Wal-Mart has been subject to criticism by various groups and individuals. Labor unions fund and lead community groups, grassroots organizations, religious organizations, and environmental groups in protests against Wal-Mart, the company's policies and business practices, and Wal-Mart customers. Other areas of criticism include the corporation's foreign product sourcing, treatment of product suppliers, environmental practices, the use of public subsidies, and the company's security policies. Wal-Mart denies doing anything wrong and maintains that low prices are the result of efficiency.
In 2005, labor unions created new organizations and websites to influence public opinion against Wal-Mart, including Wake Up Wal-Mart (United Food and Commercial Workers) and Wal-Mart Watch (Service Employees International Union). By the end of 2005, Wal-Mart had launched Working Families for Wal-Mart to counter criticisms made by these groups. Additional efforts to counter criticism include launching a public relations campaign in 2005 through their public relations website, which included several television commercials. The company retained the public relations firm Edelman to interact with the press and respond to negative or biased media reports, and has started interacting directly with bloggers by sending them news, suggesting topics for postings, and sometimes inviting them to visit their corporate headquarters.
Economists suggest that Wal-Mart is a success because it sells products at low prices that people want to buy, satisfying customer's wants and needs. However, Wal-Mart critics argue at the same time Wal-Mart's lower prices draw customers away from other businesses, "hurting the community.
Jan 24, 2008, 11:09:31
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