Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Walmart leads the world in labor exploitation

Walmart is one of the worst exploiters of labor in existence. It goes past the scale of anything witnessed in historical cases of slavery. Walmart has expanded its influence to parts of the developing world where labor is in abundance and squeezes the life out of its workers for maximum profits. Walmart has to face over 5000 lawsuits a year for human rights violations.

WalMart's excessive exploitation of child labor forced even China to take action. China proudly reported that it had broken up a child labor ring in Guangdong province that used over 100 children ages 13 to 15 and paid an average wage of 42 cents an hour with no overtime. The minimum wage in China is 64 cents an hour and the minimum working age is 16.

In addition to overuse of child labor and exploitation of the impoverished, WalMart finds that it's cheaper to wash employees' blood out of manufactured clothing before selling it than to provide
gloves and safe machines to their seamstresses.
Muhammad Saidur Rehman, A Wal-Mart factory owner in Bangladesh said "We still suffer from the legacy of the colonial days ... We consider the workers to be our slaves, and this belief is made all the easier by a supply of labor that is endlessly abundant."

Many people have tried to fight Walmart and those who seek fair trade products are now being heard more loudly than in previous years. However, Walmart even thought of that and in 2005, was caught passing off imported sweatshop-produced products as "being made in the USA".

Walmart is a role-model for all people abusing sweatshop and slave labor. It has gained immense wealth and influence at the cost of countless lives. I am waiting for the day when "the bigger they are, the harder they fall" sings its sweet song into Walmart's coffers. Hopefully in the future no corporation will ever be able to out-do Walmart.

8 comments:

  1. Walmart is such a huge company and its disturbing to think that a place many of us go to often, contributes to such horrible labor conditions for workers and children. Its worse to think that they wont even provide a safe environment for their workers or give them simple things such as gloves so that they don't bleed on the merchandise. I'm not exactly sure how we could stop Walmart overall because many people depend on Walmart for their low prices, it would be difficult to get people to stop purchasing what they need but people should be more aware of what they are buying and where it is coming from.

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  2. I agree with Taqueraw it would be difficult for people to stop shopping a Walmart because it is such a big company and costs are low. Walmart is a powerhouse and more people know about Walmart than the on going problems with slavery. When this is reversed, that's when we can start making some changes.

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  3. Personally I would rather spend an extra few dollars and to support a local business than to shop at Walmart. "Walmart kills culture." Sure you may save 15$ by shopping Walmart's cheap selection, but I have also found that with their chaotic atmosphere you may come out with more product than originally planned for or need. "WalMart finds that it's cheaper to wash employees' blood out of manufactured clothing before selling it than to provide gloves and safe machines to their seamstresses", why would anyone buy clothes from Walmart? This is appalling, an option would to be shop at a salvation army or a store of the like. I guarantee you will find better quality apparel and this is also recycling at its best. Boycott Walmart.

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  4. Wow I had no idea that Walmart was involved with child labor. It makes sense though, Walmart is always bragging about their low prices so their merchendice had to come form some place that wouldnt cost them alot of money. Now that I know this I will think twice befor I shop at WalMart.

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  5. I agree with Martha about the quote "WalMart finds that it's cheaper to wash employees' blood out of manufactured clothing before selling it than to provide gloves and safe machines to their seamstresses." That really is sickening. Unfortunately, I don't realistically see people cutting WalMart out of their lives completely. The prices are so low, and with the economy the way it is... Then again, maybe if the type of knowledge in your blog was made more public, it would get people's attention.

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  6. We've learned alot about cheapening the word 'slavery' in our class, and while I feel for the cause, the kids are still being paid. I think it is inappropriate to use the word slave for this case. You never say that the kids are unable to leave, or that they are threatened with violence. While Walmart is a highly exploitive employer, the exploited children are not slaves.

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  7. Jeff makes a good point about the insisting upon the distinction between slavery and labor exploitation, but I think Jimmy has avoided calling this slavery, even if one of his sources said that people act as if the workers were slaves. But I have often wondered whether any form of child labor is free labor? Do children ever choose to work? Or are they forced to? Is it possible that we might have to labor all child labor as slave labor? This is a question that I consider thorny.

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  8. I do not think walmart can be stopped. Human beings are selfish. Most people are not willing to trade off these low prices just so they can know that people were not underpaid or exploited. This practice of beating everyone elses prices through cutting corners and exploiting employees is what has made 4 of the walmart owners land on the top ten richest americans list published by Forbes magazine.

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