Report Reveals That Mega-Chains Threaten Small Businesses and the State’s Economy

Louisiana House-appointed task force unveils harmful impacts of dollar stores’ low wages, health & safety violations and chronic understaffing of workers

Baton Rouge, LA—A legislative task force recently concluded that the aggressive expansion tactics and high concentration of dollar stores in Louisiana choke out small businesses and put dollar store workers at serious risk due to chronic health and safety violations in stores across the state. Despite the presence of business representatives on the task force including the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and the Louisiana Retailers Association, the group’s forceful denunciation of the harms of dollar stores on workers, consumers and local economies suggests that the chains’ practices are a bridge too far even in Louisiana, a historically pro-business state.

The task force was a result of House Resolution (HR) 210 in Louisiana’s 2023 regular legislative session, sponsored by Representative Alonzo Knox. The resolution created the task force to make recommendations on dollar store safety conditions, employee wages, staffing levels and the economic impact of stores on existing businesses.

The group composed a list of eleven recommendations and presented them to the state House of Representatives earlier this month. Recommendations include policies and ongoing systems to evaluate, monitor and promote safety at dollar stores, changes in zoning laws, requirements for safety personnel in dollar stores, adoption of emergency response protocols, an increase in the state minimum wage to $15 per hour, and expanded collaboration among local, state and federal authorities to address ongoing health and safety violations and crime at dollar stores.

New Orleans Dollar General employee Brittany Claiborne shared with the committee her experience struggling to make ends meet. “The part-time Dollar General employees barely make enough for household bills. What can you pay making $10.50 per hour at 27 hours per week? Basically nothing,” Claiborne said. “I shouldn’t have to choose between paying rent and buying groceries.”

The committee asserts that implementing its recommendations to reform Louisiana stores will “level the playing field between mega-corporations like Dollar General and Dollar Tree and locally-owned small businesses that drive our economy.”

The task force was composed of representatives from government agencies including the Louisiana Workforce Commission and Occupational Safety and Health Administration, business sector representatives including the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and the Louisiana Retailers Association, and local labor groups including the AFL-CIO and Step Up Louisiana. While the group invited representatives from the two major dollar store corporations, Dollar General and Dollar Tree (which owns Family Dollar), no representative from either company attended any meetings. All task force meetings were open to the public.

The Louisiana Legislature must now decide how to respond to the task force’s recommendations.

About Step Up Louisiana

Step Up Louisiana is a community based organization committed to building power to win education and economic justice for all.  Step Up works with Louisianans of all races and ages to “step up” by campaigning, organizing from a racial justice perspective, and holding public officials accountable. The organization partners with parents, workers, students, and community members to disrupt systemic oppression in our schools and workplaces through voter education, advocacy, and action.

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