Controversy requires two opposing points of view on a topic that both have legitimacy. Examples of legitimate controversies in my life include how long is “too long” for a dish to soak in the sink and which way the toilet paper roll should unfurl. As a primary care physician I ponder the appropriate level of involvement I take in helping my patients make medical decisions; how to balance disempowering paternalism with the need for guidance. I read articles that debate the optimal duration of anticoagulation after peri-surgical atrial fibrillation. These are controversies because there are no clear answers.
Walmart’s labor practices are not controversial. They are simply abusive. It’s offensive that it’s even labeled as something worth debating.
Yesterday marked the third annual Black Friday protests and strikes at Walmart, the largest private employer in this country. The Walton family, controlling owners of the company, is America’s richest family, with holdings valued at almost $150 billion dollars. For decades, Walmart has remained an employer powerhouse based upon a business model of low wages, poor benefits and union busting.
And though the spin-doctors of Walmart would have you believe that these protests and strikes are simply exaggerated demonstrations from a very vocal minority, the growing number of petitions, strikes, and studies say otherwise.