Conference to examine success, criticism of Wal-Mart corporation

Author: Shannon Chapla

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A conference titledThriving in a Wal-Mart Worldwill take place from10 a.m.to5 p.m.Oct. 29 (Saturday) in the Jordan Auditorium of the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame.

Although Wal-Mart, withmore than $250 billionin sales worldwide, is recognized each year as one of Fortune magazinesmost admiredcompanies, it also is the most-frequently sued corporation inAmerica.The conference will use Wal-Mart as a case study to focus on the major issues surrounding the companys successes and criticisms, and will provide a forum to discuss the tension people face in reconciling their roles as consumers, workers, business people and responsible citizens.

Three sessions, which will focus on business, labor and community as they relate to Wal-Mart, are as follows:

p. 10 a.m. * * Susan Soisson of the Mendoza College of Business will present the Wal-Mart business model during the first session, which will highlight the corporations efficiency, innovations and sustainability.

11:15 a.m. * * Steven Ashby, who teaches a course titledWal-Martin the Division of Labor Studies atIndianaUniversity, will offer insight on the companys labor policies and the impact they have on domestic and international labor markets.

2:30 p.m. * * Providing analysis of the impact Wal-Mart has on communities, Kenneth Stone, professor of economics atIowaStateUniversity, will discuss the effects the company has on local labor markets, tax revenues and small businesses.The authorofCompeting with the Retail Giants,Stone also published the first report on Wal-Marts impact on local retail in 1988.

The conference will conclude with a roundtable composed of members of the local business community, politicians, labor union representatives and academicians.Brief presentations by select panelists, including Mayor Steven Luecke ofSouth Bendand Charles Craypo, emeritus professor of economics at Notre Dame, will be followed by discussion.

In conjunction with the conference, the filmStore Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town,will be shown at4:30 p.m.Oct. 24 (Monday) in theHesburghCenterauditorium.The film, which chronicles the debate of neighbors in a smallVirginiatown about the American dream, is part of the Higgins Center Labor Film Series ( /content.cfm?topicId=12982 ). **

Both the conference and film are open to the public.The conference is sponsored by the Universitys Department of Economics and Policy Studies and Student International Business Council.

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