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December 14, 2005

NATIONAL FAITH-BASED CAMPAIGN TO CHANGE WAL-MART GAINS MOMENTUM

Washington, D.C. – The national momentum for WakeUpWalMart.com’s faith-based campaign grew again today with 13 Baptist Leaders of Faith launching a new initiative to pressure Wal-Mart to change into a more responsible and moral company. The letter released today once again called on CEO Lee Scott to change Wal-Mart into a moral company. The letter from the Baptist leaders states, “”as Christians, at the time of year when we celebrate the life, the birth and the teachings of Jesus, we call on Wal-Mart to change.”” The letter released today is the latest sign momentum is growing in the faith-based community to change Wal-Mart.

“”Once again the moral call for Wal-Mart to change grows louder. We can only hope Wal-Mart will hear our message of change, will change its immoral business practices, and will become a force for good this holiday season,”” stated Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com.

Today’s letter signed by Baptist leaders from Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Colorado, and Oklahoma, follows last Thursday’s launch of the “”Light a Candle for Change”” campaign. As part of this nation-wide campaign, faith-based leaders joined together to release an interfaith letter calling on Lee Scott to change, candlelight vigils were held in 27 cities in 20 states, and the “”Should People of Faith Shop At Wal-Mart?”” ad was released nationwide.

Since last Thursday, 13 additional leaders of faith from all across America have signed the interfaith letter sent to Lee Scott. In total, 93 leaders of faith, representing well over 1.3 million Americans, have joined together in this growing faith-based initiative to change Wal-Mart into a moral employer. In the letter released last week, the leaders of faith stated “”in the shared spirit of the holiday season, we call on Wal-Mart to change, to become better, and to embrace the best of American values.””

“”Lee Scott and Wal-Mart face a unique moment in their company’s history. Wal-Mart can embrace these moral calls for change from some of America’s most respected leaders of faith or they can continue down the dark path leading to the decline in its public image. We can only hope Wal-Mart will choose to do what is right this holiday season,”” added Paul Blank.

The overall goal of today’s letter and the “”Light A Candle for Change”” campaign is to change Wal-Mart into a responsible corporation that reflects the best moral values of our country. As part of the faith-based grassroots initiative, WakeUpWalMart.com also launched a coordinated online and TV multimedia campaign. The 30-second TV ad, titled “”People”” is the first TV advertisement to highlight Wal-Mart’s moral failures and raise the powerful question – “”Should People of Faith Shop at Wal-Mart?”” this holiday season.

The “”Light A Candle For Change”” campaign is the latest initiative by WakeUpWalMart.com, America’s leading grassroots movement to change Wal-Mart. WakeUpWalMart.com is America’s largest campaign to change Wal-Mart with over 150,500 supporters.

December 14, 2005

Wakeupwalmart.com’s Response to Lee Scott’s Statement:

Rather than address the genuine moral concerns raised by 65 leaders of faith, Lee Scott chose to ignore their concerns, insult them, question their sincerity, and cite manufacturing job losses his company has helped to create. This holiday season, Lee Scott should look into the mirror and consider the millions of American businesses and manufacturing jobs he and his company’s business model have personally helped destroy, and hear the moral calls for change from leaders of faith. We can only hope that someday soon Lee Scott will finally – finally – do what is right for his workers, their families and America.

Lee Scott’s response to a letter by 65 religious leaders asking Wal-Mart to change:

These religious leaders have unfortunately been misled. We know they clearly seek the truth and are in search of the real facts. We share their compassion for people just like we continue to provide jobs to those who want a better life, including adding 100,000 new jobs at Wal-Mart this year. We support charitable causes that make life better in our communities to the sum of about $200 million in charitable giving this year, and we save the average American family $2,300 per household.

In terms of health care, we’re making positive change with new health care programs where we have signed up more than 70,000 associates and 30,000 of their family members to these new plans. Wal-Mart’s health plans will cover more than 1 million people in 2006. We also provide career opportunities to people who want to reach higher goals — three-quarters of our managers started in hourly jobs.

