So far in 2006, Congressman John Kline (MN R) has received $46,100.00 from Target. Add to that sum $12,600 from Target’s CEO, Robert Ulrich and his immediate family members. Then also look at the money Ulrich has given to numerous PACs that support republicans like John Kline.
All in all, Target has been very good to John Kline and the republicans.
Which makes me wonder, Are they as good to all of Minnesota?
Target Corporation has listed on their website ‘targeting the community and being a ‘good’ corporate citizen in Minnesota. They say ‘From national partnerships to local initiatives to our own programs, Target is committed to making our communities better places to live’.
That’s a super nice Minnesota value, but here’s some disturbing facts:
- Target spends more to “publicize” their donations then they actually give to charities. Even their donations come out of their advertising funds according to the filing with the NYSE.
- Target dosn't pay a starting ‘living’ wage. And while giving Targets massive tax breaks, taxpayers often then pick up health insurance and food stamp needs for their employees. A survey by the UFCW found that starting wages are similar to Wal-Marts -- possibly higher overall at Wal-Marts – and that Target benefits packages are often harder to qualify for and less comprehensive.
- By contrast, according to Forbes, Target CEO Robert Ulrich, earn $23.1 million in 2005, making him the second-highest paid CEO in the retail sector. That’s more than 1300 times as much a many Target workers!
- Much of Target’s merchandise, like Wal-Mart, is from foreign countries like India, Vietnam, Cambodia and Mexico, where they pay the very low prevailing wage in sweatshop like factories. And many tasks and functions are outsourced, again, to foreign countries.
- Target allows pharmacists to choose not to fill requests for emergency contraception, also known as Plan B, if it is against their religious beliefs
It shouldn't come as a surprise that Robert Ulrich, the SUPER RICH CEO of a Teflon Target (Star Tribune May 22, 2005), supports and is supported by John Kline. Kline has voted to strip overtime protection from millions of workers. Kline's recent vote to protect the heirs to the wealthiest 1 % of Americans by voting for the current estate tax is one more example that helps the super rich but not most Minnesotans.
Target -- thanks to its hip advertising campaigns and its longtime contributions to a variety of civic and cultural causes -- is seen as a model corporate citizen and benevolent employer. Just as John Kline –thanks to his military service is seen as a strong leader. Both fall in the face of the truth.