Wal-Mart Jobs vs. Auto Jobs

The debate I took part in yesterday–well, it’s hard to call it a debate when your opponent is not operating with a full deck of cards…meaning facts–on CNBC really illustrates, in the most starkest terms, the two visions of America. One vision sees unionized jobs, like those that many people have had in the auto industry, as the platform upon which you build a decent society where people can live with dignity and respect. The other vision is that that sees Wal-Mart as the model–where if you work full-time (which Wal-Mart considers as a 34-hour work week) and are part of a family of four, you don’t make enough money to get above the poverty level of $21,000 a-year.

Take a look at this:

You want to both laugh and cry listening to Stephen Moore. If you try to follow his argument, good luck–because it simply isn’t coherent beyond the point “people are lining up for Wal-Mart jobs and so that must mean Wal-Mart jobs are great”. If this is the best the right-wing, pro-business folks can throw out there, boy, it’s a thin bench.

About the Author: Jonathan Tasini is the executive director of Labor Research Association. Tasini ran for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in New York. For the past 25 years, Jonathan has been a union leader and organizer, a social activist, and a commentator and writer on work, labor and the economy. From 1990 to April 2003, he served as president of the National Writers Union (United Auto Workers Local 1981).He was the lead plaintiff in Tasini vs. The New York Times, the landmark electronic rights case that took on the corporate media’s assault on the rights of thousands of freelance authors.

This article originally appeared in Working Life on June 5, 2009. Re-printed with permission by the author.

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.