We will not be deterred from our mission, despite the noise from union leadership or critics whose motives are less than pure.

Lee Scott’s response to TV ad:

Surely many Americans are deeply offended that union leadership would use religion as just another tactic in the negative attack campaign against a company that donates more money to good works than any other company in America. And with all the news reports of manufacturers laying off tens of thousands of skilled union workers this Holiday Season, we’d hope the union leadership would show more compassion for its members rather than spending its member dues attacking a company that creates 100,000 jobs a year.

December 14, 2005

LEADERS OF FAITH CALL ON WAL-MART AND CEO LEE SCOTT TO “”CHANGE FOR THE BETTER”” THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

Washington, D.C. – Leaders of faith representing over 1.3 million Americans have joined WakeUpWalMart.com in a nationwide initiative to call on Wal-Mart and CEO Lee Scott to “”change for the better”” this Holiday season. As part of this faith-based effort, 65 respected faith-based leaders signed a joint letter to Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart, which states “”in the shared spirit of the holiday season, we call on Wal-Mart to change, to become better, and to embrace the best of American values.”” The letter to Lee Scott is part of a new faith-based grassroots and multimedia campaign, named “”Light a Candle for Change,”” launched by WakeUpWalMart.com.

“”This Holiday season, Wal-Mart, America’s largest employer, has the power to change, to become better, to reflect the best of our values. It is our sincere hope Wal-Mart will choose the higher road and become a moral example that all people of faith can embrace proudly,”” said Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com.

The goal of the “”Light A Candle for Change”” campaign is to change Wal-Mart into a responsible corporation that reflects the best moral values of our country. The letter to Lee Scott goes on to state “”there is no better present Wal-Mart could give to its workers, their families, and America than to change for the better this holiday season.”” As part of this new campaign, the families and children of supporters of WakeUpWalMart.com will also be holding local candlelight vigils at Wal-Marts in at least 27 cities in 19 different states, including Oregon, Kentucky, Texas, Arkansas, Ohio, and Illinois.

“”Out of our religious heritage comes the recognition that we are not allowed to deprive people of their God-given right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In this respect the Wal-Mart form of business represents plantation capitalism; the few become very wealthy and the many become poorer,”” stated Reverend James Lawson of Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles, CA.

The faith-based grassroots initiative by WakeUpWalMart.com will also include a coordinated online and TV multimedia campaign. The TV ad, titled “”People,”” is the first TV advertisement to highlight Wal-Mart’s moral failures and raise the powerful question – “”Should People of Faith Shop at Wal-Mart?”” this holiday season. The 30-second TV spot will be running in 6 states, including Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, and Georgia. The ad can also be viewed at WakeUpWalMart.com.

A copy of the letter and the script for TV spot are attached.

The “”Light A Candle For Change”” campaign is the latest initiative by WakeUpWalMart.com, America’s leading grassroots movement to change Wal-Mart. WakeUpWalMart.com has over 148,000 members and supporters in all 50 states.

 

** Script of “”People”” **

Our faith teaches us

“”Do unto others as you would have them do unto you””

If these are our values, then ask yourself

Should people of faith shop at Wal-Mart this Holiday season?

When Wal-Mart repeatedly broke child labor laws.

Is being sued by 1.5 million women for discrimination.

And, over 600,000 Wal-Mart workers and their families have no company health care.

If these are Wal-Mart’s values

Should people of faith shop at Wal-Mart?

Should you?

 

** Letter to Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott **

Lee Scott

CEO, Wal-Mart

Bentonville, AR

 

Dear Mr. Scott,

The holiday season is a time to honor and remember the virtues of hope, love, joy, sharing, sacrifice, and faith. For people of all faiths, the celebration of the holiday season is a time to remember and embrace the best of our values. It is a time to reflect upon our lives, the impact we have on others, and the responsibility we all have to improve the lives of those less fortunate than us.

The prophet Moses in Deuteronomy 25:13-15 teaches “”Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy … lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee.”” During this holy season, we must ask ourselves – at what moral price do we accept the sins of exploitation and greed? Sins, it is sad to say, which are exemplified by one of America’s largest and richest corporations, Wal-Mart.

