Crown Point Walmart

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Crown Point Walmart

Postby Native Son » Thu Nov 03, 2005 1:02 am

What is the deal with everyone all up in arms about a Walmart coming to town? I think it would be great if I didn't have to go to Hobart to go to Walmart. How many merchants in town are going to be negatively effected by Walmart locating at 65 and 231? I can't think of many.

C.P. proposes more big box control

CROWN POINT | City leaders have come up with another version of an ordinance aimed at keeping away most big box stores.

The proposed ordinance, which will be up for debate at a Plan Commission public hearing this month, would amend the city's zoning code. The new language would require a special use for retail businesses in structures 75,000 square feet or bigger.

While similar to an ordinance the Plan Commission briefly discussed last week, the new proposal would force developers or businesses to go before the Board of Zoning Appeals and the City Council for the special use. Under the other ordinance, developers proposing projects 75,000 square feet or larger would just go before the zoning board and request a variance from the development standards, according to Curt Graves, Crown Point's building and planning director.

In the immediate future, both proposals could affect Lauth Property Group's plans to build two anchor stores, one 203,000 square feet and another 88,400 square feet, at the intersection of Interstate 65 and U.S. 231.

One of the stores could be a Wal-Mart, which City Council members and Mayor Dan Klein have come out against.

Local businesses also have expressed concerns about the possibility of a Wal-Mart locating in Crown Point.

City Councilman Mike Conquest, R-at large, said the special use would give the city more control. A special use requirement allows officials to put conditions on a proposal that a variance doesn't, he said. For example, the conditions could affect building materials or a store's time of operation.

"We could ask maybe some more questions about the operation," Conquest said.

Council member Carol Drasga, R-at large, said she hadn't heard about the new proposal yet, but thought it sounded like it offered the city some flexibility to consider large retailers not seen as detrimental to the community.

The Plan Commission will discuss the proposal Nov. 14.
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Re: Wal-mart

Postby codepoetmike » Mon Nov 07, 2005 9:31 pm

Just a little research will tell you why.
Here are serveral reasons.

Wal-Mart Wages and Worker Rights

A Substantial Number of Wal-Mart Associates earn far below the poverty line

In 2003, sales associates, the most common job in Wal-Mart, earned on average $8.23 an hour for annual wages of $13,861.The 2003 poverty line for a family of three was $15,260. [?Is Wal-Mart Too Powerful??, Business Week, 10/6/03]

A 2003 wage analysis reported that cashiers, the second most common job, earn approximately $7.92 per hour and work 29 hours a week. This brings in annual wages of only $11,948. [?Statistical Analysis of Gender Patterns in Wal-Mart?s Workforce?, Dr. Richard Drogin 2003]
Wal-Mart Associates don't earn enough to support a family

The national median family budget in the United States for a two-person family (one parent and one child) in 1999 was $23,705, well above the average associate's annual wages of $13,861. [?Poverty and Family Budgets? online at]

Wal-Mart can afford wage increases

Wal-Mart can cover the cost of a dollar an hour wage increase by raising prices a half penny per dollar. For instance, a $2.00 pair of socks would then cost $2.01. This minimal increase would annually add up to $1,800 for each employee. [Analysis of Wal-Mart Annual Report 2005]
Wal-Mart forces employees to work off-the-clock

As of the printing of their 2005 Annual Report, Wal-Mart faced 44 wage and hour lawsuits. Major law-suits have either been won or are working their way through the legal process in states such as California, Indiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington. [Wal-Mart Annual Report 2005]

Wal-Mart was recently ordered by courts to pay up to 120 workers in Gallup, New Mexico and 400 workers in 27 stores in Oregon for violating wage and hour laws.

In 2002, statisticians estimated Wal-Mart shortchanged its Texas workers $150 million over four years by regularly not paying them for working through their 15-minute breaks. [Sources include Associated Press, "Federal Jury Finds Wal-Mart Guilty in Overtime Pay Case," Chicago Tribune, Business 3, 12/20/03 and Steven Greenhouse, ?Suits Say Wal-Mart Forces Workers to Toil Off the Clock,? New York Times, A1, 6/25/02)]

Wal-Mart violates the Fair Labor Standards Act

One week of time records from 25,000 employees in July 2000 found 1,371 instances of minors working too late, during school hours, or for too many hours in a day. There were 60,767 missed breaks and 15,705 lost meal times. [Steven Greenhouse, ?Suits Say Wal-Mart Forces Workers to Toil Off the Clock,? New York Times, A1, 6/25/02]
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Wal-Mart and Health Care

Wal-Mart?s Health Care Plan Fails to Cover Over 600,000 Employees

Wal-Mart reports that its health insurance only covers 48% of their employees. Wal-Mart has approximately 1.3 million US employees.
Wal-Mart?s Health Insurance Falls Far Short of the Industry Average
On average, large firms (200 or more workers) cover approximately 68% of their employees. If Wal-Mart was to reach the average coverage rate, Wal-Mart should be covering an additional 260,000 employees (Kaiser Family Foundation & Health Research and Educational Trust, 2004).

