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May 17, 2005

WakeUpWalMart.Com: MESSAGE TO GOVERNOR EHRLICH

Washington DC – WakeupWalmart.com, America’s campaign to change Wal-Mart, called on its 50,000 supporters to immediately contact and pressure Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich not to veto the “”Fair Share Healthcare”” legislation.

As adopted, by both the Maryland State Senate and the House of Delegates, the “”Fair Share Healthcare”” bill requires companies with more than 10,000 employees to live up to their responsibilities as profitable employers and pay their fair share for health care.

Contrary to some reports, the Maryland bill does not specifically target Wal-Mart.

There are 4 corporations in Maryland with more than 10,000 employees (Giant Foods, Northrup Grumman, Johns Hopkins, and Wal-Mart).  Wal-Mart is simply the only company that fails to live up to its moral responsibility of providing its workers with adequate health care.  The bill is designed to ensure large employers don’t use state public health assistance as a method of providing healthcare for their workers.

“”With over $10 billion in profits last year it is morally bankrupt that Wal-Mart fails to pay its fair share of health care costs,”” said Paul Blank, WakeUpWalmart.com’s campaign director.  “”It is sad to see Governor Ehrlich say no to health care for families and children and yes to tax subsidies for multi-billion dollar corporations.””

The Fair Share Healthcare legislation in Maryland is part of growing effort by the UFCW, WakeUpWalmart, and numerous civic and community groups, who are determined to make corporations, like Wal-Mart, live up to their responsibilities. The goal of such legislation is to ensure that large companies do not shift their healthcare costs on to taxpayers at a time when our healthcare system is already in crisis.

May 12, 2005

WAKEUPWALMART.COM: 51 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND 21,788 AMERICANS JOIN TOGETHER TO DEMAND WAL-MART CHANGE

Washington DC – As a sign of the growing political and grassroots pressure against Wal-Mart, 51 Members of Congress, led by Representative Rosa DeLauro, released a letter today calling on Wal-Mart to address their worrisome record on gender discrimination. The letter to Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott calls on the company to disclose their wage data for Congressional review so Congress can “”further understand why Wal-Mart pays its women associates less than men and promotes its female workers less frequently than their male counterparts.

The Congressional letter by Rep. DeLauro and her congressional colleagues follows her public support for WakeupWalmart.coms Love Mom, Not Wal-Mart Mothers Day campaign. On April 26th, Rep. DeLauro, Rep. George Miller, Rep. Hilda Solis, Rep. Linda Sanchez, and Rep. Jan Schakowsky joined together to call on all Americans to support the Love Mom, Not Wal-Mart campaign. The Love Mom, not Wal-Mart campaign was designed to foster a nationwide grassroots effort to apply public pressure on Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart, to end gender discrimination.

This is fantastic news. The 51 members of Congress join over 21,000 Americans who think Wal-Marts practice of discrimination against its female employees must end. Americas campaign to change Wal-Mart is growing as more and more Americans wake up to the high cost of Wal-Mart, said Paul Blank, campaign director for the WakeUpWalMart.com

As part of WakeupWalmart.coms Mothers Day campaign, over 21,788 Americans signed the Love Mom, not Wal-mart pledge that they would not shop at Wal-Mart at Mothers Day until the company addressed the issue of gender discrimination. Thousands of Americans also signed the Mother of all Mothers Day Cards – an 8-foot-by-8-foot card – which is being mailed to Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott. On May 7th, WakeupWalmart.com also held a national Day of Action in 26 states and 70 cities and towns to raise awareness about Wal-Marts record of discrimination covering 1.6 million Wal-Mart women who are part of the largest gender discrimination lawsuit in U.S. history.

What we are witnessing right now is a growing movement to change Wal-Mart. It will grow every day, from state to state and from town to town, until Wal-Mart becomes a fair and responsible corporate citizen, added Blank.

WakeUpWalmart.com, the campaign to change Wal-Mart, is backed by the UFCW. Since the groups launch, on April 5th, over 50,000 concerned citizens have joined the growing effort.

