This is in response to a letter that appeared in the Feb. 24-March 2 Bayside Times. The letter, “Bringing Walmart to city will benefit its residents,” was written by City Councilmen Peter Koo (R-Flushing) and Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) in support of Walmart opening in New York City. They painted a picture of lower prices and abundant good deals that would allow us to improve our standard of living.
What is more telling, however, is what they left out. In 2007, a suit was brought against Walmart alleging that:
• it failed to pay workers when they missed all or part of their 15-minute rest breaks and half-hour lunch breaks;
• it routinely required employees to work “off the clock” for no pay before and after shifts; and
• managers falsified time sheets to show that breaks were taken and regularly engaged in the “one-minute punch” practice, depriving workers of pay for entire shifts.
They did not mention that employees who have worked certain shifts for many years were summarily told their shifts would change and that if they did not like it, they could leave. One mother who was working a shift compatible with her husband’s work schedule was given a shift change with no notice. The change essentially meant the woman would have to quit her job.
Ulrich and Koo speak in glowing terms of the additional employment opportunities Walmart will offer. Do they believe people in Queens should be subjected to such a negative work experience? They mention that a survey showed that 71 percent of city residents favor having Walmart open.
I say show us the survey. Do not just state numbers. Prove to us you have quoted honest numbers. Based on the reaction Walmart got when it wanted to open in Queens not too long ago, we would suggest Koo and Ulrich are being less than forthright.
©2011 Community News Group
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