January 13, 2006


Maryland Sets a Health Cost for Wal-Mart (MICHAEL BARBARO, 1/13/06, NY Times)

The Maryland legislature passed a law Thursday that would require Wal-Mart Stores to increase spending on employee health insurance, a measure that is expected to be a model for other states.

The legislature's move, which overrode a veto by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, was a response to growing criticism that Wal-Mart, the nation's largest private employer, has skimped on benefits and shifted health costs to state governments.

It's kind of the opposite of liberty.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 13, 2006 9:00 AM

It's opposite everything. Where is it written that state legislatures can dictate employee benefits to the private sector? If they need more money for their nannystate, let them raise taxes. That's within their purview

Posted by: erp at January 13, 2006 9:17 AM

The effect of this in Maryland will likely be that Wal-Mart may simply hire more younger workers and eschew their normal practice of hiring people who have already retired from other jobs.

Posted by: John at January 13, 2006 9:21 AM

This legislation is clearly preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and will not survive a court challenge. The MD legislature has to know this. This is just a political stunt.

Whether or not its a good one is anyone's guess.

Posted by: Jim at January 13, 2006 11:24 AM

Just once, I'd like to see a Corporation pack up and leave after a law like this passes.

The Waltons all have enough money. Do what some of the characters in Atlas Shrugged did.

Wind it all down, sell out the entire chain, and send all the people home.

Posted by: Bruno at January 13, 2006 1:28 PM

I'm assuming you mean just in Md Bruno. I'd agree and would like to see that, but as Jim wrote it's entirely unnecessary.

Posted by: Genecis at January 13, 2006 1:36 PM

Bruno --

Wal-Mart shut down all of their Supercenter meat departments and began contracting out for various packaged varieties of beef, chicken, pork, etc., after meat cutters at the company's Jacksonville, Texas store voted to unionize seven years ago. So the company has taken dramatic steps in the past as a result of outside challenges.

As of now, I doubt they'd go as far as to shut down their stores in Mayrland over the legislature's action. But as I said, the option of no longer hiring retirees to serve as greeters, checkers or in some other non-labor intensive position at their Maryland stores, in order to lower the company's potential health care costs, is a possibility if they can't get the law thrown out in court.

Posted by: John at January 13, 2006 1:56 PM

they also shut down all their store in quebec (i think it was there) after one store unionized. the towns where they had stores took it in the ass and the jobs have not been replaced. morons.

Posted by: toe at January 14, 2006 8:53 PM