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AFL-CIO

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 14, 2006
2:09 PM

CONTACT:  AFL-CIO
Esmeralda Aguilar 202-637-5018

 
New Report Shows Wal-Mart Abusing Public Health Care Programs in 23 States
 

WASHINGTON - March 14 - Study Available on New AFL-CIO Blog: www.aflcio.org/blog

Retail giant Wal-Mart ranks high or tops the list of companies with employees on the state health care program for uninsured residents in 23 states, according to a new AFL-CIO report. The new report, The Wal-Mart Tax: Shifting Health Care Costs to Taxpayers, quantifies the impact of Wal-Mart’s refusal to provide affordable employee health care insurance on publicly funded state health care programs in 23 states. The report will be available on the AFL-CIO’s news blog (www.aflcio.org/blog), beginning at 6:30 p.m. EST on March 14.

“It’s wrong that large corporations -- like Wal-Mart -- weasel out of their duty to provide health insurance for their employees and shift those health care costs onto others, much like deadbeat dads,” said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. “As the nation's largest and most profitable private employer, Wal-Mart simply cannot justify dodging its health care responsibilities.”

Wal-Mart’s refusal to pay decent wages and provide affordable health care insurance to its workers puts it atop the list in at least 19 of the 23 states surveyed in the new AFL-CIO report. For example, in Arizona and Maine, roughly 10 percent of Wal-Mart’s workers get their health benefits from the state. In Washington State, it’s almost 20 percent. More than 10,261 Georgia children had parents working for Wal-Mart. In New Jersey, Wal-Mart tops the list of employers pushing workers into state-provided health care programs although the retailer is only the state’s eighth-largest employer.

Between 2001 and 2004, the number of uninsured people in the U.S. rose by a staggering 5 million, with nearly the entire increase accounted for by a decline in employer-sponsored health insurance coverage. Today, more than one-quarter of workers in companies with 500 or more workers do not receive employer-based coverage, according to a report by the Commonwealth Fund. As a result workers, taxpayers and other businesses are forced to pick up a staggering $113 billion when profitable companies refuse to shoulder their employees’ health care costs.

The AFL-CIO and its unions, together with progressive state legislators and other allies, are launching and supporting Fair Share Health Care legislation in more than 30 states to stop large, profitable corporations such as Wal-Mart from shifting health care insurance costs onto their local communities.

For a copy of The Wal-Mart Tax: Shifting Health Care Costs to Taxpayers, go to www.aflcio.org/blog after 6:30 p.m. EST on Tuesday, March 14. For advance copies, contact (202) 637-5018.

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