Monday, August 29, 2005

Kersten: Teachers are being mean to Wal-Mart!

Who? Teachers? Say it ain’t so Katie! Katie says that teachers are being mean to Wal-Mart. Don’t they know their place? This is an offense to the moral order and the social hierarchy!

Everyone knows that political thought is supposed to be left to the intelligentsia like Katie.

Katie’s Monday column Teachers should leave Wal-Mart alone rates about a seven on the Shrew-o-Meter’s scale of one to ten. You’d think that one of her kids was being picked on. Think about that for a minute.

After reminding us of the daunting challenges faced by schools and educators, particularly in the inner city – challenges created in no small part by Katie and her ilk – she goes on to “tell” on teachers and their unions for participating in a labor initiative:
The MFT, along with the St. Paul Federation of Teachers, is urging parents and teachers who shop for school supplies to boycott Wal-Mart, the nation's leading discount retailer. The unions claim that Wal-Mart workers' wages and benefits are too low.

The boycott is part of a nationwide campaign, called Wake-Up Wal-Mart, sponsored by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), the union that has unsuccessfully tried to unionize Wal-Mart employees at a number of stores.
Never mind that Wal-Mart has a national reputation for anti-union “activities,” and that in the one place where workers did organize in one of its stores, Montreal, Wal-Mart shuttered the store as soon as the union was certified.

Most of the rest of Katie’s column is an advertisement for Wal-Mart. Katie waxes poetic philosophic economic, well she just waxes, over the low low prices at Wal-Mart. Always! Cheap shirts, cheap shorts, and best of all cheap pens! Spot just hopes that the Star Tribune is charging standard advertising rates for the column.

Katie, if you ever get tired of the newspaper gig or it gets tired of you, you could do the announcements for the blue light specials at K-Mart.

To rebut the charge that Wal-Mart pays low wages, which it does, she reports the interview of three people: a part-time employee who is also a student, a full-time employee (how’d she find one of those?) who has been on the job two weeks (cut to the exit interview with Tom, who says: Gee boss, I didn’t know that newspaper lady was going to print what I said about crummy wages and the fact that I took this job after being unemployed for so long. I know I was still on probation, but I gotta keep this job!), and best of all, the “acting” manager of one of the stores. What happened to the regular manager? Spot shudders to think.

Anyway, the “acting” manager said when the store opened in 2004 that had 6,000 applications for 325 job openings. A genuine tribune to Wal-Mart. Or maybe an indicator of the sorry state of the economy. Take your pick.

Katie winds up with a real stinger to the teachers:
It's time, I'd say, for teachers unions to get back to improving our kids' academic performance, and leave the rest of us to shop and work where we want.
Why, yes of course you would say that, Katie. We would expect nothing less from a bug-eyed control freak. Nobody but you is entitled to an opinion.


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