You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: Politics and Retail

Discussion
Feb 27, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Here’s one from the RetailWire Surreal But True file.

Democratic presidential front-runner, John Kerry, was in Santa Monica, Ca. yesterday to give his support to the striking grocery workers.

Mr. Kerry called the members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) heroes for the union’s stand to hold on to their medical benefits package from Albertsons, Kroger and Safeway.

The grocery chains, as we all know, were seeking concessions from store associates so they could become more competitive with Wal-Mart and other non-union retailers who pay lower wages and offer less comprehensive medical benefits to their employees.

Last week, the senator’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry told a group of Democratic activists, “Another thing that drives me crazy, and I hope I don’t offend anyone here, is Wal-Mart. They destroy communities.”

Ms. Heinz Kerry, it turns out, personally bought more than $1 million in the community destroyer’s stock in 2002, according to the Drudge Report. Oops.

Although the debate rages on whether Wal-Mart is good or bad for communities, there seems little to debate on how it comes down on the side of the major political parties.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics (www.opensecrets.org), Wal-Mart’s political action committee (PAC), Responsible Government, donated $1.25 million to a host of candidates for office including a $5,000 contribution to President Bush’s re-election campaign. Mr. Kerry did not receive any money from Wal-Mart’s PAC, which gave 84 percent of its contributions to Republicans.

Moderator’s Comment: What are your thoughts on the dance taking place between politicians
and the retail industry at present?

Wal-Mart’s PAC is funded by contributions from its million plus employees. George
Anderson – Moderator

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