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Do Unions Need a Better Argument Against Wal-Mart?

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There's an article in today's New York Post about Wal-Mart and its long struggle to establish a presence in New York City.

In a blog post on The American, the journal of the American Enterprise Institute, editor Nick Schulz makes the case that unions, which have historically opposed Wal-Mart opening its doors within the five boroughs, need a better argument.

In response to Wal-Mart's latest attempt to move into the area, Stuart Appelbaum, of the national Retail and Wholesale Workers union, said:

“Walmart is still not welcome. They provide a model for others to follow. Their model is a destructive force. The jobs they create keep people in poverty.”

To this, Schulz says:

"Mark Perry has posted before about the deluge of applications Wal-Mart gets whenever they enter a new market. Apparently the alleged “poverty” from working at Wal-Mart beats not working at all. The Big Apple has an unemployment rate north of 9%, so when a proven productivity enhancer such as Wal-Mart wants to enter a market, workers and consumers alike should applaud. For those interested in this fight, Richard Vedder and Wendell Cox have a definitive take on the economics of Wal-Mart in this book (they point out, contra Appelbaum, that 'Wal-Mart workers are paid fairly—given their level of skills and experience, and compared to other retail firms, Wal-Mart employees do well.')"

It's an interesting case, and, whether one agrees or not, it certainly couldn't hurt to elevate the intellectual level of the debate between the two sides beyond the simplistic Us vs. Them scenario that's been going on for so long.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.