When you work for Walmart, your money doesn’t buy you much. But when you are Walmart, your money buys you a shot at a New York City megastore. Borough President Marty Markowitz was once a vocal critic of Walmart’s attempts to shove a store into East New York. Rightfully so—Walmart’s abusive labor practices have been well documented.
$150,000 later, Markowitz is barking a little less loudly. According to the Post, Walmart became a corporate sponsor of his summer Martin Luther King, Jr. concert series, an irony not lost upon City Councilwoman Letitia James. (“Dr. King fought and died for fair wages and taking this money would be a dishonor to his legacy,” she said.) A Markowitz aide denounced Walmart in 2009, but the borough president has now said that he is “not philosophically opposed to Walmart” but still wants them to “show a commitment to Brooklyn by paying a fair wage, offering health benefits [and] using union workers” in construction projects.
Hoping Walmart pays a fair wage, offers health benefits, and employs unionized workers is a little like hoping that a politician maintains his position despite the moneybags dropped at his feet.