business news in context, analysis with attitude

  • Reports in the Japanese media say that Seiyu, the retailer partially owned by Wal-Mart, is requiring all of its 350 foreign suppliers to sign a code of conduct promising that it will not use child labor, use environmentally friendly practices, and not practice discrimination.

  • The Orlando Sentinel reports that the Florida teachers unions are wrestling with a dilemma.

    On the one hand, because they are part of organized labor they are sympathetic to calls to boycott Wal-Mart because the retailer is hostile to unionization. The national teachers union supports a campaign to “educate” the public about what are perceived as Wal-Mart’s offenses.

    The problem is that “some say it's unrealistic to ask teachers, aides, cafeteria workers, bus drivers and other unionized school workers to boycott the behemoth retailer,” according to the paper. In some cases, Wal-Mart is the only local retailer selling certain items; in other cases, shopping at Wal-Mart is the best option because a lot of these employees don’t make a lot of money, and Wal-Mart has the lest expensive merchandise.

KC's View:
The teachers are going to have to wrestle with this ethical conundrum on their own…because it is unlikely that Wal-Mart is going to do anything to make it easier on them.