This post originally appeared on AddictingInfo.org.
Walmart sent 400,000 American jobs to China between 2001 and 2013, according to a blockbuster new report.
Not only did that hurt America’s economy, the jobs in China created by Walmart’s decision to do so much business there hurt Chinese workers as well.
“Wal-Mart has aided China’s abuse of labor rights and its violations of internationally recognized norms of fair trade by providing a vast and ever-expanding conduit for the distribution of artificially cheap and subsidized Chinese exports to the United States,” the EPI said.
According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), Walmart’s decision to import thousands of goods from China also accounted for a massive 15.3 percent growth in the trade deficit between the U.S. and China, accounting for $324 billion. Of that, EPI calculated that Walmart was responsible for $48 billion of the deficit.
Walmart denied EPI’s report in a statement to Reuters, calling the think tank’s methodology, “flawed.” But in 2013 the company – who is the largest private employer in the United States – said it would increase buying of American-manufactured merchandise from $50 billion to $250 billion, an apparent admission that criticisms about its China dealings were hurting it.
But EPI says that the move from Walmart is not bringing in American jobs, despite the increase in spending.
Walmart has repeatedly felt pressure from unions to grow jobs in America instead of salivating over the fat profit margins that come from sourcing their products from the cheap Chinese labor market. In response, Walmart has been at the forefront of union busting, even creating a spy operation designed around squashing efforts to organize.
Recently it was uncovered that Walmart was so afraid of a union campaign to increase the minimum wage of its workers, possibly resulting in a walkout on Black Friday, it spied on social media accounts run by employees.
Senator Bernie Sanders pointed out a few years ago that despite its massive profits, Walmart can be classified as a welfare recipient due to its treatment of its workers:
SANDERS: Well, companies like Walmart. The Walmart family… here’s an amazing story. The Walmart family is the wealthiest family in this country, worth about $100 billion. Owning more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of the American people, and yet here’s the incredible fact.
Because their wages and benefits are so low, they are the major welfare recipients in America, because many, many of their workers depend on Medicaid, depend on food stamps, depend on government subsidies for housing. So, if the minimum wage went up for Walmart, would be a real cut in their profits, but it would be a real savings by the way for taxpayers, who would not having to subsidize Walmart employees because of their low wages.
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