Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hold Wal-Mart to its promises in D.C.

Ward Four Thrives says NO to WalMart in Ward Four, and we support other wards' demands for a Community Benefits Agreement--!

Ward 6 ANC commissioner Keith Silver responds to the Post's recent pro-Wal-Mart piece: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/local-opinions/2011/02/hold_wal-mart_to_its_promises.html

Hold Wal-Mart to its promises in D.C.

By Keith Silver, Washington

Regarding the Feb. 14 editorial "The Wal-Mart opportunity":

It's clear that Wal-Mart's "carefully orchestrated campaign to win support and disarm critics" has succeeded with The Post.

How else to explain the editorial board arguing that Wal-Mart shouldn't be expected to jump through hoops or make concessions not expected of other businesses? But Wal-Mart is not like other businesses; it's the biggest corporation in the world, raking in a staggering $14 billion in profits annually.

What The Post calls concessions, I call accountability. Wal-Mart should not be welcomed to Washington unconditionally, given its record of low wages, environmental abuse, discrimination against women and African Americans and labor violations. Unlike The Post, community folk can't live on promises alone; we've had too many broken in the past. We need enforceable safeguards to ensure sustainable employment for D.C. residents and to protect the unique fabric of our neighborhoods.

As a native Washingtonian, I've lived through riots and rebuilding, and I passionately want more jobs and retail to flourish in neglected neighborhoods. But as a member of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission for the Union Station area, a neighborhood that includes one of Wal-Mart's four proposed locations, I can clearly state, without hesitation, that Wal-Mart will not be welcomed in our community without a signed community-benefits agreement.

No comments:

Post a Comment