Wal-Mart?s Health Care Eligibility is Restrictive
Part-timers?anybody below 34 hours a week ? must wait 2 years before they can enroll. Moreover, part-time employees are ineligible for family health care coverage. Full-time hourly employees must wait 180 days (approximately 6 months) before being able to enroll in Wal-Mart?s health insurance plan. Managers have no waiting period. (Wal-Mart 2005 Associate Guide)

Nationally, the average wait time for new employees to become eligible is 1.6 months. For the retail industry it is 2.8 months. (Kaiser Family Foundation & Health Research and Educational Trust, 2004)

Wal-Mart?s Most Affordable Health Plan is Costly

According to Wal-Mart, ?We insure more than 500,000 associates, including many family members, who pay as little as $17.50 for individual coverage and $70.50 for family coverage bi-weekly.?
Wal-Mart?s most affordable plan includes a $1,000 deductible for single coverage and a $3,000 deductible for family coverage ($1,000 deductible per person covered up to $3,000). An average full-time worker earns $17,114 a year.

If a full-time Wal-Mart hourly employee elects for single coverage, the employee would have to spend on average 9% of their earnings before the health insurance provided any reimbursement.

If a full-time employee elected for family coverage, an average employee would have to spend 27% of their average earnings before the health insurance covered any costs. (Wal-Mart 2004 Associate Guide and UFCW Analysis).

Wal-Mart Admits Public Health Care Assistance is a ?Better Value?
Despite $10 billion in profits, President and CEO Lee Scott said, "In some of our states, the public program may actually be a better value - with relatively high income limits to qualify, and low premiums." (Transcript Lee Scott Speech 4/5/05)

Wal-Mart?s Health Care is Only Getting Costlier

Since 2000, the cost of premiums has risen 169 percent for single coverage and 117 percent for family coverage. (UFCW analysis of annual Wal-Mart Associate Guides).

In comparison, premiums for family coverage in the U.S. have increased only by 59%, since 2000. (Employer Health Benefits: 2004 Annual Survey, Kaiser Family Foundation & Health Research and Educational Trust, 2004)

Wal-Mart Employees Pay More for Health Care Costs

In 2003, Wal-Mart employees, in total, covered approximately 40% of the plan costs (5500 Filings). Nationally, on average employees at large firms (over 200 employees) cover only 16% of single coverage costs and 24% of family coverage costs (KFF, 2004).

In a state analysis, the Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services found that in 2003, Wal-Mart covered only 52% of total health care premium costs compared to K-Mart which covered 66%, Target which covered 68%, and Sears which covered 80%.

Wal-Mart Spends Less to Provide Health Care

Wal-Mart?s spending on health care for its employees falls well below industry and national employer averages. In 2002, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, Wal-Mart spent an average of $3,500 per employee. By comparison, the average spending per employee in the wholesale/retailing sector was $4,800. For U.S. employers in general, the average was $5,600 per employee, Therefore, Wal-Mart?s average spending on health benefits for each covered employee was 27% less than the industry average and 37% less than the national average.
(Bernard Wysocki, Jr. and Ann Zimmerman, ?Wal-Mart Cost-Cutting Finds a Big Target in Health Benefits,? WSJ September 30, 2003 p1)
Wal-Mart Only Spends 75 Cents an Hour Per Employee for Health Benefits
In 2003, Wal-Mart spent $1.4 billion on its health insurance. This amounts to an employer contribution of around only $0.75 an hour per employee. This accounts for approximately a half-percent of Wal-Mart's $259 billion in sales in 2003. (Wal-Mart 5500 Filings, Wal-Mart Annual Report).
Wal-Mart Increased Advertising More Than Health Care
Over the last two years (2004 and 2003), Wal-Mart has increased its advertising budget $724 million, which is more than half the $1.4 billion it spent in 2003 on health care -- the last reported year.
In fact, between 2002 and 2003, Wal-Mart put more new funds into advertising compared to health care. Wal-Mart increased spending on advertising by $290 million, while only increasing health care spending by $215 million for the same period. (note: this also occurred in 1999-98, 1998-97, 1995-96). (Wal-Mart Annual Reports and 5500 Filings)
Excluding his salary of $1.2 million, in 2004 Lee Scott made around $22 million in bonuses, stock awards, and stock options in 2004.
This $22 million could reimburse 3 states where Wal-Mart topped the list of users of state-sponsored health care programs, covering more than 15,000 Wal-Mart employees and dependents and costing state taxpayers between $21 to $24 million total. (WMT Proxy Statement and News Articles GA, CT, AL).

