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November 9, 2005

WakeUpWalMart.com Releases New 30-second Ad

First Commercial to Highlight Wal-Mart’s Growing Moral Corruption
and use Tom Delay’s “Smiley Face” Booking Photo
and Scooter Libby Indictment in Ad Campaign

Washington, D.C. – WakeUpWalMart.com, America’s campaign to change Wal-Mart, launched a new 30-second advertisement that asks and answers the question “Who is the most corrupt in America?”

The dramatic spot highlights the growing number of morally corrupt scandals in America, including Rep. Tom Delay’s arrest, Scooter Libby’s indictment, and Sen. Bill Frist’s investigation and concludes none of these are as bad as Wal-Mart and CEO Lee Scott’s morally corrupt policies.

“American values and morality are being perverted by our nation’s corporate and political leaders.  The definition of corrupt is to become morally debased.  Is there anything more morally debased than a $290 billion giant like Wal-Mart having over 600,000 of its workers without company health care or being sued by more than 1.5 million women for discrimination?” said Paul Blank, campaign director WakeUpWalMart.com.

The 30-second commercial presents the specific reasons why Wal-Mart is the most morally corrupt.   The ad highlights Wal-Mart’s failure to provide affordable health care to all of its workers, its record of repeated child labor violations, and the largest gender discrimination lawsuit in history affecting over 1.5 million female employees.

The ad will also be the first in the nation to use Tom Delay’s “Smiley Face” booking photo and Scooter Libby in a national media campaign.

“To be frank, it was tough to decide who is the most morally corrupt between Tom Delay, Bill Frist, Scooter Libby, or Lee Scott?   But, Wal-Mart is the most morally corrupt because they choose to put their own greed before their own people everyday.”

The first phase of the “Who Is the Most Corrupt?” media campaign launches on over 22 websites with a collective reach of over 17 million page views daily.   The ad campaign is a prelude to next week’s grassroots actions all across the country led by WakeUpWalMart.com and its coalition partners.  As part of Wal-Mart Week, WakeUpWalMart.com and its 115,000 supporters will host movie screenings of Robert Greenwald’s movie “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price,” and will be taking part in an array of actions to raise public awareness about the negative effects Wal-Mart is having on its workers, their families, and the nation.

TV ad script – Most Corrupt

Corrupt.  To become morally debased.
So, who is the most corrupt in America?
Is it Congressman Tom Delay?
Senator Bill Frist?
Former Bush official Scooter Libby?
Or, Wal-Mart’s CEO, Lee Scott?
Over 600,000 Wal-Mart workers have no company health care
Wal-Mart repeatedly violated child labor laws.
And, over 1.5 million women are suing Wal-Mart for discrimination.
So, who is the most corrupt?
Lee Scott and Wal-Mart

To view this ad, click here:


November 9, 2005

Declaraciones de Joe Hansen, Presidente Internacional de la UFCW

WASHINGTON, DC – Los trabajadores de empacadoras de carne, de procesadoras avícolas y de otros alimentos, cuentan finalmente con el respaldo y protección de la corte más alta del país.  Hoy, la Corte Suprema de Justicia de Estados Unidos afirmó una postura mantenida por mucho tiempo por trabajadores y por la Union de Trabajadores de Alimentos y Entidades Comerciales (UFCW) – que indica que las empresas deben pagar a sus trabajadores por el tiempo utilizado para cumplir con requisitos de seguridad laboral, como el uso de equipos de protección personal.  Desde hace décadas que la UFCW aboca para que se le pague al trabajador por la totalidad de tiempo en el trabajo.

Hace ya demasiado tiempo que las empresas se aprovechan de sus trabajadores, y que rehúsan pagar una remuneración justa, que incluye el tiempo utilizado para recoger equipos de seguridad y protección personal de uso obligatorio en el trabajo como guantes de correo en cadena, red/malla para el pelo, delantal y botas pesadas.

Empresas gigantes de la industria de la carne como Tyson Foods, que es dueña de IBP, han insistido por mucho tiempo que el horario de trabajo remunerado excluye el tiempo que generalmente le toma a un trabajador  para recoger y ponerse equipos de seguridad obligatorios, así como para llegar al lugar especifico de la planta donde éste trabaja.  Este proceso puede tomar hasta 30 a 40 minutos cada día.

