Sharing Daily Discoveries About Personal Finance And Business Topics

Wal-Mart And The Economy

financial literacy

I was just watching a mini documentary here which was mainly about Wal-Mart and its battles with the UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers) here in Canada. The documentary went over about Wal-Mart’s business philosophies and what appears to be a very anti-union business approach. The documentary revolved around a store located in Weyburn Saskatchewan as it is a store that has a good chance in becoming a unionized store.

It was a fascinating documentary I thought as it showed how that small town really wanted a Wal-Mart in their community and how much of a positive impact it has had for them in terms of enabling people to buy things for less at one place. As a result this also attracted more people and business into the small community. On the flip side, the business needs to keep expenses at a minimum to be able to offer low prices and obviously one source of that is employee wages which is something the company has been consistently criticized about.

The documentary showed some events that I was already aware of such as how there actually was one store here in Canada which was successfully unionized and it was quickly closed down shortly after which created a lot of controversy and fear for others who attempted to do the same. That part about Wal-Mart having internal staff members to specifically alert higher ups on people who want a unionized environment was interesting to say the least. I’ve seen certain large companies do this just for general wages as well where they plant someone to try and find out who wants a higher wage. They then dubiously give that person a hard time until they voluntarily quit which hides the company’s true intentions in wanting to get rid of the person while showing no wrong doing on their part.

Maybe it is just me, but for some reason with the way the documentary was presented it looked like the union battle was more about a power struggle between two organizations rather than focusing on what’s best for the people and the community. The main topic that comes up for me after seeing this is when it comes to our careers and how much we make, in the end shouldn’t it be more about your own decisions to be where you are as oppose to trying to force a company to cater your wants? Whether you favor an anti union or pro union type of working environment, I think it is important to always think about the ramifications for both parties in a bigger picture type of way.

In the end of the documentary, it showed how the mayor of Weyburn was worried at how much of an impact it would have in the small town if the store was to close down as a result of it be unionized. When the store opened up, it pretty much forced a lot of its competition to close its doors as well. This means closing that one store would be hundreds of lost jobs while also extremely diminishing the town’s ability to buy goods/services. That’s kind of frightening when you think about it on how one company can have that much of an impact whether it be positive or negative.

Most people tell me that the prices are almost the same compared to many other places here. After watching this, it kind of makes me interested in wanting to go to a Wal-Mart store to seriously see if one really saves that much money from shopping there. Guess it will be interesting to see how that whole union issue turns out too.

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