One Out of Seven Wal-Mart Employees Has No Health Care Coverage At All

This is nearly double the national percentage for large firms (firms with over 100 employees). In fact, we estimate that Wal-Mart accounts for more than 1 out of every 40 uninsured workers, who are employed at a large firm. (; Wal-Mart Annual Report; ?Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Coverage: Sponsorship, Eligibility, and Participation Patterns in 2001,? Bowen Garrett, Ph.D., released by the Kaiser Family Foundation September 2004).
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Costs to Taxpayers

Your tax dollars pay for Wal-Mart's greed

The estimated total amount of federal assistance for which Wal-Mart employees were eligible in 2004 was $2.5 billion. [?Harper?s Index,? Harper?s Magazine, Vol. 310, No. 1858, 3/2005]
One 200-employee Wal-Mart store may cost federal taxpayers $420,750 per year. This cost comes from the following, on average:
$36,000 a year for free and reduced lunches for just 50 qualifying Wal-Mart families.
$42,000 a year for low-income housing assistance.
$125,000 a year for federal tax credits and deductions for low-income families.
$100,000 a year for the additional expenses for programs for students.
$108,000 a year for the additional federal health care costs of moving into state children's health insurance programs (S-CHIP)
$9,750 a year for the additional costs for low income energy assistance.
Your tax dollars subsidize Wal-Mart's growth

The first ever national report on Wal-Mart subsidies documented at least $1 billion in subsidies from state and local governments.
A Wal-Mart official once stated that ?it is common? for the company to request subsidies ?in about one-third of all [retail] projects.? This would suggest that over a thousand Wal-Mart stores have been subsidized. [?Shopping For Subsidies: How Wal-Mart Uses Taxpayer Money to Finance Its Never-Ending Growth,? Good Job First, May 2004]
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Community Impact

Wal-Mart wages negatively impact overall wages

The influx of big-box stores into San Diego would result in an annual decline in wages and benefits between $105 million and $221 million [San Diego Taxpayers Association (SDCTA)]
?[The threat of Wal-Mart's incursion into the southern California grocery market] is already triggering a dynamic in which the grocery stores are negotiating with workers for lowered compensation, in an attempt to re-level the `playing field.?? [Rodino and Associates]
Lower wages mean less money for communities

When an employer pays low wages to its employees, the employees have less money to spend on goods and services in the community, which in turn reduces the income and spending of others in the community. In other words a reduction in wages has a multiplier impact in the surrounding area.

For instance, in 1999, Southern California municipalities estimated that for every dollar decrease in wages in the southern California economy, $2.08 in spending was lost-- the $1 decrease plus another $1.08 in indirect multiplier impacts. [?The Impact of Big Box Grocers in Southern California? Dr. Marlon Boarnet and Dr. Randall Crane.]
Longer term effects of Wal-Mart can be disastrous

Over the course of [a few years after Wal-Mart entered a community], retailers' sales of mens' and boys' apparel dropped 44% on average, hardware sales fell by 31%, and lawn and garden sales fell by 26%.
In towns without Wal-Marts that are close to towns with Wal-Marts, sales in general merchandise declined immediately after Wal-Mart stores opened. After ten years, sales declined by a cumulative 34%. [Kenneth Stone at Iowa State University, ?Impact of the Wal-Mart Phenomenon on Rural Communities?]

Wal-Mart stifles competition

A Congressional Research Service report in 1994 explained that Wal-Mart builds stores in nearby connected markets in order to stifle any competition in the targeted area by the size of its presence. [Jessica Hall and Jim Troy, ?Wal-Mart Go Home! Wal-Mart?s Expansion Juggernaut Stumbles as Towns Turn Thumbs Down and Noses Up,? Warfield?s Business Record 1 (July 22, 1994]

Wal-Mart destroys the environment

In October 2004, the United States sued Wal-mart for violating the Clean Water Act in 9 states, calling for penalties of over $3 million and changes to W-M building codes. [U.S. v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., 2004 WL 2370700]
The United States Environmental Protection agency fined Wal-Mart $1 million, settling allegations that Wal-Mart violated the Clean Water Act with dirt discharges while building stores in Massachusetts, New Mexico, Okalahoma, and Texas. []
The Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Department fined Wal-Mart $100,000 for polluting rivers. [Business Week, 5/31/99]
Wal-Mart was fined $765,000 for violating Florida?s petroleum storage tank laws at its automobile service centers. Wal-Mart failed to register its fuel tanks, failed to install devices that prevent overflow, did not perform monthly monitoring, lacked current technologies, and blocked state inspectors. [Associated Press, 11/18/04]
In Georgia, Wal-Mart was fined about $150,000 for water contamination. [Atlanta Journal- Constitution, 2/10/05]
Wal-Mart increases vehicle traffic

A study of estimated additional driving costs of Supercenters in the San Francisco Bay area concluded that there would be up to an additional 238 million vehicle miles traveled per year.
These extra miles traveled could cost communities in the Bay area up $ 256 million in additional costs for infrastructure repair and environmental degradation. [Supercenters and the Transformation of the Bay Area Grocery Industry: Issues, Trends, and Impacts. Bay Area Economic Forum, 2004]