Hoy, la Corte Suprema de Justicia determinó por unanimidad que los trabajadores merecen ser pagados por ese tiempo.  El hecho que haya sido la Corte Suprema quien tuvo que decidir este tema refleja una vez más la cultura a la avaricia y a la arrogancia que afecta a las empresas de este país.  Como no bastó con estafar a sus empleados por años, las empacadoras de carne tuvieron que llegar hasta la corte más alta para luchar por el derecho a seguir estafando a sus trabajadores.

Finalmente ha llegado la hora para que cientos de miles de trabajadores reciban un pago justo al presentarse para trabajar en la industria de alimentos de Estados Unidos.  La decisión de la corte de hoy es una gran victoria para los trabajadores.

Para mayor información, contacte a Jill Cashen, 202-728-4797 o press@ufcw.org.

November 7, 2005

Strike Ends at Lakeside Packers as Workers Win First Collective Agreement

BROOKS, AB (UFCW Canada) – Lakeside Packers employees have voted to ratify a first collective agreement ending their strike against the Brooks, Alberta slaughterhouse and processing facility that began on October 12.Lakeside Packers is owned by Arkansas-based Tyson Foods.

The contract was approved by a majority of the workers in a ratification vote held in Brooks, ending a bitter three-week-old strike by members of UFCW Canada Local 401 that had successfully crippled production at the plant.

The contract includes a number of significant gains including wage increases, improvements to short-term disability benefits, union security and grievance procedures, and a requirement that all new hires become members of the union.

Lakeside Packers employs about 2,300 workers and processes about 4,000 head of cattle a day. The new collective agreement had been recommended to the membership by the Lakeside Employees Bargaining Committee and lasts until 2009.

November 4, 2005



Washington, DC – Today, WakeUpWalMart.com, America’s campaign to change Wal-Mart, officially launched the Wal-Mart Workers of America (WWOA) – the first national association for Wal-Mart workers.  WWOA is a new and exciting step to help empower Wal-Mart Workers to join together in order to improve their working conditions, their lives and change Wal-Mart into a more responsible and moral corporation. WWOA is launching a new website, www.WalMartWorkersofAmerica.com, which will offer a national clearing house of information and services for former and current Wal-Mart workers.

As part of the initial launch of the association, the WWOA will also offer 50 uninsured Wal-Mart workers the opportunity to qualify for $200 in health care money.  The health care assistance offered by the WWOA is the product of over $10,000 raised by more than 100 grassroots Halloween fundraisers held by WakeUpWalMart.com supporters last week in 84 cities and 22 states.

“Everyday 1.3 million workers help make Wal-Mart one of America’s most profitable companies, and yet, everyday it seems Wal-Mart finds new ways to exploit these hard-working Americans.  WWOA will be a powerful tool to help Wal-Mart’s workers join together to improve their lives and make Wal-Mart change for the better,” said Paul Blank, Campaign Director for WakeUpWalMart.com.

The WWOA is being founded in response to Wal-Mart’s secret memo and the company’s troubling record of exploiting its workers. Wal-Mart’s secret memo, written by Wal-Mart Executive Vice President Susan Chambers, outlines a series of shocking recommendations, including: plans to cut costs further by reducing hours; shifting from full-time to part-time workers; pushing out senior workers; and, even cutting health care costs by dissuading unhealthy or obese people from applying. In addition, Wal-Mart has a long and well-documented record of exploiting its workers, including forcing them to work off-the-clock, discriminating against female employees and breaking child labor laws.  Both the Wal-Mart Memo and its unwillingness to substantively change how it treats its workers has led to the creation of the Wal-Mart Workers of America.

The WWOA will officially launch its first membership drive today and plans to reach out to 100,000 Wal-Mart workers within the first phase of its membership drive.  Workers will be contacted through grassroots actions and through a community-based radio and print advertising campaign.