Everyday, Wal-Mart’s so-called low prices come at a high cost to the moral virtues and greatness of your workers, our families, and our nation. Everyday, America pays too high a cost for Wal-Mart’s immoral business practices.

As all faiths teach us, the current exploitation of those who work to provide us with goods and services, whether at Wal-Mart or its suppliers, can never be morally justified. Under all conditions, it is simply immoral and wrong. It goes against the teachings of our spiritual leaders and our commitment to justice, fairness, and community.

If there is one shared hope all faiths have in common, it is the central belief that we must work together to improve the lives of others. This central tenet, ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you,’ is the bedrock of our values, our faith, our families and our communities.

Unfortunately, Wal-Mart needlessly ignores the Golden Rule putting our children and their workers needlessly at-risk.

Despite $10 billion in profit last year, more than 600,000 Wal-Mart workers and their families struggle with no company-provided health care. Even more troubling, nearly 1 out of every 2 children of Wal-Mart workers lives without health care or relies on a public program. Wal-Mart has repeatedly broken child labor laws. Wal-Mart is being sued by 1.5 million female employees for discrimination. And, Wal-Mart continues to pay poverty-level wages, forcing many of its workers to make the impossible choice between rent and health care.

It is hard to imagine why Wal-Mart would consciously choose to make 1.3 million workers suffer in the name of “”low prices,”” a suffering we can no longer let stand.

For those of us who are Christians, we celebrate the life, the birth and the teachings of Jesus, and we call on Wal-Mart to change. As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, we ask ourselves:

Would Jesus support the exploitation of so many for the profit of so few?

Would Jesus tolerate systematic discrimination against women?

Would Jesus stand by idly while thousands of children go without health care?

Would Jesus accept violations of child labor laws?

The answer is simple. Jesus would not embrace Wal-Mart’s values of greed and profits at any cost, particularly when children suffer as a result of those misguided values.

Those of us who are Jewish, Muslim or Buddhist also have scriptures that remind us that God is just and God’s servants must practice justice in all of our words and deeds. As we prepare to celebrate our own holiday traditions, we also ask ourselves, is it right to shop at Wal-Mart? Would our God want us to support Wal-Mart’s values and actions with our dollars?

We know Wal-Mart has the power to improve the lives of millions of workers, their families, and our communities. Wal-Mart can become, if you and the Walton Family so choose, a leading example of moral greatness in corporate America. You have the power to change and set an example that would truly honor and reflect the call of all faith traditions to righteousness and justice.

So beginning today, in the shared spirit of the holiday season, we call on Wal-Mart to change, to become better, and to embrace the best of American values. It is within your power to become a truly responsible, ethical, and righteous company.

In the end, there is no better present Wal-Mart could give to its workers, their families, and America than to change for the better this holiday season.

 

Sincerely,

Reverend John H. Thomas, President, United Church of Christ

Reverend James Lawson, Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles, CA

Kim Bobo, Executive Director, Interfaith Worker Justice

Bishop Gabino Zavala, Regional Bishop in the San Gabriel Pastoral Region (Archdiocese of Los Angeles, CA)

Reverend Doctor William Jarvis Johnson, Calvary CME Church of Pasadena, CA

Reverend Alexia Salvatierra, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE)

Father Michael Pfleger, Faith Community of St. Sabina Parish, Chicago, Illinois.

Reverend Bennie E. Whiten, Jr., United Church of Christ

Retired Bishop Jesse DeWitt of the United Methodist Church

Reverend Mark Wendorf, McCormick Theological Seminary and Board Member of Interfaith Worker Justice

Professor William P. Quigley, Loyola University New Orleans School of Law and Board member of Interfaith Worker Justice

Dr. Edie Rasell of the Justice and Witness Ministries, United Church of Christ.