Wal-Mart desecrates sacred grounds

In 2004, Wal-Mart built a 71,902-square-foot store near the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon in San Juan Teotichuacan, Mexico. Teotihuacan was called "the place where the gods were created" by the Aztecs. [Kinght Ridder, 10/25/04]
In 1993 in Southern California, Wal-Mart, faced with threats of a nationwide boycott if it proceded with a development project that have destroyed Indian burial grounds, which Indians consider to be as holy as a church, synagogue or mosque. Wal-Mart was forced to compromise with the Indian activists by building a monument on store property to honor the grounds. [Los Angeles Times, 10/16/93]
Wal-Mart reached a tentative settlement with a nonprofit group in Hawaii that alleged Wal-Mart violated state law dealing with the protection and preservation of human remains and desecration of graves while constructing a store in Honolulu. [KHNL-TV/KHBC/KOGG, HI. 7/19/2005]
Wal-Mart's empty stores are blighting communities

Wal-Mart?s rapid expansion of Supercenters and Sam's Clubs has contributed to hundreds of vacant stores across the country. [?Wal Mart site: Use as is or rebuild??, Dallas Morning News, 2/20/02]
When Wal-Mart decides to convert a discount store into a larger Supercenter, it is often cheaper or easier simply to relocate entirely. David Brennan, associate professor of marketing at the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, Minn, notes that Wal-Mart stores relocate so regularly that, ?it is not uncommon to relocate right across the street." [?Home Depot to Move from Old to New Store Next Door,? Providence News-Journal, 8/17/03]
Wal-Mart plans to build another 55 million square feet of store space this year, or roughly the equivalent of 1,000 football fields or 15 Pentagon buildings. [Wal- Mart Annual Report 2005]
Big box retailers will most likely enter a community, only to be among the first to consolidate or fold when conditions begin to change. [?The Impact of Big Box Stores in S. California,? Dr. Marlon Boarnet]
In 2001, Wal-Mart controlled around 30 million square feet of vacant retail space through ownership or leases. [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 1/28/01]
Vacant property drains the value from the surrounding area, whether commercial or residential.
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Wal-Mart and China
Wal-Mart buys much of its merchandise from China

Wal-Mart reports that it purchased $18 billion of goods from China in 2004.
Wal-Mart is responsible for about 1/10th of the U.S. trade deficit with China.
[?U.S. Stock Investors Wary of Analyst `Yuan Plays': Taking Stock, Bloomberg, 7/1/05]
If Wal-Mart were an individual economy, it would rank as China?s eight-biggest trading partner, ahead of Russia, Australia and Canada.
[China Business Weekly, 12/02/2004]
Many of Wal-Mart's ?American Suppliers? actually manufacture most or all of their products in China

An example of an ?American Supplier? is Hasbro. Today, Wal-Mart is the largest purchaser of Hasbro products?accounting for 21 percent of all Hasbro goods or more than $600 million in sales. But Hasbro reports, ?We source production of substantially all of our toy products and certain of our game products through unrelated manufacturers in various Far East countries, principally China.? Hasbro specifies that ?the substantial majority of our toy products are manufactured in China.? [2004 Hasbro 10-K filed with the SEC]
Wal-Mart's Chinese factory workers are treated poorly

Workers in China?s Guangdong Province who made toys for Wal-Mart toiled as much as 130 hours per week for wages averaging 16.5 ? per hour (below the minimum wage) and no health insurance. [National Labor Committee, ?Toys of Misery 2004,? February 2004]
Striking workers at a factory that supplies Wal-Mart in Shenzhen, China said they had to work 11 hour days, including mandatory 3 hours of overtime. Half of their small wages were deducted to pay for accommodation in company dormitories. [New York Times, 16 December, 2004]
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Wal-Mart and Worker Injuries
Wal-Mart cares little for the safety of its workers

West Virginia?s Employment Programs Performance Council voted to put Wal-Mart into the ?adverse risk? pool, raising the premiums by 15%. Only employers with unusually high accident rates are placed in that pool. [Charleston Gazette, 6/3/99]
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has upheld a $5,000 fine against a Wal-Mart store in Hoover, Ala., for blocking emergency exits. The court upheld a decision by a judge who found that Wal-Mart was guilty of a serious and repeated offense. [New York Times, Steven Greenhouse, 5/17/05]
Wal-Mart takes a combative approach to workers? compensation claims

Arkansas Business described Wal-Mart as ?the state?s most aggressive? when it comes to challenging worker?s compensation claims. The company ?stands far above any other self-insurer in challenges to employee claims.? [Arkansas Business, 1/8/01]
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Wal-Mart Non-Health Care Benefits
Wal-Mart fails to provide a secure retirement benefit for its employees.

