Wal-Mart's Issues Are Easier Denounced Than Resolved:
Sweatshop USA: The American Sweatshop in Historical and Global Perspective (book)
by Daniel E. Bender (Editor), Richard A. Greenwald
This site fascinates me. I haven't seen the video, all I've done is read the posts and your answers as well as peruse a few links. And being the guy I am, I must now analyze what I've read. Now I am simply a college musician/liberal arts major turned life insurance salesman for want of good pay.. very far from an economist. Oh and I so wish I had seen this site when I was hunting for a thesis topic!
but what I'm gathering is a problem with large corp politics mixed in a big bowl with polarized views, good/bad individual experiences, and of course, yourselves with an agenda of making your views public. bake that recipe and can I just say, very impressive fireworks.
personally, polarized views are the human way. experiences only serves to put more people in the fight... usually unjustifiably considering a few bad cashiers/customers/cops/managers hardly reflect the big picture. (Don't get me wrong, I have much less self control than most of the people in these stories appear to have.. especially that cop story) I applaud you for your success at putting your voice in the air, so many people spend so much money attempting that for both good and bad reasons and failed. I imagine your commonality with america was the key here.. But It comes down to the actual politics of the corporations. So how different is walmart from its competitors? Are you using walmart as an example or an individual case? And most importantly, if we had the power to put you in charge of walmart, what would you do to fix it?
For example, benefits. The cost of benefits here seems to be underestimated. lets just say we wanted to give everyone benefits that worked at walmart. Here are your problems: most states require businesses to pay 50% of each employee's benefits requiring everyone in the same class of employment to have the option to purchase. Most of these people are making nothing and can't pay 50% of a $500 premium.. So you'll probably have to pay more like 90% of the premium so that they would actually be able to buy it.. although that's usually reserved for "skilled laborers." You could sell smaller policies but that means 5K deductibles and 50/50% coinsurance after that, no min wage worker would buy that. quick math: 1100 stores, 225 workes apiece at $450 (90% of 500) is around 112 million dollars. And that's not including the managers who will have $1500 policies and expect to pay nothing for it because that's how they had it at their last job. Noble, unprofitable, but do-able. Many insurance companies won't touch part time workers so you could cut some full time workers' hours.. come to think of it, Mom and pop shops usually are usually either personally insured or self insured.. both extreemely expensive options, and basically people working at a mom and pop will be in the same boat that people without insurance at walmart are in.
I didn't mean to go on about that. the point is. Walmart's issues are all easier denounced than resolved.. My little ramble only scratches the surface of benefit complications. Which is why the same percentage of walmart workers that are not covered is probably reflected in most businesses with over 50 employees. Most people have no idea how many people out there simply don't have insurance on the job. Now I suppose we could just dismiss all of this and point out how big they are.. they do make say 7 billion in profits, what's a hundred million to them? 2%?? they can afford benefits, higher wages, and unions to boot, and you'd be right, but again, what about the other companies. They're all doing the same thing if in a smaller way. I think someone mentioned Mcd's. This is corporation today, and it is a highly tentative position to be the owner of a large corporation. hostile buyouts, massive lawsuits, a company's responsibility to its stock owners, etc etc, all demand that 7billion profit while pressures from below demand more wages/benefits/etc. If you give in to both or sometimes either side you simply don't survive.. and that's not just business, it is capitalism. People have looked at the system and learned to thrive in it by doing these things.
To sum up, the system sucks, everyone knows that, I recommend you talk to some experts in all these areas to create solutions to each and every problem that wouldn't get a department head fired or lay off too many employees, run some illustrations, and present it to a large corp owner/board other than walmart (ie a relevant yet unbiased 3rd party) and get feedback from them on your business model. Then post your findings in such a way that all of america can see... I'm thinking videodocumentary, jay leno, whatever, at that point you could follow up with your own miniseries. You of all people are in the best position to do this from what you've already accomplished.
One more thing, P&T most likely presented the bias they did because of what they had to work with. You say that you don't mind the way they presented you, and your sacrifice for the cause of entertainment looks very good on paper, but I think you approached this with the wrong attitude. with the right presentation you can win any debate hands down. For example, if you had the word credibility in your head when you went in, you wouldn't have left them the clips you did to have a hayday with. You went in with Entertainment on your mind, and it sounds like you delivered. What if all they had to work with was statistics, facts, and sad stories. God knows you have enoug of all 3. they wouldn't have had a choice but to take your side. But that's just my advice.