“For the first time, all Wal-Mart workers will now have the ability to join an association, to join together, to empower each other, and to build a movement for Wal-Mart to change. Working together, Wal-Mart workers can be a new and powerful force for change. Let there be no doubt, the WWOA will finally create a ‘real open door’ for change – a door Wal-Mart will never be able to close,” said Blank

Membership to WWOA is free to all former and current Wal-Mart workers who wish to join. The WWOA will provide an array of services to members including: how to qualify for health care money; a free 1-800# help hotline to provide advice and consultation about work place issues; information about class-action lawsuits affecting Wal-Mart workers; a confidential way to be a whistleblower; information and facts about their labor rights under state and federal law; how to defend themselves under America’s labor laws; a central clearing house for recent news and stories about Wal-Mart; recent actions in the grassroots campaign to change Wal-Mart; email updates on Wal-Mart and the WWOA; and quarterly newsletters.

October 31, 2005

WakeUpWalMart.com Launches Nation’s First Campaign about the Movie & Secret Memo Walmart Does Not Want You to See


Washington, DC – Today, WakeUpWalMart.com launched the nation’s first advertising and multi-media campaign about “the movie and the memo Wal-Mart does not what you to see.” As part of this national media effort, the group will run a full-page ad in Monday’s edition of USA Today, internet ads on 19 sites with over 17 million readers, and a 30-second TV Ad, entitled “High Cost.”

“America will be shocked when they learn the truth about Wal-Mart as seen in the new film – Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price. Our new multimedia campaign is just the beginning of our national movement to expose the truth about the high cost of shopping at Wal-Mart,” said Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com.

WakeUpWalMart.com’s nationwide media campaign is the first national TV, print, and online media campaign launched in the fight to change Wal-Mart.  The media campaign, beginning Monday, Oct. 31st, will highlight ‘Wal-Mart’s Secret Memo’ that is shocking the nation and the Robert Greenwald documentary: “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price.”   The 30-second television commercial was produced by Joe Trippi – Democratic strategist and former presidential campaign manager for Howard Dean.

The full-page USA TODAY ad encourages all Americans to visit WakeUpWalMart.com to see the commercial for the Wal-Mart movie and to get their copy of ‘Wal-Mart’s Secret Memo.’

The launch of the national media campaign follows a successful weekend of activities in 84 cities and 22 states highlighting Wal-Mart’s health care crisis and distributing out the internal memo shocking the nation.  Following the release of WakeUpWalMart.com’s ‘Six Demands for Change’ to Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott, the organization has surpassed 112,000 supporters in all 50 states — making WakeUpWalMart.com the nation’s largest effort to change a corporation in history.

October 28, 2005


Washington, D.C. – WakeUpWalMart.com, America’s leading campaign to change Wal-Mart, will hold an unprecedented series of public actions around Wal-Mart locations all across America as part of the “”Nothing’s Scarier than Not Having Health Care”” campaign. From October 28th-31st, supporters of WakeUpWalMart.com will hold the nation’s first Halloween fundraising drive to help uninsured Wal-Mart workers and will distribute flyers about the shocking “”Secret Wal-Mart memo”” that was revealed by the New York Times. The public actions led by local supporters of WakeUpWalMart.com will be occurring in 84 cities and 26 states.

“”It is a national tragedy that Wal-Mart, a company with $10 billion dollars in profits, has such poor health care benefits that 1 out of every 2 children of Wal-Mart workers either has no health insurance or relies on a public program. In fact, as Wal-Mart’s internal memo proves, this company is determined to cut its health care costs by shifting more workers to part-time, making it more expensive for spouses and even not hiring unhealthy or obese workers. Our hope is that through the generous donations of the American people, we can help at least a few Wal-Mart workers have the health care they deserve and need,”” said Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com, America’s campaign to change Wal-Mart.

Supporters of WakeUpWalMart.com will also be distributing the highlights of Wal-Mart’s shocking secret memo authored by Executive Vice President Susan Chambers. The memo outlines the company’s frightening plans to use more part-time workers instead of full-time workers, to push spouses of workers off Wal-Mart’s health care plan through higher premiums, and to try to dissuade “”unhealthy”” people from seeking jobs at Wal-Mart. The memo states that executives enthusiastically embraced these recommendations.

“”Wal-Mart’ Secret Memo proves that Wal-Mart views its workers as if they were cattle – to be weighed, aged, and disregarded if they don’t meet its vision of “”healthy”” or cost the company too much. Wal-Mart’s proposed plan would rob workers of their human dignity and sets a dangerous precedent for all of corporate America,”” added Blank.