Wal-Mart sponsors two retirement plans ? a profit sharing plan and 401(k) plan ? neither of which guarantee workers a fixed monthly pension benefit.
Wal-Mart has shifted risks to employees by concentrating investment in its own stock.
From January 2000 to January 2005, the average adjusted share price of Wal-Mart?s stock lost more than a fifth of its value. By being concentrated in one security, employees? retirement plans are subject to the whims of one stock rather than having the safety of a diversified portfolio.
Wal-Mart's retirement plans are Enron-like -- in 2003, 67% of their combined assets were invested in Wal-Mart stock.
Wal-Mart shares little of its $10 billion profits with employees.

Wal-Mart has stated that it has contributed around 4 percent of its earnings to its combined profit sharing and 401(k) accounts. For 2003, this would come out to a $302 a year contribution per employee.
Wal-Mart shifts retirement costs onto communities

When employees retire without adequate savings and benefits, they are less able to pay for health care, housing, and food. Communities and taxpayers ultimately bear the cost.
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Wal-Mart Anti-Union Policy
Wal-Mart closes down stores and departments that unionize

In 2000, when a small meatcutting department successfully organized a union at a Wal-Mart store in Texas, Wal-Mart responded a week later by announcing the phase-out of its in-store meatcutting company-wide. [Pan Demetrakakes, "Is Wal-Mart Wrapped in Union Phobia?" Food & Packaging 76 (August 1, 2003).]
A Wal-Mart employee in Quebec filed a request in a Canadian Superior Court seeking a class-action lawsuit against Wal-Mart Canada, saying the retailer?s decision to close a Jonquierre, Quebec, store after its employees received union certification violated the rights of its workers, and entitles them to compensation and damages. [Quebec Union Seeks Class-Action Suit vs. Wal-Mart,? Supermarket News, April 22, 2005]
Wal-Mart has issued "A Manager's Toolbox to Remaining Union Free,"

This toolbox provides managers with lists of warning signs that workers might be organizing, including "frequent meetings at associates' homes" and "associates who are never seen together start talking or associating with each other." The "Toolbox" gives managers a hotline to call so that company specialists can respond rapidly and head off any attempt by employees to organize. [Wal-Mart, A Manager?s Toolbox to Remaining Union Free at 20-21]
Wal-Mart is committed to an anti-union policy

In the last few years, well over 100 unfair labor practice charges have been filed against Wal-Mart throughout the country, with 43 charges filed in 2002 alone.
Since 1995, the U.S. government has been forced to issue at least 60 complaints against Wal-Mart at the National Labor Relations Board. [International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), Internationally Recognised Core Labour Standards in the United States: Report for the WTO General Council Review of the Trade Policies of the United States (Geneva, January 14-16, 2004)]
Wal-Mart?s labor law violations range from illegally firing workers who attempt to organize a union to unlawful surveillance, threats, and intimidation of employees who dare to speak out. [?Everyday Low Wages: The Hidden Price We All Pay for Wal-Mart," A Report by the Democratic Staff of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, 2/16/04]
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Wal-Mart & Gender Discrimination

Wal-Mart does not treat its female employees fairly

In 2001, six women sued Wal-Mart in California claiming the company discriminated against women by systematically denying them promotions and paying them less than men. The lawsuit, Dukes v. Wal-Mart, has expanded to include more than 1 million current and former female employees, and was certified on June 21 2004 as the largest class action lawsuit ever. It is now being appealed by Wal-Mart.
In 2001, while more than two-thirds of Wal-Mart's hourly workers were female, women held only one-third of managerial positions and constituted less than 15 percent of store managers. This is all despite women having had on average longer seniority and higher merit ratings than their male counterparts.
[Neil Buckley and Caroline Daniel, ?Wal-Mart vs. the Workers: Labour Grievances Are Stacking Up Against the World?s Biggest Company,"? Financial Times 11, 11/20/03]
In 2001, women managers on average earned $14,500 less than their male counterparts. Female hourly workers earned on average $1,100 less than male counterparts. [Drogin 2003]
In 2001, for the same job classification, women earned from 5 percent to 15 percent less than men, even after taking into account factors such as seniority and performance. [Drogin 2003]
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Wal-Mart & Child Labor

Wal-Mart violates Child Labor Laws

An internal Wal-Mart audit found "extensive violations of child-labor laws and state regulations requiring time for breaks and meals.? (New York Times, 1/13/04)
One week of time records from 25,000 employees in July 2000 found 1,371 instances of minors working too late, during school hours, or for too many hours in a day. There were 60,767 missed breaks and 15,705 lost meal times. (New York Times, 1/13/04)
Wal-Mart agreed to pay $135,540 to settle child labor violation charges in January 2005 for allegedly breaking child labor laws in 24 incidents. (Wall Street Journal, 2/12/05)
Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell announced that the state found 11 violations in three Wal-Mart stores in the state and that 337 minors worked at the company's 32 Connecticut stores from 2003 to 2005. The probe came after the Labor Department in February said the retailer had similar violations nationwide. (Bloomberg News, 6/22/05)
Wal-Mart has also been fined $205,650 for 1,436 violations of child labor laws in Maine for the period 1995 to 1998. The settlement represents the largest number of citations as well as the largest fine ever issued by the Maine Department of Labor for child labor violations. (Bureau of Business Practice News)
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Wal-Mart & Undocumented Immigrants
In March 2005, Wal-Mart agreed to pay $11 million to settle federal allegations it used undocumented immigrants to clean its stores. [CNN Money, ?Wal-Mart pays $11m over illegal labor?, 2005]