May 9, 2005

No Wal-Mart Smile In Jonquiere

 

JONQUIERE, Quebec, Canada — Hundreds of Jonquiere region citizens gathered to show the true face of Wal- Mart by forming a giant mosaic that transformed Wal-Mart’s logo from a smile to a sneer.

The rally was just one of many gatherings and protest rallies held on May 6th at Wal-Mart locations across Quebec, one week after 200 Wal-Mart employees in Jonquiere were let go and their store shut just months after they became the only unionized Wal- Mart location in North America.

May 6th was the day Wal-Mart said they would shut the store. The actually shut it one week earlier on April 29th without notice to escape the attention of local citizens and the media.

A recent Polara survey showed that more than 80 percent of Canadians dismiss Wal-Mart’s claim the store was losing money. Most Canadians surveyed said Wal-Mart shut the store to frighten other Wal-Mart employees from unionizing.

In spite of Wal-Mart’s move, two other Quebec Wal-Mart locations have since been certified in Saint-Hyacinthe and in Gatineau, Applications to certify 12 other Wal-Mart locations across Canada are also pending.

PHOTO EDITORS: A high resolution, publication-ready photograph supporting this story is available for free editorial use at: http://www.wirepix.com/cgi-bin/newsphotos/download.cgi?image=USN050605cc.jpg

 

April 27, 2005

UFCW Statement Regarding Wal-Mart Whistleblower

Statement by Bill McDonough, UFCW Executive Vice President

Wal-Mart demonstrated its true colors with its firing of Jared Bowen who blew the whistle on the company’s “union project.” That Mr. Bowen has asked the U.S. Attorney for protection as a federal whistleblower demonstrates the fear Wal-Mart instills in employees who use what the company calls the “”Open Door”” policy—and employees call the “”Out the Door”” policy. Treating workers fairly and with respect is not a choice—it’s the right thing to do.

Time after time, on issues of child labor, gender equality, protecting a workers’ democratic right to organize, and now, defending a worker’s right to report wrongdoing, Wal-Mart has chosen the wrong path. It’s time for Wal-Mart to wake up and do the right thing.
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April 26, 2005

“”LOVE MOM, NOT WAL-MART”” CAMPAIGN GAINS SUPPORT

Washington DC – Today, on Capitol Hill, five distinguished Members of Congress – Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Rep. George Miller, Rep. Linda Sanchez, Rep. Hilda Solis, and Rep. Jan Schakowsky – joined with Linda Chavez-Thompson, Executive Vice-President of the AFL-CIO, a plaintiff in the Wal-Mart gender discrimination lawsuit, and former Miss America Carolyn Sapp to pledge their support for the “”Love Mom, Not Wal-Mart”” campaign.

The “”Love Mom, not Wal-Mart”” campaign, the latest initiative by WakeUpWalmart.com, unveiled the “”Mother of all Mother’s Day”” card. The card is an enormous 8 foot by 8 foot Mother’s Day card, a symbol of how large Wal-Mart’s discrimination problem is, calling on CEO Lee Scott to stop ignoring Wal-Mart’s record of discrimination and start doing the right thing for all our Moms and all women.

As sign of their support for the “”Love Mom, Not Wal-Mart”” campaign, Rep. DeLauro, Rep. Miller, Rep. Sanchez, Rep. Solis, and Rep. Schakowsky, former Miss America Carolyn Sapp, and Linda Chavez-Thompson signed the “”Mother of all Mother’s Day”” card. The card reads, “”Dear Lee Scott, It’s time for Wal-Mart to honor and respect all women. This Mother’s Day, Wal-Mart should stop discriminating against women. Happy Mother’s Day, WakeUpWalmart.com.””

“”We are so pleased that these well-respected leaders have joined America’s campaign to change Wal-Mart,”” said Paul Blank, WakeUpWalmart.com Campaign Director. “”We can only hope that this Mother’s day, on behalf of all mothers and women across America, Wal-Mart will finally do the right thing and end its discrimination of its women workers.””

