business news in context, analysis with attitude

  • The San Francisco Chronicle reports that when Wal-Mart started the hiring process for 400 positions about to be available at a new store in Oakland, more than 11,000 people submitted applications.

    The reason: a better than five percent unemployment rate in the region, caused not just by companies going out of business during the dot-com collapse but also by layoffs, outsourcing and offshoring.

    Wal-Mart and its supporters point to the volume of applications as proof that the company does not mistreat its workers and is a positive economic force.

  • Wal-Mart announced that it would like to build a new distribution center in Merced, California, which would start serving stores in 2008. Wal-Mart currently has four Supercenters, 149 discount stores and 34 Sam’s Club units in California

  • Despite the fact that Carrefour management has denied that any such discussions are taking place, the rumored acquisition of the French retailer by Wal-Mart has drawn negative comments from the Union Network International (UNI), a coalition of 900 unions in more than 140 countries.

    UNI secretary general Philip Jennings told Agence France-Presse that any such merger would create enormous antitrust problems, and that the union would vigorously protest such a merger on the streets of Paris.

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