Since 1997, federal authorities have uncovered the cases of at least 250 undocumented immigrants who were employed by janitor contracting services and hired by Wal-Mart in 21 states. Many of the janitors - from Mexico, Russia, Mongolia, Poland and a host of other nations - worked seven days or nights a week without overtime pay or injury compensation. Those who worked nights were often locked in the store until the morning. [CNN Money, ?Wal-Mart pays $11m over illegal labor?, 2005]
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Postby Native Son » Wed Nov 09, 2005 11:12 pm

Small businesses owned in Crown Point are guilty of many of the things on your list. Wal Mart is one of the biggest employers on the planet. They sell goods at great prices, if they gave everyone great benefits and paid union scale they could not continue to do that. No one is forced to work at Wal Mart. Your argument is weak.
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Battling Wal-Mart

Postby Big Dog » Sat Nov 12, 2005 12:15 am

Battling Wal-Mart

CROWN POINT | In the corner of Donna McKinney's quaint, country shop window in downtown Crown Point, a handmade sign reads like a battle cry.

McKinney, owner of The Front Gate, and other local merchants have put up "No Wal-Mart" posters, and begun gathering signatures from customers and residents who don't want to see the big box retailer come to the community.

She's planning to bring the petition to a Plan Commission meeting this month, when the panel will debate ordinances that could make it difficult for stores 75,000 square feet and up to develop in Crown Point.

In recent weeks, City Council members and Mayor Dan Klein have spoken out against a developer's proposal to bring a Wal-Mart to the intersection of Interstate 65 and U.S. 231. But given the retailer's size and resources, storeowners are worried.

"It's a family oriented type of downtown and that's how I think it should stay," McKinney said. "The city needs to take two steps backwards. In some ways I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle."

According to Wal-Mart, a recent independent study shows the store saved each American household on average $2,329 in 2004, and had a net positive economic impact in the form of a .9 percent increase in real wages and the creation of 210,000 jobs nationwide.

McKinney, however, said she saw Wal-Mart's impact in her hometown of Gallipolis, Ohio, where a 15-year-old quilt shop was forced to close shortly after the retailer opened. She doesn't want to see that happen in Crown Point. Wal-Marts, she said, also "sometimes bring more undesirables to shop."

Just a few stores down, Melinda Lijana, owner of Birds of a Feather, said a nearby Wal-Mart would hurt her sales of seed, bird feeders and bird baths. Unless people are looking for an upscale product, they'll go to a big box, she said.

Lijana moved her store from Merrillville Road to the square earlier this year to grow business. When the local group the Stewards of the Square put on an exhibit of decorated bulldogs this summer, Lijana noticed more people coming to Crown Point to walk around and shop. If Wal-Mart comes to Crown Point, businesses could be hurt and the downtown atmosphere could suffer, she said.

Liz Messing, owner of The Artful Garden on Indiana Avenue, said she'd rather see something more upscale come to Crown Point, like a Crate and Barrel or a Pottery Barn.

City Council member Carol Drasga, R-at large, also a member of the Stewards, said small business owners are unifying because they're worried about the devastation of the downtown. Big box stores such as Wal-Mart don't give anything to the community but take disposable income, she said.

The situation is creating a turning point for the city, Messing said.

"I just think that right now we have to decide what we want our town to be and what we want in our town," she said.
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Postby Big Dog » Fri Nov 18, 2005 12:40 am

C.P. creates big-box hurdles

CROWN POINT | The City Council presented a united front in the fight against big-box stores Wednesday, approving an ordinance that makes it more difficult for the retailers to come to the city.

"People have taken it upon themselves to write 'No Wal-Mart' and put it on their houses or in their yards," said Councilman Bill Condron, R-4th. "I think we're acting in the best interest of this community."

The ordinance, which the council passed 7-0, forces developers wanting to build retail stores 75,000 square feet and over in a business district to go to the Board of Zoning Appeals and City Council for a special use permit. The group suspended the rules to pass the ordinance in one night.

In the immediate future it threatens a Lauth Property Group proposal to build two anchor stores at the intersection of Interstate 65 and U.S. 231, one 203,000 square feet and another 88,400 square feet. One of the stores could be a Wal-Mart.

On Monday the Plan Commission deferred voting on Lauth's project, which still needs site plan approval, saying it wanted to wait until the City Council passed Interstate 65 development guidelines. The City Council chose not to pass those guidelines in one meeting last week.

Council members praised the ordinance for protecting residents' quality of life in Crown Point and property values. The city spent millions of dollars making land along the I-65 corridor valuable and council members and Mayor Dan Klein said they were prepared to wait for the right development.

