Vornado Realty has dropped Wal-Mart from its Rego Park development plans. This happened the night after Newsday published my letter, so clearly I was the straw that broke the camel’s back. In all seriousness, the plan was killed by some very effective, aggressive lobbying by the city’s labor unions, particularly UFCW 1500 and the Central Labor Council. The initial plans for that failed Wal-Mart were announced in December, and the plan was dead by late February. In that short time, organized community opposition in the form of coalitions of small business, civic and religious activists, students and shoppers did not have a chance to develop. They are still sorely needed. Wal-Mart has already announced plans to move into Staten Island and to beef up their presence on Long Island.
The Wal-Mart Free NYC Coalition has launched an excellent website full of resources so that you can recruit your civic and activist organizations into the fight to keep Wal-Mart out of our city. I urge you to visit the website and and join the coalition. Also, be sure to join SEIU’s Purple Ocean membership organization, dedicated to fighting Wal-Mart on the national level.