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Home / Good News For Workers, Bad News For Wal-Mart
News analysis: A class action lawsuit in Pa. proceeds while Maryland passes a law mandating health care

Good News For Workers, Bad News For Wal-Mart

While the nearby state of Virginia takes steps which suggests it cares more about conformity than social justice or compassion, Maryland took a welcoming step in a more positive direction on Thursday.

On Thursday the Maryland Senate voted 30-17 to overide an action by Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich on the so-called Wal-Mart bill, according to
Overriding a veto of a bill requires a three-fifths vote from both the Senate, which was accomplished, as well as the house. The house is expected to vote – and also override – the veto later today.

The so-called Wal-Mart bill, previously known as the Fair Share Health Care Fund Act, requires corporations with more than 10,000 workers to devote at least 8 percent of payroll to pay health care costs of its employees.

Wal-Mart has 17,000 workers in the state.

Wal-Mart and other large business owners have criticized the proposed legislation since it amounts to the government telling a private company how to spend its money.

Supporters of the bill point to well-documented practices by the company of not giving workers a fair wage or benefits. The new documentary, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, is just the latest eye-opening report showing the company cares too much about profits at the expense of its employees and the communities it moves into.

Maryland’s decision comes on the heels of other public relations nightmares for the company including allegations in the blogging world that Wal-Mart was being racist with some of its Movie suggestions on its Internet site.

Also this week a judge ruled that a class action lawsuit in Pennsylvania can proceed against Wal-Mart by former workers who say they were not paid for all the work they did for the company. The workers describe being told to do work off the clock.

The Pennsylvania law suit, which could affect nearly 150,000 current or former Wal-Mart workers in the state, the Associated Press reported.

The judge’s action follows Wal-Mart workers in California winning $172 million for illegally denied lunch breaks, Wal-Mart previously settled, for $50 million, a similar case in Colorado.

Even before this week Wal-Mart’s month was already a public relations nightmare between aftermath from the movie’s release plus last week’s allegations by bloggers of racist groupings of movies at the Wal-Mart Internet site.

It is enough to make even the greeters at Wal-Mart frown.
Or is it?
Wal-Mart denied any wrongdoing.
Besides, the company says at its Internet site::
“There is no formal relationship between Walmart and unions because at Wal Mart, unions are not necessary.

With Wal-Mart’s open policy between our associates and managers and executives, we believe there is no need for third-party representation. ”

About Scott Butki

Scott Butki was a newspaper reporter for more than 10 years before making a career change into education... then into special education. He has been doing special education work for about five years He lives in Austin. He reads at least 50 books a year and has about 15 author interviews each year and, yes, unlike tv hosts he actually reads each one. He is an in-house media critic, a recovering Tetris addict and a proud uncle. He has written articles on practically all topics from zoos to apples and almost everything in between.

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