Synopsis by Mark Deming
Wal-Mart has become one of America's most successful retail chains by offering everyday goods at low prices for working families. But just how is Wal-Mart able to charge less than many of their rivals, and what has their success done for their employees? Documentary filmmaker Robert Greenwald takes a look inside the discount retailer's empire in Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, and discovers a company short on scruples and long on shabby treatment of the people who work for them. Through interviews with labor experts and former Wal-Mart employees, Greenwald documents the firm's anti-union tactics, their history of paying wages often below the poverty line, the high price they charge for health benefits (employees are often encouraged to apply for government subsidized health care programs instead), their methods for driving away locally owned businesses, their practice of hiring illegal aliens for cleanup crews at a fraction of minimum wage, the abysmal working conditions and pay in the Third World plants where much of Wal-Mart's goods are manufactured, and more. Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price is one in a series of muckraking documentaries from director Greenwald which includes the films Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism, Uncovered: The War in Iraq, and Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties.
behind-the-scenes, big-business, consumerism, employment, expose [revelation], retail, shopping, union [labor union]