Reverend Ron Stief, Director of Washington, D.C. office, United Church of Christ

Pastor Sylvia Tucker, Union Baptist Church of Hopewell, VA

Mr. Ralph Ramirez, President of Richmond, VA Southern Council Leadership Conference Chapter

Reverend Rebekah Jordan, Mid-South Interfaith Network for Economic Justice

Reverend Sinclair Oubre, J.C.L. of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church of Port Arthur, TX

Reverend Doctor John J. O’Brien, C.P.

Reverend Bridgeforth, Shiloh Baptist Church, VA

Reverend King, Southern Council Leadership Conference of Danville, VA

Reverend Rufus Fuller II Pastor of New Hope Baptist Church, VA

Reverend William Avon Keen of Traynham Grove Church,VA

Reverend John Snider, Saint Stephen’s Lutheran Church, West St. Paul, MN

Reverend Bill Bulson, Holy Apostles, MN

Reverend Timothy M Johnson, Cherokee Park United Church of St. Paul, MN

Reverend Johnathan C. Tetherly, Chaplain of Hampden County House of Corrections, MA

Father Thomas Mueller, S.S. Cyril & Methodist Orthodox Church, WI

Father Jerry Schroeder, St. Benedict the Moor Parish of Milwaukee, WI

Reverend Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld, Good Sheperd Lutheran Church in Waukesha, WI

Reverend Kelly Fowler, First United Methodist Church of Waukesha, WI

Reverend Doctor Ronald Faust, Kansas City Interfaith Worker Justice, MO

Reverend Tom Blakley, Barry Christian Church, MO

Reverend Spencer Barrett, Co-chair, Kansas City Interfaith Worker Justice, MO

Pastor Robin Hood Senior Pastor, Redeemed Outreach Ministries, IL

Reverend Fr. Alfredo Gundrum , Pastor of St. Kevin, Chicago, IL

Reverend Jose Landaverde, Amor de Dios, United Methodist Church, IL

Reverend William F. Marx, Pax Christi of Western New York

Reverend Dan Schifeling, Church of Nativity, United Church of Christ

Sister Jean Sliwikski, Western New York Workers’ Rights Board

Reverend Suzelle Lynch, Unitarian Universalist Church, Brookfield WI

Reverend Doctor. Roland Womack, Board Member, African-American Ministers Leadership Council, and Pastor, Progressive Baptist Church, Milwaukee, WI

Pastor Susan Burchfield, Immanuel Lutheran Church of Seattle, WA

Reverend Richard Vogel, Executive Pastor, St. James United Methodist Church, Kansas City, MO

Reverend Emanuel Cleaver II, St. James United Methodist Church of Kansas City, MO

Reverend Norman D. Copeland, AME Church, Los Angeles, CA

Reverend Calvin S. Morris, Ph.D. Executive Director Community Renewal Society of Chicago, IL

Reverend Jennifer Kottler, Protestants for the Common Good of Chicago, IL

Reverend Jon M. Luopa, Univeralist Unitarian Church of Seattle WA

Sisters of St Joseph of Springfield, MA Justice and Peace Committee

Reverend William F. Brisotti, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church, NY

Reverend Catherine Schulyer, Protestant Campus Ministry of Stony Brook, NY

Reverend Richard E. Edwards, Stony Brook Community Church, NY

Reverend Thomas W. Goodhue, Executive Director, The Long Island Council of Churches, NY

Reverend Paul Ratzlaff, The Unitarian Universalist of Fellowship of Huntington, NY

Sister Rosemary Everett, SNJM, Sisters of the Holy Names, CA

Father Bill Leininger, Human Concerns Commission, Diocese of San Jose, CA

Monsieur Gene Boyle, St. Thomas Aquinas of Palo Alto, CA

Reverend John Freesemann, Holy Redeemer Lutheran Church of San Jose, CA

Rabbi Melanie Aron, Congregation Shir Hadash of Los Gatos, CA

Reverend Carol Been, The Interfaith Council of San Jose, CA

Ms. Mary Quinn Kambic, Catholic Labor Committee of Baltimore, MD

Ms. Evely Laser Shlensky, Board member, Executive Committee, Interfaith Worker Justice