At today’s actions, supporters of WakeUpWalMart.com, many in costumes, will receive donations in support of Wal-Mart workers who do not have health care. Similar Halloween candy fundraising drives are being held in 84 cities. As part of the effort to highlight how serious the “”Wal-Mart health care crisis”” is, WakeUpWalMart.com supporters also distributed tens of thousands of flyers to the public and Wal-Mart customers highlighting the “”scary facts”” about Wal-Mart’s poor health care record.

The Halloween fundraising drive is the latest grassroots effort by WakeUpWalMart.com to change Wal-Mart into a responsible corporation. Following the release of WakeUpWalMart.com’s ‘Six Demands for Change’ the organization surpassed 112,000 supporters in all 50 states – making WakeUpWalMart.com the nation’s largest grassroots effort to change a corporation in history.

In the coming weeks, WakeUpWalMart.com, and other organizations, will help organize “”Wal-Mart Week”” – an unprecedented national week of action from November 13th-19th, beginning with the national release of the movie by Robert Greenwald, “”Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price.”” During this week, WakeUpWalMart.com and a broad coalition of partners from all across America will be raising public awareness about the growing negative effects Wal-Mart has on their workers, the community, and the nation.

October 28, 2005

Statement of Joseph T. Hansen, UFCW International President

(Washington, DC) The UFCW will lower the American flag to half staff at its International headquarters building in Washington, DC to memorialize the passing, and to commemorate the heroic contribution to the struggle for civil rights of Rosa Parks.

In an act of individual courage, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man, and move to the back of the bus. Her arrest sparked the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott and led to the end of segregation in public transportation. Her action inspired a movement and brought a new generation of leaders and activists, including Martin Luther King Jr., to the forefront of the fight for civil rights.

All of us are deeply saddened by Ms. Parks passing and all of us are indebted to her for her strength and determination. She truly made our country better. Seeing the flag flying at half staff in her memory should remind all of us that one person with courage and a commitment to justice can change the world.

October 26, 2005

WalMart Memo: Unhealthy People Need Not Apply and 46% of WalMart Employees’ Children Without Health Care or on Medicaid

“”An internal Wal-Mart memo, released by the New York Times this morning, exposes what a farce the last two days have been.   Wal-Mart’s CEO had the gall to come out this week and try to spin Wal-Mart as a company changing.  Wal-Mart is not a company trying to change.  Today’s memo proves Wal-Mart’s announcements are nothing more than a publicity stunt by exposing the truth behind Wal-Mart’s culture of greed and moral corruption.

The memo, authored by Susan Chambers, Executive Vice President for Benefits, robs Wal-Mart workers of their human dignity and instead treats them like products in their stores.   It is simply appalling that Wal-Mart’s senior management would actually write a memo suggesting not to hire certain workers because they may be unhealthy or obese.

Most startlingly, Wal-Mart, for the first time, admitted there is a Wal-Mart health care crisis in America.  The memo specifically states, ‘Wal-Mart has a significant percentage of associates and their children on public assistance.’  In fact, Wal-Mart revealed 46% of the children of Wal-Mart employees are either uninsured or on taxpayer funded public health care programs.  No wonder Wal-Mart so vehemently opposes legislators’ efforts to expose the truth about the true cost of the Wal-Mart economy.  It is inexcusable and unconscionable for a company, with $10 billion in profits, to know 1 out of every 2 of their employees’ children has no health care or is forced to rely on our public safety net and do nothing about it.

The key question becomes: What else does Wal-Mart know and when will they reveal it?   Wal-Mart’s great American deception of the past two days will not stand and Lee Scott ought to be ashamed of himself for perpetuating such a fraudulent image to the American people.””

October 25, 2005

Statement by Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com on Lee Scott’s Speech this Morning.

Today, Wal-Mart stole a move directly out of Karl Rove’s playbook. Unfortunately, we have seen this kind of deception before. Just like Karl Rove, Wal-Mart pursues morally corrupt policies that hurt America.

Today’s announcements by Wal-Mart are nothing more than a desperate publicity stunt to try and save a company being hurt by a faltering public image. Rather than address the fundamental reasons Wal-Mart is hurting America, Wal-Mart has decided to launch a series of cleverly named initiatives to try and deceive the American public.