"If it sits empty two more years, that's OK," Klein said. "We're not going to rush into this."

Councilman Mike Conquest, R-at large, said he supported the ordinance, but reminded the group that big-box stores don't tend to go away easily.

"I hope everybody realizes the fight hasn't even started," he said.
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Postby Sex in the City » Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:39 am

Have you ever been to a Wal-Mart? The employees are all aliens from another planet and the most of the shoppers are trailer trash.
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Postby -={ARCLIGHT}=- » Mon Nov 21, 2005 9:10 am

Sex in the City wrote:Have you ever been to a Wal-Mart? The employees are all aliens from another planet and the most of the shoppers are trailer trash.

They prefer the term Wal Martians.
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Ruling could help C.P. big-box position

Postby Big Dog » Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:01 pm

Ruling could help C.P. big-box position

CROWN POINT | A recent Indiana Supreme Court ruling could bolster Crown Point's position should it face a legal challenge on a recently approved ordinance making it more difficult for big-box stores to come to the city.

The case revolves around Pinnacle Media LLC's attempts in recent years to erect 10 billboards in Indianapolis. The company argued a change in an Indianapolis zoning ordinance concerning billboard location permits didn't apply to its plans.

But the court ruled Nov. 3 that because "no construction or other work that gave Pinnacle a vested interest in the billboard project had begun on the billboards at the time of the ordinance change, the ordinance change did apply to the 10 billboards."

Crown Point City Attorney Rich Wolter said Monday the city reads the case to mean the Plan Commission and the City Council can impose development restrictions or requirements up to the time construction on a project starts.

"It clears something up," Wolter said. "It certainly puts municipalities in a better position."

The ruling specifically could affect the city's efforts to control big-box development.

Last week the City Council approved an ordinance amending its zoning code to force retailers wanting to build stores 75,000 square feet and over in B-1, B-2 and B-3 business district zones to go before the Board of Zoning Appeals and the City Council for a special use.

The ordinance threatens the viability of Lauth Property Group's proposal to build two anchor stores at the intersection of Interstate 65 and U.S. 231, one 203,000 square feet and another 88,400 square feet. One of the stores could be a Wal-Mart.

Lauth has been appearing before the Plan Commission seeking site plan approval for the project since September, well before the City Council passed the zoning code amendment.

The way the city reads the ruling, Lauth would have had to already start construction to fight the new ordinance, Wolter said.

Lauth's attorney, Richard Anderson, could not be reached for comment late Monday.

The court decision, Wolter said, allows city officials to create zoning standards regardless of what's going on in development.

"We don't have to stop our process because somebody says, 'Oh wait, I bought that land,'" Wolter said.
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Postby Wild Man » Sun Nov 27, 2005 3:18 am

Hats off to the mayor for standing up against wall mart but I think if the city is not careful they are going to end up in a law suit. I'm not sure the city can turn down wal mart this month and then approve target next month on the same site.
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Postby Big Dog » Wed Nov 30, 2005 2:45 pm

Mayor Klein tells city ?We can do better?

CROWN POINT - To a cheering audience that stayed late to hear the discussion at the November 14 Plan Commission meeting, Mayor Drill Klein gave what may be the best speech of his administration. He told everyone listing, "We can do better than Wal-Mart.?

According to Klein. The city is in good financial shape and doesn't need to take the first thing that comes along. Klein said, "The Plan Commission and the Council have the final vote, but I am going on record as wanting something better.

?I appreciate Lauth's frankness but you are not going to convince me that this is the best we can do."

The last item on the meeting agenda was the consideration of an amendment to the Zoning Code that would require a special use for any building over 75,000 square feet in any business zone.

That will require an appeal to the Board of Zoning Appeals showing cause and then it would be before the City Council for approval.

Crown Point native and developer Tom Fleming said. "There is no growth, rampant growth and controlled growth. I would like to see you go ahead and pass this.'' This will bring controlled growth.

The amendment was passed on to the City Council with a 5-1 positive recommendation. The one dissenter was former city councilman, Commission President Jim Wirtz. Wirtz's argument was that this would make the decision arbitrary. Councilwoman Carol Drasga argued that at one time he had arbitrarily denied a self-storage business from building along the city?s north entrance on Main Street.

On Nov. 16 the City Council passed both readings of the ordinance at the one meeting, making this part of the zoning code.

During the public hearing on Nov. 14 the standing room only crowd begged to keep Wal-Mart out of the city. Business owners around the Square brought hundreds of signatures petitioning the Commissioners to keep Wal-Mart out of the city.
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Postby Big Dog » Fri Jan 13, 2006 1:55 am

This story ran on on Friday, January 6, 2006 12:55 AM CST

C.P. meets on future of I-65 site

CROWN POINT | Lauth Property Group officials confirmed Wednesday the development company is closing on the 54-acre parcel off of Interstate 65, but it probably won't be able to break ground on the property this year.