Mr. Monroe B. Sullivan, National Board Member, Interfaith Worker Justice

Ms. Karen Herrling, Attorney, Catholic Legal Immigration Network

Mr. Stephen Hand, Editor, Traditional Catholic Reflections

December 1, 2005

WAL-MART SUFFERS STEEP DECLINE IN PUBLIC IMAGE

Washington, DC – The first national survey of public attitudes and opinions about Wal-Mart by Zogby International finds American adults hold an increasingly negative view of Wal-Mart. The poll found 38 percent, or nearly 4 in 10 Americans, hold an unfavorable opinion of Wal-Mart, and 46 percent of Americans believe Wal-Mart’s public image is worse than it was 1 year ago.

The poll found that 56 percent of American adults agreed with the statement – “”Wal-Mart was bad for America. It may provide low prices, but these prices come with a high moral and economic cost.”” In contrast, only 39 percent of American adults agreed with the opposing statement – “”I believe Wal-Mart is good for America. It provides low prices and saves consumers money every day.””

“”Despite two high-priced image makeovers, Wal-Mart’s public image is in a tailspin. Over the last year, Wal-Mart’s image has declined at an alarming rate with the American people. Unless Wal-Mart addresses these growing concerns, the company will face a mounting public backlash,”” stated Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com.

The Zogby poll, commissioned by WakeUpWalMart.com, was a national telephone survey of 1,012 adults conducted by Zogby International from 11/15/05 through 11/18/05 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.2%.

The effect of the WakeUpWalMart.com campaign over the last year can be best assessed by comparing several questions from the new Zogby poll to results from a similar national poll conducted by Lake, Snell, Perry in January 2005.

Wal-Mart Overall Favorability

In terms of overall favorability, in the span of about 11 months, Wal-Mart experienced a decline of 18 percentage points in the number of American adults who view the company favorably. Most striking is a 15 percentage point decline in the number of Americans who hold a “”very favorable opinion.””

Jan 05       Nov 05       Difference

Very Favorable                            45             30              -15

Somewhat Favorable                    31             28               -3

Fav                                             76             58               -18

Somewhat Unfavorable                 11             19               +8

Very Unfavorable                          9              19                +10

Unfav                                          20             38                +18

No Opinion/Not sure                      4               4                    

Wal-Mart Shopping Frequency

The Wal-Mart shopping frequency of American adults has also changed. A comparison of the two polls suggests a decrease of 18 percentage points among high frequency Wal-Mart shoppers (i.e. weekly and 1-2/ month), but an increase of 12 percent in the number of respondents who shop at Wal-Mart less frequently. Most interesting, there is a 5 percent increase in the number of American adults who choose not to shop at Wal-Mart. These results, however, do not directly impact Wal-Mart sales, as consumers who still choose to shop at Wal-Mart may have simply increased their overall values of their purchase.

Jan 05          Nov 05        Difference

Weekly                                    33                24                  -9

1-2/Month                                36                27                  -9

Several times a year                 13                16                  +3

Hardly ever                              11                20                   +9

Never                                       8                 13                   +5

Wal-Mart Favorability Based on Recent Events

Recent news events are having an impact on Wal-Mart’s rising negative image. In asking people whether or not recent news events have altered their feelings of favorability/unfavorability towards Wal-Mart, there is a growing perception that Wal-Mart is less favorable. Since January 2005, 28 percent more American adults have heard, seen, or read something about Wal-Mart that makes them feel less favorable toward the company.

Jan 05      Nov 05        Difference

Much more favorable              10            11                 +1

Somewhat more favorable      18             11                 -7

More favorable                       18             22                 -6

Somewhat less favorable        13             29                +16

Much less favorable                14             26                +12

Less favorable                       27             55                 +28

No impact/not sure                43             24                  –19

Wal-Mart’s Favorability & Public Image Compared to Competitors

In terms of favorability, Americans hold very different opinions of two of the largest retailers – Wal-Mart and Target. For example, 73 percent of respondents hold a favorable opinion of Target versus 13 percent who hold an unfavorable opinion, while 58 percent of respondents hold a favorable opinion of Wal-Mart versus 38 percent who hold an unfavorable opinion. And compared to one year ago, a large majority of Americans (65%) agree that Wal-Mart has a more negative public image now than compared to last year, while 28 percent disagreed. In contrast, and just as a baseline comparison, only 14 percent of Americans believe that Target’s public image is more negative, while 55 percent disagreed.

