Athens' Wal Mart Controversy Gaining a Wide Audience

Is a minimum wage job better than no job?


At the February 8th r, several black Athenians voiced their support of

The 94,000 square foot retailer will help ease Athens’ unemployment rate—which is lower than the state average—and will provide employment for out-of work black residents. One speaker said that Athens has a poverty rate closing on 40 percent, so jobs, any jobs, would be welcome.

The issue of good jobs vs. no jobs has been playing out in other places, with Wal Mart front and center, according to a story in BET.com.

According to the story, last month, 500 women, many of them African-American, filed a complaint against Wal Mart with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They allege that Wal Mart has passed them over for promotions and raises because of gender.

Kennesaw Taylor February 11, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Minimum wage is not the issue. Minimum wage and only thirty five hours is. You can barely survive on a forty hour work week at minimum wage, less than that keeps you firmly below the poverty line. I understand big profit margins. Does everyone else understand working and still depending on food stamps? I don't have this problem, but I have known many who do. Work and still decide if your need to put gas in your car to get to work or buy food to feed your children. Government subsidized lower prices are not as good as they seem.
Roberta Fernandez February 12, 2012 at 01:52 AM
The Walmart controversy seems to be becoming an issue between town and gown. University folks seem not to understand the realities of the poor who live in the city of Athens. It's their town too. It seems that since the African American (and more recently, Hispanics), are permanent residents of Athens, their concerns should be given priority over those of us who live here only for a few years. Students in particular really have no say in the matter. They are here for four to eight years and then move on.
Organic Mom February 12, 2012 at 01:22 PM
People who shop at Walmart just perpetuate the problems we have...made in China crap, worker exploitation & the pollution of our environment.
Sue Stephenson February 12, 2012 at 02:01 PM
It seems to me that what Athens needs are more well paying industrial jobs that pay well. Many of these skills can be learned at a Vocational School, such as Vo.Tech.. Walmart will only continue the cycle of the poor with low pay, poor benefits, and long hours. I also think that a big box will detract from the vibrant downtown that does draw and provide jobs for service workers such as restaurants, hotels, entertainment, and of course the University. All of these type jobs do hire the poor if have some basic skills and motivation, and stay in school. One only needs to look behind Raffertys to see what will become of the Armstrong and Dobbs land after 20 years. I think it is a mistake to put the big box in that area. Sue (a long term resident of Athens.)
Linda Labbo February 12, 2012 at 03:26 PM
I'm not opposed to another walmart to supplement the ones already in Athens; however, I am opposed to the location. More jobs? Sure? I'm all for creating job opportunities for everyone. Downtown location? No... No because we need to keep downtown as "local" as possible. We need to be mindful of traffic flow downtown and surrounding streets. And we need to foster a downtown identify that reflects our uniqueness in shopping and dining.


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