The current anti-Wal-Mart propoganda drive by unions and various "liberal" groups reminds me of my decision a few months ago to keep my Sam's Club membership and drop my Costco membership. A few trips to Costco were enough to convince me that Sam's Club suits my needs, and at better prices. Why pay two annual membership fees when one will do?
Why shouldn't I shop at Sam's Club? It's a slave-free zone. I haven't seen good squads dragging unwilling people in from the streets to work at Sam's Club. I haven't seen any Sam's Club employees caged in their work areas. But maybe Sam's Club is hiding all of that from public view. Perhaps there are secret prisions in Arkansas where they send Sam's Club employees who try to resign for higher wages and benefits elsewhere. Yep. And labor union leaders are paid the same wages as the workers they represent.
P.S. On a related note, I have a word of advice for people who work in "one company towns" (e.g., regions centered around auto manufacturing). That word of advice is this: Leave. I should qualify that: You should have saved some money, figured out where you'd be better off, and gone there. You could see the handwriting on the wall; it's been there for decades.
But whatever you do, don't blame me for your woes. It's not my fault that you live where you live. Blame your parents and blame yourself. Don't take it out on me by demanding some kind of government bailout when your company goes belly up because you unionized it. If most consumers don't want to buy what you make, why should they have to subsidize your remaining customers' purchases of your inferior products? Why should I pay you to stay on the job if your State and local governments have enacted so many taxes and regulations that new companies don't want to move into your "town" and hire you?
As I said: Leave. Your ancestors probably crossed the Atlantic to get here. You don't have to go that far, and you can do it in a style to which your ancestors were not accustomed.
UPDATE (RE WAL-MART): Cafe Hayek points to a scholarly paper about the economic benefits of Wal-Mart and the like. Here's the abstract (emphasis added):
Consumers often benefit from increased competition in differentiated product settings. In this paper we consider consumer benefits from increased competition in a differentiated product setting: the spread of non-traditional retail outlets. In this paper we estimate consumer benefits from supercenter entry and expansion into markets for food. We estimate a discrete choice model for household shopping choice of supercenters and traditional outlets for food. We have panel data for households so we can follow their shopping patterns over time and allow for a fixed effect in their shopping behavior. We find the benefits to be substantial, both in terms of food expenditure and in terms of overall consumer expenditure. Low income households benefit the most.Labor unions don't care about low-income households. They care about jacking up the wages and benefits of their members at the expense of low-income households.