These results are more striking in light of the significant financial commitment by Wal-Mart over the last year to try and improve its public image.

America’s Wal-Mart Debate

The debate about whether or not Wal-Mart is good or bad for America is occurring. In a comparison of two statements, 56 percent of Americans agreed “”Wal-Mart is bad for America”” (statement B), with only 39 percent of Americans stating Wal-Mart is “”good for America”” (statement A).

Statement A – I believe that Wal-Mart is good for America. It provides low prices and saves consumers money every day.

Statement B – I believe that Wal-Mart is bad for America. It may provide low prices, but these prices come with a high moral and economic cost for consumers.

Further results indicate that 6 in 10 American adults believe Wal-Mart is seen as a retail monopoly that threatens the American economy, 61 percent of Americans are concerned that Wal-Mart is too powerful an economic force in America, and 63 percent of Americans agree that the impact of the Wal-Mart business model should be investigated by our nation’s elected political leaders.

Questions Referenced from Zogby Poll

I am going to read to you a list of stores. Please tell me if your overall opinion of each is very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable or a very unfavorable.

Target

1. Very favorable 34

2. Somewhat favorable 39

3. Somewhat unfavorable 7

4. Very unfavorable 6

5. NF/Not sure (do not read) 15

Wal-Mart

1. Very favorable 30

2. Somewhat favorable 28

3. Somewhat unfavorable 19

4. Very unfavorable 19

5. NF/Not sure (do not read) 4

In general, thinking back on what you have recently seen, heard or read about Wal-Mart in the last few months, does it make you much more favorable, somewhat more favorable, somewhat less favorable, or much less favorable toward Wal-Mart?

1. Much more favorable 11

2. Somewhat more favorable 11

3. Somewhat less favorable 29

4. Much less favorable 26

5. Not sure (Do not read) 24

In general, based on what you have recently seen, heard, or read about Wal-Mart, do you believe Wal-Mart’s public image is much better, slightly better, slightly worse, much worse, or about the same than it was 1 year ago?

1. Much better 5

2. Slightly better 7

3. Slightly worse 28

4. Much worse 18

5. About the same 37

6. Not sure (Do not read) 5

Do you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree that Wal-Mart has a more negative public image now than compared to last year?

1. Strongly agree 36

2. Somewhat agree 29

3. Somewhat disagree 17

4. Strongly disagree 11

5. Not sure (Do not read) 7

Do you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree that Target has a more negative public image now than compared to last year?

1. Strongly agree 4

2. Somewhat agree 10

3. Somewhat disagree 27

4. Strongly disagree 28

5. Not sure (Do not read) 31

Wal-Mart is America’s largest employer with 1.3 million workers, 3700 stores, 289 billion dollars in sales, and $10 billion dollars in profits. Are you very concerned, somewhat concerned, not too concerned, or not all concerned that Wal-Mart is too powerful an economic force in America?

1. Very concerned 33

2. Somewhat concerned 30

3. Not too concerned 15

4. Not all concerned 20

5. Not sure (Do not read) 2

Do you, personally, strongly agree, somewhat agree, or do not agree at all that Wal-Mart is a retail monopoly that threatens the future health of the American economy?

1. Strongly agree 33

2. Somewhat agree 28

3. Don’t agree at all 35

4. Not sure (Do not read) 5

Some critics suggest Wal-Mart is having a negative social and economic effect on the country, others argue Wal-Mart has a positive social and economic effect. Do you, personally, strongly agree, somewhat agree, or do not agree at all that our nation’s elected political leaders should investigate the effects Wal-Mart is having on the American economy and society?

