Economics

Unions Need a Better Argument against Wal-Mart

walmartThere’s an interesting story in the NYPost about Wal-Mart’s efforts to break into Gotham. Union opposition is predictable, of course, but this line jumps out:

“Walmart is still not welcome,” said Stuart Appelbaum, of the national Retail and Wholesale Workers union. “They provide a model for others to follow. Their model is a destructive force. The jobs they create keep people in poverty.”

The unions needs a better line of argument. Mark Perry has posted before about the deluge of applications Wal-Mart gets whenever they enter a new market. Apparently the alleged “poverty” from working at Wal-Mart beats not working at all.  The Big Apple has an unemployment rate north of 9%, so when a proven productivity enhancer such as Wal-Mart wants to enter a market, workers and consumers alike should applaud. For those interested in this fight, Richard Vedder and Wendell Cox have a definitive take on the economics of Wal-Mart in this book (they point out, contra Appelbaum, that “Wal-Mart workers are paid fairly—given their level of skills and experience, and compared to other retail firms, Wal-Mart employees do well.”) Arnold Kling and I discuss the importance of the retail revolution in our book.

Image by Mark.

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