I would like to respond to Mr. Madison's letter to the editor on June 7.
First, as a former employee of Wal-Mart, I think I know a little more about Wal-Mart than Mr. Madison. Let's talk about health insurance. Mr. Madison doesn't believe Wal-Mart when it says that 86 percent of their employees have it. Full-time employees get health insurance after 90 days and part-time employees have to wait two years.
So what is considered full time at Wal-Mart? Wal-Mart considers anyone that works more than 28 hours a week a full-time employee. When I worked at Wal-Mart, most of the employees were full time and most of them had health insurance. So from my own personal knowledge, I will agree with 86 percent of employees having health insurance, and last time I checked, Wal-Mart isn't paying me anything to talk nice about them.
Next, Mr. Madison discusses the wages that Wal-Mart pays. Mr. Madison says that poverty level in Juneau is $25,000 a year. Let's do the math. That means just to make the poverty level in this town a person must have a job that pays at least $12 an hour. By Mr. Madison's standards then, any business that doesn't pay its employees $12 an hour is bad for this town. Good-bye to all the retail jobs in this town. Good-bye to all the restaurant jobs in this town. Good-bye to all the tourist jobs in this town.
As to Mr. Madison's last charge that Wal-Mart would ruin the business environment, I am curious exactly what he means. Wal-Mart will provide jobs, jobs that left this town when Kmart pulled out. Wal-Mart is filling the void that was created when Kmart left. From what I have seen Kmart didn't destroy this town. I seriously doubt that Wal-Mart will either.