[Marxism] Wal-Mart knowingly hired undocumented workers through subcontractors

Andy Coates esquincle at capital.net
Thu Aug 5 15:56:11 MDT 2004

When the story broke last year that Wal-Mart had been busted for 
subcontracting cleaning to companies that hire undocumented janitors, 
Wal-Mart officially moaned that it was 'shocked, shocked.'  Given the 
circumstances of Wal-Mart's precise dagger for cutting labor costs, 
together with its corporate use of cynical lies, many of us suspected 
that Wal-Mart must have been in on the deal.  It was.  Now that its 
pants are officially down the Wall Street Journal and the New York 
Times (story below) report that the behemoth shall ask its government 
for a gentle admonition, exoneration with a "settlement" of perhaps 
"several million dollars."  Wal-Mart's total sales for 2003 topped 250 
billion dollars; it employs more than 12 million workers, greater than 
10% of the American working class.   Andy


August 5, 2004
Wal-Mart Is Said to Be in Talks to Settle Illegal-Immigrant Case

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eeking to forestall an indictment, Wal-Mart Stores is in settlement 
talks with federal prosecutors who are investigating whether company 
officials knew that its janitorial contractors were using illegal 
immigrants to clean its stores, lawyers close to the case said 

The settlement talks come nine months after federal prosecutors in 
Pennsylvania sent Wal-Mart a letter informing it that it was the target 
of a grand jury investigation into the use of illegal immigrants at its 
stores. Last Oct. 23, federal officials rounded up 250 illegal 
immigrants at 60 Wal-Mart stores in 21 states.

The talks were reported yesterday in The Wall Street Journal. Lawyers 
close to the case said a settlement could cost several million dollars.

James L. Linsey, a lawyer who has sued Wal-Mart on behalf of immigrant 
janitors, estimates that Wal-Mart used thousands of illegal immigrants 
to clean more than 1,000 of its stores. Under federal law, Wal-Mart 
faces a fine of up to $10,000 for each illegal immigrant hired.

Wal-Mart officials continued to maintain yesterday that senior 
executives did not know until last October's raids that cleaning 
contractors were employing illegal immigrants.

Gus Whitcomb, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said the company was cooperating 
with prosecutors. "We reiterate, as we have from day one, that our 
senior management team knew nothing about the employment practices of 
the contractors until the government contacted us seeking our 

But that idea was challenged by lawyers suing Wal-Mart, by a cleaner's 
affidavit and by several individuals who said they had contacted 
Wal-Mart's headquarters to complain about the treatment of illegal 
immigrant janitors.

Mr. Linsey yesterday sent a federal judge a letter that he said was 
mailed to Wal-Mart's chief executive, Lee Scott, by a businessman who 
complained that his company had lost contracts at several Wal-Marts in 
the South to contractors who used illegal immigrants.

In the letter, dated June 27, 2002, the businessman, Raymond Drude, a 
vice president at Jani-King, one of the nation's largest cleaning 
companies, urged Mr. Scott to investigate why Wal-Mart was "choosing 
non-tax paying illegal aliens over local janitorial companies and their 
employees." Mr. Drude wrote Mr. Scott that Jani-King had lost business 
in 10 stores because a Wal-Mart district manager had given the 
contracts to illegal immigrants from Eastern Europe.

Mr. Whitcomb said Wal-Mart officials could find no record of the letter 
at its home office. He added that the letter contained no confirmation 
showing it was received. Mr. Whitcomb said that in a lawsuit that 
Jani-King brought against Wal-Mart, charging breach of contract, 
Jani-King had failed to produce the letter and Mr. Drude had said in a 
sworn deposition that he had not communicated with anyone at Wal-Mart.

Greta McCaughrin, a professor of Russian at Washington and Lee 
University in Lexington, Va., said she sent a letter in 1999 to David 
Glass, the company's chief executive at the time, complaining that 
immigrant janitors from Russia were being mistreated at a nearby 

"If Wal-Mart were a good neighbor to our community, it would not turn a 
blind eye to the plight of poor illegal immigrants," she wrote. "Your 
manager cannot be oblivious to the fact that they work in his store for 
seven days a week, 364 days a year."

In an affidavit in the cleaners' lawsuit, Teresa Jaros, a native of 
Poland who cleaned Wal-Marts in Connecticut, Michigan and Georgia, said 
a coworker had asked a Wal-Mart regional vice president last year to 
sponsor him for a green card to end his illegal status.

The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa., reported on Tuesday that the 
United States attorney there, Thomas A. Marino, said in an interview 
that unless new evidence surfaced it was unlikely that any top Wal-Mart 
officials would be charged. Officials at Mr. Marino's office declined 
to comment yesterday.

Mr. Whitcomb said several lower-level Wal-Mart managers had long been 
cooperating with federal prosecutors in Chicago and knew about the 
immigrant cleaners before last October's raid.

Copyright 2004?The New York Times Company

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