1. Strongly agree 34

2. Somewhat agree 28

3. Don’t agree at all 34

4. Not sure (Do not read) 4

November 22, 2005

NEWLY RELEASED PRICING STUDIES FIND WAL-MART CHARGING CUSTOMERS WRONG PRICE IN FOUR STATES

WakeUpWalMart.com Supporters to Distribute 1 Million ‘Wal-Mart Consumer Alert’ Flyers Beginning on ‘Black Friday’

Washington, D.C. – Today, WakeUpWalMart.com and the National Consumers League sent a joint letter to Attorneys General in all 50 states calling on them to launch a full-scale investigation into Wal-Mart’s pricing practices based on the findings of two newly released studies conducted by the University of Illinois-Chicago Center for Urban Economic Development and the University of California-Berkeley.

The two studies examined the pricing accuracy, the difference between the shelf-price and the cash register price, at Wal-Mart stores in California, Illinois, Michigan and Indiana and concluded the pricing errors at Wal-Mart stores in these 4 states failed to meet the federal standards set by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). The federal standard, set by the NIST, requires no more than 2 out 100 randomly selected items from any one store may be incorrectly priced.

The study found that almost 85% of the Wal-Mart stores in the IL, MI & IN study failed to meet the federal standard for pricing errors. In California, the results were worse with almost 87% of Wal-Mart stores failing to meet the federal standard for pricing accuracy.

In Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, Wal-Mart charged the wrong price for 6.4% of the items purchased statewide for the survey, and in California, 8.3% of the items purchased statewide.

“”Wal-Mart customers beware. Consumers shouldn’t have to gamble with the price they pay at Wal-Mart stores. Wal-Mart has been charging customers the wrong price by failing to meet the federal pricing standard in four of the largest states in the nation. Wal-Mart customers have a right to know whether or not they are paying the wrong price,”” said Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com.

In the letter to the Attorneys General, the National Consumers League and WakeUpWalMart.com suggest ways Wal-Mart could correct this potential pricing problem, including: requiring Wal-Mart to post notices at each register warning customers that they may be overcharged; requiring Wal-Mart to hire enough employees to accurately price merchandise; requiring each Wal-Mart store to hire an employee solely responsible to ensure accurate pricing; and require item pricing in its stores.

“”On behalf of all consumers, especially as we enter the Holiday shopping season, we are calling on every state to immediately investigate Wal-Mart’s pricing and scanner practices and to take appropriate action to fix this potential problem. At least in the four states studied, Wal-Mart may need to change its slogan to ‘Sometimes Low Prices’ if you are lucky,”” added Blank.

Both studies came to the following conclusion, “”A majority of Wal-Mart stores tested in this evaluation of price accuracy demonstrated errors in pricing that exceeded federally accepted standards for large retail establishments.”” In fact, 63% of the surveyed stores in California were exceeding the federal standard just based on their overcharging of customers. Furthermore, accounting for the margin of error, between 75% and 94% of Wal-Mart stores in the 3 Midwest states are failing to meet federal standards for price accuracy.

The results of the studies raise serious concerns nationally given Wal-Mart’s top-down, centralized control by its corporate headquarters in Bentonville, AR.

In addition to releasing the study, supporters of WakeUpWalMart.com, America’s largest grassroots campaign to change a corporation with over 130,000 supporters, will be mobilizing an unprecedented grassroots campaign to inform consumers about Wal-Mart’s pricing errors. Beginning on November 25th, the traditional kick-off to the Holiday shopping season, supporters will be taking part in a national consumer alert campaign with actions in 36 states and 102 cities. WakeUpWalMart.com plans to distribute more than 1 million ‘Wal-Mart Consumer Alert’ flyers and launch a multimedia effort to inform American consumers about the pricing errors found in these four states.

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Statement by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan:

“”I am very concerned about the scanning error rate for Wal-Mart as reported in the study by the University of Illinois at Chicago. My staff and I are taking a close look at these findings,”” said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. “”As we enter the busiest shopping season of the year, this study is a glaring reminder that all consumers must pay close attention to the pricing screen at checkout. If you think you have been overcharged, you should complain immediately to store personnel. Consumers may also complain directly to my office at 1-800-243-0618.””

