Thursday, January 05, 2006

As union leaders bash Wal-Mart, many union workers shop there

I've said before and at least one other time that polls have little value compared to actual sales figure. People can tell a pollster just about anything. Very little thought, including consideration of the answer's consequences, is required. On the other hand, voting with your pocketbook is far more meaningful, because your money and time are at stake.

So when Marshall Manson, who I should acknowledge does PR work for Wal-Mart, pointed me to this at the Working Families for Wal-Mart website, I wasn't surprised. Of the "1,000 adults nationwide with an oversample of 330 union households," 64% of union households shop at Wal-Mart at least occasionally, and 32% of union households shop there regularly. Using my own critical standards of polls, I have to say it's a very small sample. However, the poll fits with what we know is a fact: most Americans, including union workers, shop at Wal-Mart. Over 138 million Americans shop at Wal-Mart each week. It's an economic axiom that people seek to maximize their happiness for the least cost, and Wal-Mart excels at enabling people to do that. Other highlights from the poll:
  • 71 percent of Americans believe Wal-Mart is good for consumers while 63 percent of union households hold the same belief;

  • 58 percent of Americans and 54 percent of union households believe union leaders should make protecting union jobs a higher priority than attacking Wal-Mart;

  • 60 percent of Americans say the campaign against Wal-Mart is not a good use of union dues and 44 percent of union households agree;

  • 54 percent of Americans and 42 percent of union households believe the campaign against Wal-Mart makes labor union leaders less relevant to solving the economic challenges facing working families today.
So 64% of union households shopped at Wal-Mart at least once in the last year, and 63% of union households think Wal-Mart is good for consumers. That's a strange 1% of the surveyed union households, don't you think? At least once within the last year, they shopped at a store they think is bad for consumers.

Curiously, a little over half of union households think their union leaders should focus on protecting jobs than going after Wal-Mart, and four-ninths of union households think the attacks on Wal-Mart are not a good use of their dues. The leaders, however, are trying to save union jobs -- at least when they're not giving away chunks of union money to causes that have nothing to do with protecting union workers. That the causes (including Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition and Amnesty International) are ultra-liberal is irrelevant, really. The fact is that the donation recipients are completely unaffiliated with the union, proving, and this should not surprise us, that union leaders' primary concern is advancing their personal agendas, not the workers'.

Like I've said about the New York City transit union, union bosses want to increase membershipsimply so they can get more money flowing into the union. So union dues to expand membership is good for the union and could be considered an investment. Actually, "investment" is a bad word to use. True "investment" creates new wealth without taking wealth away from anyone else. Union dues to increase union membership is necessarily at everyone else's expense.

A few weeks ago, Marshall had pointed me this Pew Research poll, which revealed, "Nearly every American lives near enough a Wal-Mart to shop there, and 84% say they have done so in the past year. Praise for the retailer's low prices, wide selection and convenience flow freely, and 81% of those with a Wal-Mart nearby say it is a good place to shop." The same poll found, "Despite strong criticism of the retail giant by labor unions, there is no significant difference between union and non-union members in their propensity to shop at Wal-Mart." It seems that Wal-Mart is good enough that 79% of the surveyed union workers shopped there at least once in the last year, and 39% of them do so regularly. While this poll is not precisely indicative of overall American shopping patterns, at least it doesn't ask opinion, but what people do. People also have no reason to lie about shopping or not shopping at Wal-Mart.

Contrast this with the anti-Wal-Mart forces who evidently want the working poor to suffer higher prices elsewhere. Chief among these forces are unions representing grocery workers, who can no longer hold poor people hostage to high prices, and who cannot compete against Wal-Mart's dedication to low prices and efficient operations. Since the Wal-Mart bashers cannot compete, they get nasty. Some of you may have heard about this. I apologize for not getting around to it; I've been so remiss in blogging about certain subjects.

In mid-December, a group from "Wake Up Wal-Mart" dressed up as elves and entered the Wal-Mart in North Lauderdale, Florida. As part of their campaign to get better health care for Wal-Mart workers, they handed out some gift boxes to some children -- empty boxes, which people reported made some children cry. "Wake Up Wal-Mart" says that Wal-Mart is lying about the children crying, and they claim the police were "racist" to arrest two black women for shoving Wal-Mart employees. The two women claimed they weren't even in the store. The group claims that "all who witnessed the event, including a Reverend and professor," back its story. A Reverend and professor? Those professions hardly mean someone is completely truthful. Look at "Reverend" Al Sharpton and "Professor" Ward Churchill.

Even if no children cried, that was an incredibly mean-spirited thing to do. For crying out loud, they're just children. At that time of the year, presents from Santa's helpers have a special meaning, and even the most spoiled child doesn't deserve that kind of trick. One has to be a real skunk to drag kids into a political fight that way. Then we have Wal-Mart, and other discount retailers too, which make Christmas possible for families of limited means. Wal-Mart's "everyday low prices" means that parents can actually give something more than empty boxes.


Blogger TKC said...

I was recently discussing movies with a far left winger. He was trying to make the point that Hollywood might be the new 4th estate by making movies such as Farenheight 9/11, The Constant Gardener, and Syriana. It was pointed out that F9/11 is widely regarded as propaganda and The Constant Gardener and Syriana were box office flops. The reply was that box office returns are not always an indicator of what is a good movie. I agreed that there are plenty of movies that are good but didn't rake in a lot of money. But I also pointed out that if what Hollywood is producing is seen as little more than political grandstanding and not entertainment then people may vote with their wallets by not going to see them.

Thursday, January 05, 2006 1:53:00 PM  
Blogger Perry Eidelbus said...

Very true. There are so, so few movies being produced that I really want to see. With the exception of Star Wars and Star Trek, even the better movies aren't worth so much of my time, so I'll wait for them to come out on DVD.

I would have definitely gone to see "Batman Begins" in the theatre, however, had I known how good it was.

Friday, January 06, 2006 1:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great one, well done, it's in, thanks!

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
DON'T Shop At Walmart

paying low prices is bad
say NO to your neighborhood

Friday, January 19, 2007 2:39:00 AM  
Blogger Perry Eidelbus said...

I cannot comprehend such an absurd universe in which low prices for everyone are a bad thing.

Friday, January 19, 2007 7:12:00 PM  
Blogger USpace said...

Yes, it is absurd...

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
say NO to Walmart

they just want a business
create jobs for the locals

Monday, January 29, 2007 3:28:00 AM  

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