As part of the “”Love Mom, Not Wal-Mart”” campaign, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro released a dear colleague letter for other Congressional members to sign calling for a Congressional review of Wal-Mart’s wage statistics. The letter reads, “”We would ask Wal-Mart to disclose its wage statistics for congressional review, including any documents submitted to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.””

The “”Love Mom, Not Wal-Mart”” is kicking off a two-week effort, including blog ads and on-the-ground organizing, to ask all Americans to sign the “”Mother’s Day Pledge”” promising not to buy their Mother’s Day gift at Wal-Mart this year until Wal-Mart finally ends its discrimination against women workers. Already, thousands of Americans have signed the pledge.

“”How can America’s richest company and largest employer of women discriminate against more than 1.5 million of its women workers, many of them Moms? It is time for Wal-Mart to wake up and stop treating its female employees and their families like second class citizens.”” added Susan Phillips, Director of Women’s Outreach for WakeUpWalMart.com.

The “”Love Mom, Not Wal-Mart”” campaign highlights Wal-Mart’s terrible record of discriminating against its women workers. Wal-Mart is currently involved in a gender discrimination lawsuit covering more than 1.5 million women. The case is the largest class action lawsuit in U.S. history. The suit documents Wal-Mart’s systematic discrimination against women for lower pay and unequal promotion. In fact, in a recent study, women made-up 72% of Wal-Mart’s hourly workforce, but accounted for only 33% of managers and only 15% of store managers. In addition, women earned from 5% to 15% less than men for the exact same work. This equates to nearly 40 cents less per hour for female hourly workers or nearly $5,000 less per year for female managers.

The “”Love Mom, Not Wal-Mart”” campaign is part of WakeUpWalmart.com, a growing grassroots campaign calling on Wal-Mart to change. As part of the Mother’s Day campaign, supporters can sign the Mother’s Day pledge and send the pledge to their friends. Supporters will also be able to send Mother’s day e-cards, purchase discounted flowers and download a volunteer action toolkit which contains a fact sheet and flyer detailing Wal-Mart’s record of gender discrimination.

CONGRESSWOMAN ROSA DELAURO’S LETTER
TO WAL-MART CEO LEE SCOTT

Dear Mr. Scott,

We are writing to bring to your attention an ongoing matter involving
Wal-Mart and its policy regarding gender discrimination. As you know, pay
inequity is a serious issue in the United States, with women still earning
only 76 cents for every dollar that a man earns. That is why it is of great
concern to us that Wal-Mart, America’s largest employer, does not pay its
women the same wage as men for the same work.

A recent analysis of Wal-Mart’s own payroll record conducted by Professor
Richard Drogin, Professor Emeritus at University of California, Berkeley,
showed that Wal-Mart paid its female hourly workers 40 cents less per hour
than their male counterparts, with female managers earning nearly $5,000 per
year less than managers who were men. In addition, while women comprise 72
percent of your workforce, almost 700,000 overall, women only account for a
third of your managers and only 15 percent of your store managers – this,
despite the fact that your female employees, on average, earn higher
performance ratings than men and turnover less frequently.

In view of this, we would ask Wal-Mart to disclose its wage statistics for
congressional review, including any documents submitted to the federal Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission. In doing so, we seek to further
understand why Wal-Mart pays its women associates less than men and promotes
its female workers less frequently than their male counterparts.

We welcome your new commitment to begin a national discussion about
Wal-Mart’s business practices; certainly, as the nation’s wealthiest and
largest employer and largest company, Wal-Mart has a unique role and
responsibility to do the right thing and set the best standard for America.
But it remains unacceptable for any employer, much less our nation’s
largest, to discriminate against its women workers. We would urge you to
take a personal interest and active role in resolving this issue as soon as
possible.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to
your response.

April 20, 2005

wakeupwalmart.com Launches Mother’s Day Campaign Against Wal-Mart

Washington, D.C. – WakeUpWalmart.com, America’s Campaign to change Wal-Mart, announced today a new grassroots initiative to highlight Wal-Mart’s systematic discrimination against women workers. The “”Love Mom, not Wal-Mart”” campaign, the name of the initiative, will ask all Americans to sign a “”Mother’s Day Pledge”” promising not to buy their Mother’s Day gift at Wal-Mart this year until Wal-Mart stops discriminating against women.

