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.”

Andrew Young’s Two Chairs