Is Walmart the World’s Worst Corporation?

Demonstrators call for higher wages at one of 1,500 Black Friday protests planned at Walmarts across the country, in Los Angeles, Nov. 29, 2013. The retailer filed trespassing injunctions in California and four other states to bar protesters from Walmart property. (J. Emilio Flores/The New York Times)

John Logan

That was the question posed last week by Public Eye, a counter-event to the World Economic Forum, as it sought a worthy winner for its “lifetime achievement award.” For sure, Walmart – which has already won a Public Eye award in 2005 for labor rights violations in its global supply chain – faces stiff competition in the online poll. Among the other outstanding nominees for the world’s worst corporation are Goldman Sachs, Chevron, Dow Chemical and Union Carbide.

Walmart’s impeccable credentials for the world’s worst corporation were covered last week by Truthout. The company denies a living wage, full-time work, predictable scheduling and employment security to its global workforce of 2.2 million people. It drives down wages and labor standards in its enormous global supply chain, most notably in the Bangladesh textile industry and the Thai shrimp industry. Walmart’s contempt for the core labor and human rights of its global workforce and supply-chain workers is arguably second to none.

There’s also no shortage of worthy nominees for the worst corporation in the United States: Amazon, a company whose disdain for labor rights is legendary, has similar employment practices to Walmart, minus the bricks and mortar; and Uber, the San Francisco-based ride-sharing service whose vice president apparently believes insmearing journalists, has done more than most corporations to promote precarious employment.

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