Back in January I remember reading an interesting story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, entitled "Who Pays the Tab for Low Benefits?" The story quotes the owners of a smaller grocery store that tries to provide good benefits to their employees. The owners speak about their frustration with the fact that they struggle to do what is right and big corporations like Wal-Mart get away with providing nothing or very little to their employees.
There is very little doubt that when a Wal-Mart moves into a community that it becomes a direct competitor with local grocers. It must be very difficult for those local grocers on many levels, but I'd like to focus on healthcare benefits here. Many of these smaller grocers may sacrifice to provide decent healthcare coverage to their employees while a huge company such as Wal-Mart may not. This situation makes matters much worse and very unfair for local grocers.
So it really surprised me on Friday when I found that Wisconsin Grocers endorsed John Gard for the 8th District Congressional seat. Under his leadership, the Republicans in the Assembly were able to kill the latest legislation to hold big corporations like Wal-Mart accountable. That legislation would have required Wal-Mart and others to provide proper health insurance for their employees or to at least help pay for their employees who are driven to state sponsered healthcare. At least it would have made matters in that specific area easier for local grocers. Nope, John Gard and the other Republicans in the assembly decided to not allow an open vote on the Assembly floor.
Why would John Gard not allow this bill to see the light of day? Could it be the fact that members of the Walton family have been generous contributors to him in the past? I guess I don't know for sure but I do know that killing AB860 was a lousy thing to do for local grocers that provide good benefits.