Sunday, June 21, 2009

Is Wal*mart good for Behavioral Health?

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Sat, Jun 20, 2009 at 10:22 PM

I encourage ALL of us who care about healing behavioral health challenges to watch "Frontline: Is Wal*mart Good For America," an investigative journalism report on PBS, which aired in 2005.*mart&hl=en&client=firefox-a

Wal*mart should not be associated with State of New Mexico Behavioral Health Planning Council Local Collaboratives in any way. It causes rampant poverty, suffering, injury, distress and insecurity to workers, children, families, communities and the environment.

Wal*mart is, globally, the largest contributor to behavioral health disorders in human experience.

If BHPC LC10 gives out Wal*mart "gift" cards to participants in its meetings, we are endorsing and encouraging our own destruction as consumers and family members.

Wal*mart's side effects will, however keep practitioners in the medical industrial complex well employed.

If an individual chooses to shop at Wal*mart, she probably does so because the following information isn't available to her OR Wal*mart has already so devistated her local economy, she thinks she has no other options. While I will encourage her to explore options she may not have considered, I do not hold her at fault for an uninformed decision in an age where news is corporately sponsored and commercials dominate the public discussion of values. I DO, however, hold BHPC LCs accountable for promoting a TAXPAYER SUBSIDIZED multinational corporation that makes people, communities, countries and the planet sick for profit. WE should KNOW better!

Discriminates against women
OptumHealth in bed with Wal*Mart:
BHSD Medication Fund
The BHSD Medication Fund has been available to consumers since July 2007. A total of $920,000 per year is available to use to pay for medication for those meeting the fund criteria. There was low utilization in FY08, but dramatically increased awareness and use of the fund caused a depletion of the fund before the end of FY09. OptumHealth New Mexico would like to present the following plan for the Medication Fund in FY10. This plan will maximize the number of consumers that have access to the fund while allowing for predictable use of fund dollars throughout the entire fiscal year.
This plan has 2 parts. The first part, or the Medication Fund, will serve approximately 870 consumers in one year. The plan will have limitations as outlined below to maximize the number of consumers that benefit from the fund and to assist with fund management throughout the entire fiscal year. The second part, or the Low Cost Generic Plan, will be a pilot project utilizing the WalMart low cost generic program. $50,000 will be set aside for this pilot project although this amount could be adjusted depending on overall utilization. Approximately 1000 prescriptions per month could be filled using this plan. Specifics of both plans are outlined below.
Wal*mart abandons its operations as quickly as it puts them up:

Susan Leonardi, who’s worked at the center for 14 years, said she feels wronged by her employer and that a “very wealthy conglomerate” such as Wal-Mart could have afforded to expand here.

“They’re going with a third party because it’s cheaper labor and they don’t have to pay benefits. ... This old dilapidated building we were in couldn’t hold it, but you can’t tell me there wasn’t land available so that Wal-Mart couldn’t keep their Wal-Mart associates working,” Leonardi said.

“I know business is business and it’s not supposed to be personal, but don’t tell me it’s not personal when I’m out of a job.”



A Substantial Number of Wal-Mart Associates earn far below the poverty line
Wal-Mart Associates don't earn enough to support a family
Wal-Mart forces employees to work off-the-clock
Wal-Mart's Health Care Plan Fails to Cover Over 775,000 Employees
All of Wal-Mart's Health Plans Are Too Costly for Its Workers to Use

Wal-Mart Admits Public Health Care is a "Better Value"

  • President and CEO Lee Scott said in 2005, "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 Increased Advertising More Than Health Care

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. [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]
  • 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.

      [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]

The Cost of Wal-Mart's entry into a community can be significant

  • According to a 2003 estimate, the influx of big-box stores into San Diego would result in an annual decline in wages and benefits which could cost the area up to $221 million [San Diego Taxpayers Association (SDCTA), 2003]
Wal-Mart hurts other businesses when it comes to town.
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," 1997]

Wal-Mart destroys the environment

  • Between 2003 and 2005, state and federal environmental agencies fined Wal-Mart $5 million.
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, noted 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 and Imports
  • 70% of the commodities sold in Wal-Mart are made in China. [China Business Weekly, November 29, 2004]
  • Just because Wal-Mart bought goods from suppliers based in the United States does not mean that they were actually manufactured in the United States. In fact, Ray Bracy, Wal-Mart's vice president for federal and international public affairs, was asked, "Do you have any idea what percentage [of non-grocery, domestic sales] comes from overseas?" He responded, "What we don't know is the numbers of products that come from distributors or from manufacturers that they [sic] decide where to manufacture." Wal-Mart fails to track where their products are manufactured. [Frontline, 11/16/2004]

Wal-Mart's Chinese factory workers are treated poorly

  • Workers making clothing for Wal-Mart in Shenzhen, China filed a class action lawsuit against Wal-Mart in September 2005 claiming that they were not paid the legal minimum wage, not permitted to take holidays off and were forced to work overtime. They said their employer had withheld the first three months of all workers' pay, almost making them indentured servants because the company refused to pay the money if they quit. [New York Times, September 14, 2005]
  • Workers making toys for Wal-Mart in China's Guangdong Province reported that they would have to meet a quota of painting 8,900 toy pieces in an eight hour shift in order to earn the stated wage of $3.45 a day. If they failed to meet that quota, the factory would only pay them $1.23 for a day's work. [China Labor Watch, December 21, 2005]

Elsewhere workers producing goods for Wal-Mart also face appalling conditions, despite Wal-Mart's factory inspection program

  • Workers from Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Nicaragua and Swaziland brought a class action lawsuit against Wal-Mart in September 2005 asserting that the company's codes of conduct were violated in dozens of ways. They said they were often paid less than the legal minimum wage and did not receive mandated time-and-a-half for overtime, and some said they were beaten by managers and were locked in their factories. [New York Times, September 14, 2005]
  • A female apparel worker in Dhaka, Bangladesh, said she was locked into the factory and did not have a day off in her first six months. She said she was told if she refused to work the required overtime, she would be fired. Another worker said her supervisor attacked her "by slapping her face so hard that her nose began bleeding simply because she was unable to meet" her "high quota." [New York Times, September 14, 2005]
  • In 2004, only 8 percent of Wal-Mart inspectors' visits to factories were unannounced, giving supervisors the chance to coach workers what to say and hide violations. Wal-Mart claimed it planned to double unannounced visits by its inspectors but that would still leave 80 percent of inspections announced. [CFO Magazine, August 2005]
A former Wal-Mart executive James Lynn has sued the company claiming he was fired because he warned the company that an inspection manager was intimidating underlings into passing Central American suppliers. Lynn documented forced pregnancy tests, 24-hour work shifts, extreme heat, pat-down searches, locked exits, and other violations of the labor laws of these Central American countries. [New York Times, July 1, 2005 and James Lynn to Odair Violim, April 28, 2002,

Wal-Mart takes a combative approach to workers' compensation claims

  • Arkansas Business in 2001 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]

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 costs
Wal-Mart violates Child Labor Laws

Rogi Riverstone

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