As part of the campaign, the group will also be mailing Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart, Inc. the “”Mother of all Mother’s Day Cards.”” The enormous card, a symbol of how large Wal-Mart’s discrimination problem is, will ask Lee Scott to stop ignoring Wal-Mart’s record of discrimination and start doing the right thing for all our Moms and all women.

“”This Mother’s day, on behalf of all mothers and women across America, Wal-Mart must do the right thing and stop discriminating against women,”” stated Paul Blank, WakeUpWalmart.com Campaign Director. “”Wal-Mart’s systematic discrimination against women is simply un-American.””

The “”Love Mom, Not Wal-Mart”” campaign highlights Wal-Mart’s terrible record of discriminating against its women workers. Wal-Mart is currently involved in a gender discrimination lawsuit covering more than 1.5 million women. The case is the largest class action lawsuit in U.S. history. The suit documents Wal-Mart’s systematic discrimination against women for lower pay and unequal promotion. In fact, women make-up 72% of Wal-Mart’s hourly workforce, but account for only 33% of managers and only 15% of store managers. In addition, women earn from 5% to 15% less than men for the exact same work. This equates to nearly 40 cents less per hour for female hourly workers or nearly $5,000 less per year for female managers.

“”How can America’s richest company and largest employer of women discriminate against so many of its women workers, many of them Moms? It is time for Wal-Mart to wake up and stop treating its women workers and their families like second class citizens.”” added Susan Phillips, Director of Women’s Outreach for WakeUpWalMart.com.

The “”Love Mom, Not Wal-Mart”” campaign launches today on www.WakeUpWalmart.com . The Mother’s Day campaign includes discounts on sending flowers and tools for Americans to join the campaign. Supporters can sign the Mother’s Day pledge and send the pledge to their friends. Supporters will also be able to send mother’s day e-cards and download a volunteer action toolkit which contains a fact sheet and flyer detailing Wal-Mart’s record of gender discrimination.

The text of the Mother’s Day pledge is as follows:

As a symbol of love and respect for my Mom, and all women across America, I pledge not to shop or buy any gifts for Mother’s Day at Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart’s company-wide policy of discriminating against so many hard-working women is terribly wrong. I stand with all of the 1.5 million Wal-Mart women who are part of the largest gender discrimination lawsuit in U.S. history.

In my America, Wal-Mart should do better than pay women and mothers less than men for equal work.

In my America, Wal-Mart should do better than disrespect all women and mothers by providing them with poor pay, poor health care, and poor working conditions.

As the largest employer of women in America, Wal-Mart has a responsibility to do the right thing!

I can easily say that my mother deserves better than Wal-Mart.
Until Wal-Mart changes for the better, I have one thing to say:
“”Love Mom…Not Wal-Mart.””

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April 13, 2005

Food and Commercial Workers File Charge against Wal-Mart On Coughlin “”Union Project””

Washington DC- The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) filed a “”Unfair Labor Practice Charge”” against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The charge against Wal-Mart is in response to the serious allegations that former Wal-Mart Board member and Vice Chairman Thomas M. Coughlin, the #2 person at the company, operated an illegal anti-union slush fund as part of a company program to monitor and suppress the democratic right of workers to organize.

In a letter to the NLRB, the UFCW states that “”the charge complains that Wal-Mart, acting through officers, employees and agents, including those at the highest levels of management, systematically denied workers their democratic right to exercise a choice for union representation.  Wal-Mart’s actions seemingly involved the criminal misappropriation of company funds to create an illegal anti-union slush fund.””

It also calls on the Board to “”use the NLRB’s subpoena power to obtain all relevant information from Wal-Mart, particularly the documents that are in possession of Wal-Mart according to former Wal-Mart Vice Chairman Thomas Coughlin and which, according to Coughlin, substantiate the alleged scheme.””

