Officials at the retail monster called Walmart couldn’t install emergency exits at the Bangladesh factory where more than 100 workers died in a Nov. 4 fire. Too cash-strapped, it seems:
… In a meeting last year, Walmart officials decided against agreeing to pay suppliers more so that they could upgrade their manufacturing facilities and pay for the costs of safety improvements. “Specifically to the issue of any corrections on electrical and fire safety, we are talking about 4,500 factories, and in most cases very extensive and costly modifications would need to be undertaken to some factories,” Walmart officials said in documents obtained by Bloomberg News. “It is not financially feasible for the brands to make such investments.”
More than 300 Bangladeshi garment factory workers have died since 2006. Walmart reported a 9 percent increase in third-quarter net income, earning $3.63 billion.
Vicious cycle: Clueless consumers shop at Walmart to save a few greenbacks. Walmart grows even more profitable and diverse, forcing even more smaller retailers to either go out of business or lower wages in order to compete. As wages continue to decline, more and more people seek out bargains at Walmart, or at other big-box chains that offer similarly poor wages and benefits.
It’s no surprise that corporate profits in America have hit a record high and worker wages a record low, or that workers at companies that help feed the monster are treated even more shabbily than the monster’s “associates.”