Andrew Young’s Two Chairs

A reader writes that civil-rights era hero Andrew Young is heading Working Families for Wal-Mart. (Well, she called it “some bullshit Wal-Mart front group;” others might call it a campaign for free trade and low prices. It does seem to be the minority-fronted arm of Wal-Mart’s PR effort, a favored corporate pushback strategy.)

Young also, the reader notes, serves as chairman of the liberal Drum Major Institute, whose fellows tend to take a rather different view of the retailer. The institute’s 2005 Injustice Index includes the following:

Income level at which a family of three qualifies for food stamps: $20,376 3
Average annual wage of Wal-Mart sales associates: $14,787 4
Number of Wal-Mart employees in the United States: 1.2 million 5
Net worth of five Walton family heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune: $77.9 billion 6

On the DMI blog, Lisa Duggan derides NYU as “Walmart-U” and labor leader Andy Stern took this (fairly moderate) stance at a DMI-sponsored forum:

“Wal-Mart…probably deserve the earnings it gets from technological and other innovations, but not the wealth it gains by screwing workers and outsourcing work all over the world.”