June 3, 2010

Activists Call for End to Gender Discrimination During Walmart Shareholder Meeting

Washington, DC – The following statement is from the Wake Up Walmart campaign of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW):

“With the disclosure of a 1995 internal Walmart memo documenting company-wide discriminatory practices nearly six years before the landmark Dukes v. Walmart class-action lawsuit, the women of Walmart are taking another step forward in their march for justice.

“Walmart shareholders must hold Walmart CEO Mike Duke accountable for the company’s failure to follow federal anti-discrimination and workplace laws.  The retail giant could face more than a billion dollars in back wages and other damages to women to settle the class-action suit.  Today’s news is a smoking gun that Walmart leadership was aware of the financial risk facing the company for six years before women took legal action against its policies that systematically paid female workers less than their male counterparts and prevented women from winning promotions.

“The internal memo was first reported on by the New York Times on June 3, 2010.  We call on Walmart to make this document public and give all 1.4 million Walmart associates access to the internal review.

“In statements to investors, Walmart claims that 15% of cash incentive payments for top executives are tied to meeting diversity goals.  Walmart should disclose the diversity goals so that shareholders can hold them accountable toward meeting them.  Shareholders will present a resolution at the company’s annual meeting tomorrow that will allow shareholders to hold executives accountable for issues like gender discrimination.

“Walmart executives must make public their diversity standards.  Until they can prove that they have purged their old sexist culture, Walmart executives should have their bonuses withheld.  As part of a national day of action involving Wake Up Walmart activists from across the country, we are asking Walmart shoppers to sign a letter to Walmart CEO Mike Duke calling for oversight in executive pay as long as allegations of discrimination remain outstanding.