Here is the truth about the Wal-Mart fraud on the key issues of poverty-level wages and poor health insurance.

Poverty-level wages. Wal-Mart says it wants to help wages, but Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott admits in the New York Times that Wal-Mart will do nothing to address its poverty level wages. Scott said, “”Even slight overall adjustments to wages eliminate our thin profit margin.””

Poor health care. Wal-Mart says it is offering cheaper health care, but Wal-Mart admitted today that there would be no significant cost increase because of this proposal. The truth is Wal-Mart’s health care announcements are just a repackaging of the same poor health care plan that has led to more than 600,000 of its workers not covered under the company health care plan.

Once again, Wal-Mart has passed up an opportunity to do the right thing and change. Rather than meet with us and form a new partnership to help Wal-Mart become a better business, Wal-Mart has chosen a publicity stunt designed to perpetuate a fraudulent image on America.

October 24, 2005


(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Wal-Mart’s CEO Lee Scott is announcing Wal-Mart’s “”new”” health care plans for 2006.  Wal-Mart falsely claims its plans will increase the number of employees who can afford health insurance. In fact, Wal-Mart’s so-called “”new”” Value Plan is simply a repackaging of the poor health care plans Wal-Mart already offers, which already leave over half of its employees without company provided health care.

“”Wal-Mart’s new health care plan is another empty promise wrapped in a publicity stunt that will do nothing to increase health care coverage for over 600,000 Wal-Mart employees who go without company provided health care,”” said Paul Blank, campaign director of WakeUpWalMart.com.

“”Wal-Mart fails to address the key reasons more than half of its employees aren’t covered under their health care plan – ridiculously high deductible costs and overly strict eligibility requirements.  Wal-Mart latest publicity stunt will do nothing to help their employees and is more reflective of a morally bankrupt company trying to deceive the American public than live up to its responsibilities as America’s largest corporation,”” added Blank.

Here are the facts.

Last year, Wal-Mart had two major health care plan options: 1) the Standard plan and 2) the Network plan.   Each of those plans has 4 options within them: 1) a $350 deductible; 2) a $500 deductible; 3) a $750 deductible; and, 4) a $1,000 deductible.

This year, Wal-Mart is introducing two additional options: 1) a so-called Value plan and 2) Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s).   Since the HSA’s are only available to employees who have already been enrolled in a Wal-Mart health care plan for one year, the HSA’s are not designed to, nor will the HSA’s, increase health care coverage for anyone.

Therefore, the only plan that has the potential to increase the abysmal fact that Wal-Mart only provides health insurance coverage to 48% of its employees is the Value plan.   The Value plan, however, comes with a $1,000 deductible.  In addition, the Value plan has additional deductibles for in-hospital care, prescription drugs and surgical care.  All told, the Value plan’s deductibles plus premiums could be as much as 25% of an employee’s take-home pay for individual coverage and up to 40% for family coverage.

Even more disturbing is the fact that the Value plan is almost identical, if not worse, than the $1,000 deductible versions of the existing Standard and Network plans already offered to Wal-Mart employees.

The following is a comparison of the rates between Wal-Mart’s proposed plan for 2006 and last year’s plans.

Jan. 2005          Jan 2006

Network Plan $1000 deductible            $17.50              $18

Standard Plan $1000 deductible           $21.00              $21.50

Value Plan $1000 deductible                Not Available     $25 (on average)

$10.50 (limited areas)

Wal-Mart’s business model has already paved the way for other corporations to try and reduce their health benefits to employees.   Currently, the average company with 200 or more employees has 67% of its workers covered under the company health care plan, Wal-Mart is well below that average with only 48% of its employees covered under the company health care plan.

“”Wal-Mart’s so-called Value health care plan offers nothing but an empty promise of higher deductibles that remain unaffordable and out-of-reach to most Wal-Mart workers.   With Wal-Mart’s poverty-level wages, the average worker would have to spend up to 40% of their take-home pay to purchase the family option of this so-called Value plan.  No wonder Wal-Mart admits the taxpayer-funded public safety net is often a ‘better value’ than their own inadequate health care plan.””