this corporate FBI, and
    voted to join the UFCW in an election certified by the National Labor
    Relations Board. A week later Wal-Mart closed down the meat-cutting
    department and fired the offending employees, both illegal acts under
    the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRB ordered Wal-Mart to reopen
    the department, reemploy the fired workers, and bargain with the
    union, but Wal-Mart has appealed the NLRB decision and the litigation

    Unions are needed at Wal-Mart for much the same reasons that they were
    needed at Ford and GM in the 1930s--to prevent the mistreatment of
    employees, and to obtain for them fair, living wages. Unions are also
    needed to curb the unedifying "race to the bottom" among corporations.
    If Wal-Mart had been a union company and its employees had the same
    wages and benefits as other California store employees, Safeway and
    Albertsons could not have used Wal-Mart's planned entry into the
    California market as an excuse to beat down employee wages and

    As things stand now, the National Labor Relations Act, the toothless
    federal law governing the right to organize, allows union-busting
    corporations like Wal-Mart to break the law with virtual impunity.
    Since 1995 the US government has issued sixty complaints against
    Wal-Mart at the National Labor Relations Board, citing the illegal
    firing of pro-union employees, as well as the unlawful surveillance
    and intimidation of employees. But under the present law persistent
    violators of government rules such as Wal-Mart are responsible only
    for restoring the lost pay of fired workers --in most cases, not more
    than a few thousand dollars--and these penalties do not increase with
    successive violations. So long as US law makes it possible for
    Wal-Mart to crush efforts to organize unions it will continue to treat
    its more than a million workers shabbily, while the company no doubt
    continues to be celebrated in the business press as a a model of
    efficient modern management.

    The exploitation of the working poor is now central to the business
    strategy favored by America's most powerful and, by some criteria,
    most successful corporation. With the re-election of a president as
    enamored of corporate power as George W. Bush, there is every prospect
    that this strategy and its harsh practices will continue to spread
    throughout the economy.


    ^[27][1] "The Fortune 500 Largest US Corporations," Fortune, April 5,
    2004, p. B-1; see also Jerry Useem, "America's Most Admired Companies:
    One Nation Under Wal-Mart," Fortune, March 3, 2003.

    ^[28][2] Sam Walton with John Huey, Made in America: My Story (Bantam,
    1993), pp. 139-141.

    ^[29][3] Steven Greenhouse, "Wal-Mart, Driving Workers and
    Supermarkets Crazy," The New York Times, October 19, 2003.

    ^[30][4] See Greenhouse, "Wal-Mart, Driving Workers and Supermarkets

    ^[31][5] United States District Court, Northern District of
    California: Betty Dukes, Patricia Surgeson, Cleo Page, et al
    Plaintiff, v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Defendant. Declaration of Sandra
    Stevenson in support of plaintiffs, pp. 2-3. Hereafter referred to as
    "Dukes Case Declarations."

    ^[32][6] Ann Zimmerman, "Costco's Dilemma: Be Kind to Its Workers, or
    Wall Street?" The Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2004.

    ^[33][7] Bethany Moreton, "It Came From Bentonville: The New South
    Origins of Wal-Mart's Managerial Culture," UCSB conference paper,
    forthcoming in Wal-Mart: Template for 21st Century Capitalism?, edited
    by Nelson Lichtenstein.

    ^[34][8] James Hoopes, "Growth Through Knowledge: Wal-Mart, High
    Technology, and the Ever Less Visible Hand of the Manager,"
    forthcoming in Wal-Mart: Template for 21st Century Capitalism? and
    available at www.americaincorporatedweblog.com/index.php, p. 2.

    ^[35][9] See the House Committee on Education and the Workforce,
    Everyday Low Wages, p. 9. See also Featherstone, Selling Women Short,
    p. 148.

    ^[36][10] April 17-23, 2004.

    ^[37][11] See Greenhouse, "Wal-Mart, Driving Workers and Supermarkets


   13. http://www.nybooks.com/authors/847
   14. http://barnesandnoble.bfast.com/booklink/click?sourceid=119949&ISBN=0465023150
   15. http://barnesandnoble.bfast.com/booklink/click?sourceid=119949&ISBN=0805063897

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