Movie -- WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Price

From comes news of WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Price, a new documentary by Robert Greenwald, director of Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism and Uncovered: The Whole Truth About The Iraq War.

Snip from NYT review by Anita Gates:

The saddest part of this documentary is a series of shots of abandoned Main Streets, empty store after empty store, with Bruce Springsteen's plaintive version of "This Land Is Your Land" as accompaniment. But vanquishing thousands of small businesses coast to coast is not Wal-Mart's only crime, its critics say.

They also cite the company's treatment of its employees, whose average annual income is under $14,000. The company offers health insurance, but it is so expensive, employees say, that most people can't afford it. According to the documentary, company representatives openly recommend that workers sign up for government-aid programs instead.

Wal-Mart's record on sex and race discrimination is also addressed. One training coordinator recalls being made to clean the bathroom on a regular basis because she was the only woman in the department. A black man recalls racial epithets and lynching jokes.

In China, a young factory employee talks about working conditions. ("I'm sitting there, dripping with sweat all day long," she says.) Employees in China say they are housed in dismal dormitories; they may choose to live elsewhere, but still have to pay the dorm rent. In Bangladesh, the documentary says, working hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, for 13 to 17 cents an hour.

Link to film info. has the DVD; film also in NYC and LA theaters.


Critical Wal-Mart documentary to be shown in houses of worship

Reader comment: Ted Weinstein says,

Info on next week's showing of "WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Price in San Francisco" -- Link (scroll down to 11/15 event)