Today's Brooklyn Paper writes
With Fulton Mall changing, it is time for city officials to reconsider Wal-Mart’s attempt to bring its low prices and vast selection to Downtown Brooklyn
I'll start by asking, what kind of jobs would you like to bring to your community? A decent wage with affordable health care, a pension maybe? Some guaranteed raises and sick days? Would this be too much to ask for the company who has sat a top of the Fortune 500 list four out of the last five years? Or do we want to bring a surplus of jobs that aren't providing health care and a decent wage to our already economically struggling community? Has Wal-Mart somehow in a little over a year when they were kept out of the Fulton Mall, changed their ways? Are they providing their full-time employees with affordable health care? Are they treating women with the same respect as they used to? I missed that memo. I don't think we need to have another blog post regarding the struggles Wal-Mart employees continue to face. Just google search 'wal-mart worker' and check out what you get if you're unaware. I'd like to speak about the collateral damage a Wal-Mart would bring to a community like the Fulton Mall although. Nowhere in the Brooklyn Papers article is there a mention of the hundreds of shop owners throughout the Fulton Mall. What about the other businesses that call the Fulton Mall home? What would happen to them if Wal-Mart would open? We're all for having affordable quality food and goods, but at what cost?
So what will happen to the Fulton Mall if Wal-Mart comes? We pondered this last year and surveyed the stores within a one block radius of the potential Wal-Mart. We found that Wal-Mart carries all of the same items that every store on the carried. Now sure, pedestrian traffic would increase significantly with a Wal-Mart at the Fulton Street Mall, but who is going to shop at the Jeweler or Shoe store, or the Electronic store across the street when you can waltz right into Wal-Mart for all your shopping needs, probably at a lower price. How many businesses will be forced to close their doors? What price are you essentially paying for a Wal-Mart? What kind of collateral damage does Wal-Mart do to your community? Countless studies have been conducted on the impact Wal-Mart has on communities. What this city needs when we're facing an immense supermarket shortage while drug stores like CVS and Rite-Aid continue expand, is a company to provide quality jobs, quality goods at an affordable price. Wal-Mart should review the Food Policy principles created by Local 1500 (right). Which call for a "...citywide education program to promote the three basic tenets that are the building blocks of all communities: Good Food, Good Jobs & Good Health..." All of which correlate to one another. We need to build, and Wal-Mart would not serve well as a foundation.
Do you remember last February when Wal-Mart tried 'sneaking' into the Fulton Mall? Remember politicians, residents and community groups rallying at the steps of the proposed site at Albee Square? All of whom protested and demanded the developer not to allow another irresponsible employer into the neighborhood. We wrote on these problems last year, after the developer promised not to bring a Wal-Mart, it was then Lee Scott saying "I don't care if we're ever there [New York]"
Leticia James of the New York City Council, speaking against Wal-Mart at the Fulton Mall.