Since the main objection to Wal-Mart seems to be that it makes its fortune on the backs of poorly paid workers, I have a suggestion.
How about a city ordinance requiring all employers of more than, say, 10 hourly employees, to hire 90 percent of those hourly workers as full-time employees with a benefit package approved by the City Council? That way Wal-Mart could choose to alter its hiring practices or stay away from our community.
So if Helen gets her way all the business in Moscow would have to hire most of their part-timers to be full-time which would wipe out the business in many ways.
First for the small businesses like gas stations, fast food places, small stores downtown and in the mall - With a large number of students working part-time around their class schedule, the business owner would either require those people to go full-time or he would have to fire them. Many students would not give up going to college for a full-time daytime job at the Stinker Gas Station. So many, if not all, the students would have to work evenings. With more potential employees than jobs available in the evenings, students would not be able to get the jobs they need to pay for their needs. These businesses could not afford to make everyone a full-time employee which would mean that they would have to jack up prices (pushing people to other purchasing options) or they could close their doors. I cannot think of anything WalMart could do that would hurt a town more than the idea Helen proposes.
Second the larger stores, like Hastings, Macy's, Office Depot, et al - They already have a fair number of full-time workers. But they would have to hired a bunch more to fill out the hours necessary to keep the store open. Once again, this would hurt the student population who need a part-time job with hours that are flexible to fit around their school schedule. Those bigger stores would experience some of the problems the smaller stores do, but they could probably afford to hire more full-time employees assuming there were enough to be hired. But then at what point does corporate look at the numbers from the store and decide that the full-time requirement is too high of a cost and to move their store to a near-by community -- say Pullman?
Hmmm. The more I think about this horrible "living wage" idea, the better I like it, as long as it only happens in Moscow. That really would drive business to Pullman.
I think the members of the Pullman community should work along side PARD and push the Moscow City Council to adopt Helen's idea.