Wal-Mart (search) has the lowest prices in town and is loved by those who shop there but seemingly hated by everyone else, particularly grocery unions (search) who think the chain will trample their business.

Wal-Mart plans to open 40 supercenters in California and 240 stores nationwide. Meanwhile, a coalition of unions, anti-sprawl and living-wage activists formed a 527 political action committee and share a blueprint to challenge Wal-Mart's hope to expand in other communities.

"Superstores have been trying to sell us the story they're good for the community. We're here to tell you, we're not buying it," said Ed Reyes, a Los Angeles city councilman.

Tired of being battered, blistered and beaten up in the California media, Wal-Mart — a non-union chain — announced Thursday that it was fighting back. It bought full-page ads in the state's major newspapers to counter critics who claim the stores' low wages and poor health insurance (search) actually costs state taxpayers $86 million a year in medical and welfare (search) payments.

"Our critics say we pay minimum wags with no benefits. That is absolutely not true. We pay competitive wages," said Cynthia Lin of Wal-Mart.

Click on the video box near the top of this story to watch a report by FOX News' William LaJeunesse.