- Reporter's Notebook: The Wal-Mart Phenomenon
Wal-Mart is America-s biggest company, and it has big plans for Southern California. Kenneth Stone, a professor of economics at Iowa State University who has studied the national big-box chain for twenty years, examines the "Wal-Mart phenomenon" and what it might mean for Southern California-s future.
For two days now, customers at Ralph-s, Vons, Pavilions and Albertsons have been met by picket lines, as United Food and Commercial Workers try to fight proposed cuts in wages and benefits. Some 70,000 workers are out at 850 stores from Central California to the Mexican border. The union approved the walkout overwhelmingly, and the Teamsters and other unions are in full support. Though wages are an immediate issue, the big one is heath care, which is causing labor strife for the MTA and other employers all over the country. We get different perspectives on the strike from a labor reporter, the head of the local UFCW and an economist from the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation.