Earlier this week Latina Style Magazine announced that Wal-Mart has been named one of the “50 Best Companies for Latinas.” Wal-Mart has 154,000 Hispanic associates and has two Hispanic board members. Latina style chose the Wal-Mart after surveying 800 American corporations and ranking responses on recruitment, employee benefits and advancement opportunities for women, particularly Latinas.
I probably don’t need to go into the many reasons why Wal-Mart is not a worker friendly company. If you have ever read Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed, you will get a good overview of the typical treatment of a lower level associate in a Wal-Mart store. Most people are aware of the implications of supporting this behemoth institution. Wal-Mart pushes out smaller independently owned businesses, conducts extensive business with China, has been the target of class action lawsuits, offers health insurance to less than half of its employees, and has been repeatedly cited for environmental pollution. I certainly wouldn’t aspire to work in such an environment, but then again, my education affords me more choices. I realize that for many Latinos, there are few options in terms of employment and places to buy affordable goods. But we have to do better. I don’t think that Wal-Mart is going to change its tune any time in the near future.