The information came out of a meeting Mayor Dan Klein and Economic Development Director Frank Mosko had Wednesday with the company's chief executive officer and president in Indianapolis.

Klein said he tried to communicate that the city wants to work with Lauth in making the development, which sits at the intersection of I-65 and U.S. 231, one everyone can be proud of. Lauth officials appeared to feel the same way, Klein said.

According to Mosko, he and Klein also talked about hopes that the site becomes a lifestyle center, a development modeled after a traditional downtown that has shops and is pedestrian-oriented with outdoor eating venues, benches and parks. Examples of stores that could work include some department stores, a Barnes & Noble or Crate and Barrel, rather than a mall.

But Lauth didn't indicate when it might come back before the city with another development proposal or hint at what that might include. Another subject that wasn't discussed, Klein said, was Wal-Mart.

The city's Plan Commission voted down Lauth's shopping center proposal, which likely would have included a Wal-Mart, in December.

"I said, 'We can do better than the first proposal, and we want to be involved in the process,'" Klein said. " 'Let's find a better fit.' "

Klein said he'd rather see the property sit empty for another two years than rush into the wrong project.

A Lauth representative said no one was available Thursday to comment.
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Postby Big Dog » Fri Jan 13, 2006 1:56 am

This story ran on on Friday, January 13, 2006 12:23 AM CST

Developer wants review of C.P. panel decision

CROWN POINT | A developer is seeking judicial review of the Crown Point Plan Commission's denial of approval for its site plan involving retail shops -- and potentially a Wal-Mart -- off Interstate 65.

Lauth Property Group filed a writ of certiorari in Lake Superior Court on Wednesday, 30 days after the Plan Commission voted down the plan called "The Shops at East Point."

Crown Point City Attorney Rich Wolter, who hadn't seen a copy of the filing yet, said Lauth's attorney, Alan Townsend, of Bose McKinney & Evans LLP in Indianapolis, contacted him about it Wednesday.

"We feel that the Plan Commission acted properly and within the law," Wolter said Thursday.

Townsend, Joe Downs, vice president of retail development for Lauth, and Mayor Dan Klein could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

Though Lauth first appeared before the Plan Commission seeking site plan approval in September, members put off voting on the project, citing the city's need to pass I-65 design guidelines and plan a Mississippi Street route.

In the meantime, the city passed an ordinance forcing developers wanting to build retail stores 75,000 square feet and larger in a business district to go to the Board of Zoning Appeals and City Council for a special use. Lauth's plans included two anchor stores, one 203,000 square feet and another 88,400 square feet.

Economic Development Director Frank Mosko, contacted about the suit, said he thinks Lauth is asking the court to review the processes used to make sure it's been treated fairly.

After a meeting with Lauth officials in Indianapolis last week about the future of the 54-acre site, which Lauth is closing on, Mosko and Klein both sounded optimistic. Mosko said Lauth's filing doesn't necessarily mean the city and Lauth are now adversaries.

When asked if the filing has anything to do with Lauth trying to bring a Wal-Mart to the city, Mosko said he didn't know.

"I think it's a procedural matter on their part to protect their right to question the process," he said. "I think it's possible that the two entities could still work together."
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Postby sparky697 » Sat Jan 14, 2006 3:52 pm

[quote]What is the deal with everyone all up in arms about a Walmart coming to town?[/quote]

Sometimes there is more at stake than what you pay for a pair of shoes...

Walmart and other businesses like Walmart are not the economic savior that they would have you believe. The typical process is that they come into town and make it impossible for the mom-n-pop type of store to compete. Soon these small stores close and the community loses it?s diversity and variety.

Next is the economic effects that Walmart style business has on the country as a whole. Now if you think that a little business like walmart can?t affect change on a whole countries economy, think again, Walmart is the worlds largest retailer! They sold more than 240 billion dollars of mostly foreign made merchandise last year. Merchandise that in most cases was once made by Americans, maybe even you?

I applaud the efforts of this mayor and the board who are doing what is right in the bigger picture, not just what is right for your pocket book today.

Some light reading:
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Postby Tommy M. » Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:41 pm

Hey you guys, wake up, Crown Point is prime property now , get ready for the onslaught of new stores and restaurants. Buy some realestate .
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Postby reed212thematrix » Tue May 08, 2007 1:44 am

Native Son wrote:Small businesses owned in Crown Point are guilty of many of the things on your list. Wal Mart is one of the biggest employers on the planet. They sell goods at great prices, if they gave everyone great benefits and paid union scale they could not continue to do that. No one is forced to work at Wal Mart. Your argument is weak.

You say that no one is forced to work at Wal Mart, but if there were any better jobs around for all those Wal Mart people then they would work somewhere else instead and perhaps Wal Mart would cease to exist because "Who would work at Wal Mart if they could work somewhere that pays more?". But since there are no better jobs for ALL of those people, what else CAN they do, BUT work at Wal Mart?
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