As the largest private employer in the world, Walmart dominates media and academic debate about the global expansion of transnational retail corporations and the working conditions in retail operations and across the supply chain. Yet far from being a monolithic force conquering the world, Walmart must confront and adapt to diverse policies and practices pertaining to regulation, economy, history, union organization, preexisting labor cultures, and civil society in every country into which it enters. This transnational aspect of the Walmart story, including the diversity and flexibility of its strategies and practices outside the United States, is mostly unreported. Walmart in the Global South presents empirical case studies of Walmart’s labor practices and supply chain operations in a number of countries, including Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Nicaragua, Mexico, South Africa, and Thailand. It assesses the similarities and differences in Walmart’s acceptance into varying national contexts, which reveals when and how state regulation and politics have served to redirect company practice and to what effect. Regulatory context, state politics, trade unions, local cultures, and global labor solidarity emerge as vectors with very different force around the world. The volume’s contributors show how and why foreign workers have successfully, though not uniformly, driven changes in Walmart’s corporate culture. This makes Walmart in the Global South a practical guide for organizations that promote social justice and engage in worker struggles, including unions, worker centers, and other nonprofit entities.
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