While Walmart refuses to say if, when or where it might finally open a store within the five boroughs, one of its favored sites is the Related Company’s Gateway Center Mall in the far reaches of Brooklyn. The area is economically depressed, meaning the cheap jobs and cheap merchandise are (theoretically) desirable. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union sees Walmart jobs as junk, and they have been campaigning against the store since it resurfaced a two years ago.
Today, they made things personal, not just with Steve Ross, Related’s founder and CEO, but also his more than 7,200 tenants in the New York area.
The union and its Walmart Free New York campaign put together a postcard urging residents in Relatated’s 26 developments across the city to contact the company and say they do not support a Walmart in the city. The front side of the postcard shows a Walmart sign looming over a terrace (above) while the back (below) directs tenants to a special website where they can send in an electronic complaint. Related representatives were not immediately available for comment.
Even in liberal Manhattan, it seems hard to believe anyone would move because a big box store might open up on the opposite side of the city.
Update: To clarify, the junk jobs referred to above were those of Walmart, not the entire Gateway Center complex, which the RWDSU does support, as made clear in this statement from a union spokesman:
Appreciate the coverage but the RWDSU does not view the jobs at Gateway II as “junk.” We support the effort to bring in high-road retailers and businesses that will create the best jobs for local residents. Walmart is a low-road retailer that harms workers, small businesses, and communities. New Yorkers stand to lose far more than they would ever gain from Walmart, and that’s why we’re opposed to Walmart.
Also, this post initially misstated the number of tenants receiving postcards as 2,600. The number is in fact 7,200 or more in 26 different developments in New York City. The Observer regrets the error.