Report: NYC Walmart jobs would lower wages

January 13, 2011 3:55:01 AM PST
Walmart has made no secret of its desire to open up a store in New York City. Next month, the City Council will hold a hearing about it.

Walmart says it would bring jobs with a new store, but a new report is raising questions about whether Walmart's jobs would really be a good thing.

Pitkin Avenue is the retail heart of the Brownsville, Brooklyn neighborhood. The bustling strip has been anchored for more than four decades by the Shoppers World Department Store.

"We've been here for about 45 years," Shoppers World general manager Mark Tanis said.

But Tanis fears the rumored Walmart would spell doom for his store and other mom-and-pop businesses there.

"I feel that Pitkin Avenue would be a ghost town, and this conglomerate would be a plunder on us as a small business owner," Tanis said.

New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio agrees with that assessment.

In a joint report with Hunter College, he also accuses the mega-retailer of driving down wages and benefits.

"For every two jobs that a Walmart adds, they destroy three," he said. "So there's a net job loss. The jobs that remain are lower paying. You add all that up, it doesn't make sense for a community. It's like a Trojan horse."

As evidence of Walmart's apparent determination to break into the lucrative New York City market, several full page newspaper ads pointedly targeting underserved residents and reminding them they have voice in the matter.

Walmart has insisted it is considering locations in all five boroughs, but speculation has focused on the shopping center in East New York, Brooklyn.

On Wednesday night, Steve Restivo, Walmart's Director of Community Affairs released a statement saying: "New Yorkers need a public advocate that's focused on finding solutions for the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who are out of work and the millions more who don't have convenient access to fresh, affordable food. Time and again, our stores have proven to be part of the solution in both those regards in thousands and thousands of communities across the country. We're proud of our record and one doesn't have to look much further than Chicago to see how one Walmart store transformed an urban neighborhood.

Randomly selected statements from a handful of flawed studies don't measure up to real people whose lives are better because they have a good job and access to fresh food to feed their families."