AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
By Randolph Heaster, The Kansas City Star, Mo. Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Jan. 26--More than 6,000 Wal-Mart managers today wrap up their annual meeting in Kansas City, where they reviewed performance and analyzed the coming year for the world's largest company.
But even the most focused managers couldn't miss recent discord that union and social activists have wrought on the giant retailer and the company's campaign to rebut it.
Outside Bartle Hall on Saturday, dozens of area residents -- most of them union members --protested Wal-Mart's practices and policies.
"Wal-Mart is emblematic of the thinking that operational efficiency works best for everybody," said Mary Lindsay, who helped organize the protest. "But there's a downside to Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart hurts people, communities and democracy. It's about more than just low prices."
Lindsay is an organizer of the Kansas City chapter of ReclaimDemocracy.org, a recently formed group that thinks corporations need to be more accountable to citizens.
While criticism of Wal-Mart is hardly new, it has built some momentum as the company has become the defendant in dozens of class-action lawsuits over allegedly unpaid work and a gender discrimination case that could become the biggest class-action lawsuit of its kind. Some former female employees of area Wal-Marts have submitted testimonials about their inability to obtain managerial posts at the company.
Having essentially ignored …