There's a Target up in Harlem and on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. And there's an IKEA in Red Hook. And a K-Mart on Astor Place in the Village. But, somehow, New York City has maintained an immunity to the nation's largest employer, clocking in at 1.2 million employees, Walmart.
Plans were in the work since 2005 to bring a Walmart to East New York against opposition from people who presumably read Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed. The group, Walmart Free NYC, protested the Gateway II project - a development in the neighborhood - arguing that Walmart undervalued their workers and would only have a negative impact on the community.
Well, today, those concerns were met when Walmart announced
it was ditching the plan and getting the hell out away from the Five Boroughs. The mega-retailer was unable to negotiate with the local Big Labor groups; and, notorious for its bad labor PR, this was the nail in the coffin.
Hooray for popular unrest against the corporate giant! You've done well, Brooklyn... for the time being.
In a statement, the company's spokesperson, Steven Restivo, said
"Walmart today announced that we were unable to agree upon economic terms for a project in East New York. We remain committed to bringing new economic development and shopping options to New York City, especially in the neighborhoods that need them most."
However, do not think for a second that the retail giant is giving up the enormous market that is New York City so easily. Restivo also continued that statement with prospects for the future:
For factual background, we have no idea where they got that first idea from. Who knows what the future brings for a Walmart in the Triboro. But, if this Brooklyn decision is any indication, they're going to meet some tough resistance from New Yorkers.
"Two things remain constant: most New Yorkers want us here, and we remain interested in providing more convenient access to Walmart for local residents."