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Statement by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal

“”This data shows serious discrepancies between the prices posted and the amounts actually charged – meriting prompt investigation -because Wal-Mart has a legal obligation to be always accurate, not always low,”” Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said. “”Nothing is more fundamental to fair pricing than keeping promises about prices. Consumers should be spared a sweepstakes system when they come to the cash register. They deserve reliable, rock-solid price guarantees. The price they are given should be the price they are charged.

“”I will take appropriate action to protect consumers and assure the integrity of Wal-Mart’s prices if my investigation uncovers unacceptable price inaccuracies in Connecticut.””

November 15, 2005

WAL-MART VS. AMERICA NEWSPAPER AD OFFICIALLY LAUNCHES WAKEUPWALMART.COM’S EFFORTS DURING NATIONAL WEEK OF ACTION

Nov. 14 – Washington, D.C. – Today, WakeUpWalMart.com, America’s campaign to change Wal-Mart, announced the launch of the next phase of its media campaign and its activities during Wal-Mart Week. This week, hundreds of thousands of Americans will take part in local movie screenings of Robert Greenwald’s new movie – Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price. WakeUpWalMart.com also announced it has surpassed more than 125,000 Americans in all 50 states – making it one of the fastest growing social movements in America.

“”This is not just the beginning of a campaign, it is the beginning of a national movement. Wal-Mart’s record of poverty level wages, unaffordable health care and child labor violations undermines American values. When the American people know the truth, they will reject Wal-Mart’s bad business practices and join our movement to make Wal-Mart a responsible corporation,”” said Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com.

The message of today’s New York Times ad, and the framework for the week, is “”Wal-Mart vs. America.”” The ad shows a map of the United States being pulled apart by Wal-Mart’s Smiley Face on one side and Uncle Sam on the other side. It details the difference between Wal-Mart’s America and Our America on issues such as: poverty level wages, poor health care, gender discrimination, special interest lobbyists and child labor. The ad, also, previews upcoming events during Wal-Mart Week, stating, “”This week, in cities and towns all across the nation, hundreds of thousands of Americans are standing up to corporate greed and demonstrating the amazing power all Americans have to change Wal-Mart and America for the better.””

“”We are building the largest, most coordinated campaign in history to change Wal-Mart. With more than 125,000 supporters, in all 50 states, WakeUpWalMart.com is an unprecedented grassroots effort to educate consumers about the high cost we all pay for Wal-Mart’s greed,”” said Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com

During Wal-Mart Week, WakeUpWalMart.com supporters will hold screenings in over 140 cities and 35 states. In total, supporters of the campaign and Robert Greenwald’s movie have planned over 4000 screenings during this week of action.

WakeUpWalMart.com is building the largest grassroots movement to change a corporation in history. With over 125,000 supporters, WakeUpWalMart.com is one of the fastest growing social movements in America. Find out more about the campaign at www.WakeUpWalMart.com.

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:

http://www.wakeupwalmart.com/video/corrupt.html

November 4, 2005

WAKEUPWALMART.COM LAUNCHES WAL-MART WORKERS OF AMERICA (WWOA), THE FIRST NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR WAL-MART WORKERS

50 UNINSURED WAL-MART WORKERS WILL QUALIFY
FOR $200 HEALTH CARE GRANTS

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

TV AD TO AIR IN NEW YORK CITY, WASHINGTONDC METRO, LOS ANGELES AND LITTLE ROCK; NATIONAL PRINT AD IN USATODAY TO REACH OVER 2 MILLION READERS; AND INTERNET CAMPAIGN WILL TARGET OVER 19 WEBSITES WITH A REACH OF 17 MILLION READERS.

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

WAKEUPWALMART.COM LAUNCHES NATION’S FIRST HALLOWEEN FUNDRAISING DRIVE TO HELP WAL-MART WORKERS PAY FOR HEALTH CARE

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.