“”The point of the UFCW filing this charge with the NLRB is simple,”” said UFCW Executive Vice President Bill McDonough. “”The UFCW and the American people deserve to know what Wal-Mart knows about this ‘union project’ and when they knew it.””

In previous filings with the NLRB, Wal-Mart, Inc. has been found guilty of illegally spying, bribing with promotions, firing and intimidating workers. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the latest revelations, if true, mean that Wal-Mart’s anti-worker, anti-union program “”would represent a criminal offense under the federal Taft-Hartly Act,””-a federal felony to pay employees to persuade coworkers to abandon support for union representation. The Journal also reported that Coughlin “”is expected to use the ‘union project’ as part of his defense to the charges about mismanagement of funds.””

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April 10, 2005

UFCW Calls on Wal-Mart to Publicly Release Documents on Alleged Illegal Slush Fund

Washington DC—Today’s Wall Street Journal revealed that former Wal-Mart Board member and Vice Chairman Thomas M. Coughlin, the #2 person at the company, alleges that he operated an illegal anti-union slush fund as part of a company program to suppress the democratic freedom of workers to make a choice for a union voice at work.

The UFCW calls on the company to publicize all documents connected with the U.S. attorney’s criminal probe of the Coughlin case.

Wal-Mart has already been found guilty of illegally spying, bribing with promotions, firing and intimidating workers. According to the Wall Street Journal, these revelations, if true, mean that Wal-Mart’s anti-worker, anti-union program “would represent a criminal offense under the federal Taft-Hartly Act,”—a federal felony to pay employees to persuade coworkers to abandon support for union representation.

The Journal also reported that Coughlin “is expected to use the ‘union project’ as part of his defense to the charges about mismanagement of funds.”

“We are deeply disturbed by these allegations of Wal-Mart’s anti-union activity,” stated UFCW Executive Vice President and Director of Organizing Bill McDonough.   These are serious criminal offenses and cast Wal-Mart’s systematic anti-worker activities on a much more sinister level.  Wal-Mart should not try and cover up its activities but should do the right thing and make all of the documents public immediately.”

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April 6, 2005

Wal-Mart Admits Their Health Care Program Falls Short

WakeUpWalmart.com, America’s campaign to change Wal-Mart, challenged Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart, Inc. to explain his statement yesterday regarding Wal-Mart’s health care coverage.  During “”Wal-Mart Media Days,”” a two-day public relations effort to improve Wal-Mart’s image, Lee Scott answered questions from reporters.

According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Scott, in response to a reporter’s question about why Wal-Mart has the most number of employees on state Medicaid rolls, apparently said, “”There are government assistance programs out there that are so lucrative it’s hard to be competitive, and it’s expensive to be competitive,”” Scott said.

Georgia state legislator Nan Orrock was shocked.  “”It should be an embarrassment to Wal-Mart that our tax-payer funded Medicaid programs compete with their dismal health care,”” stated Orrock.  “”Our programs are intended for our state’s poor and underserved as a safety net, not as a better alternative to the largest corporation with more than $10 billion in profit.””

Instead of living up to its responsibility as America’s largest corporation, Wal-Mart continues to ask taxpayers to pay their health care costs.  Several states are considering addressing this health care cost shift.  In Maryland, for example, the State Senate passed a bill yesterday requiring corporations to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on health care benefits for its employees or put the difference into Maryland’s Medicaid fund.  According to the Baltimore Sun, Maryland has several employers with over 10,000 employees, but Wal-Mart is the only company that fails to meet the 8 percent threshold.

“”This is outrageous! With over $10 billion in profits, Wal-Mart has a moral responsibility to provide decent healthcare for their 1.4 million employees,”” stated Paul Blank, Wake-Up Wal-Mart’s campaign director.  “”It is a sad day when the largest company in America admits that taxpayer sponsored healthcare programs, like Medicaid, provide better health care than our nation’s largest employer.””

It should also be noted, in the 11 out of 12 states where we have data, Wal-Mart is the company with the highest number of employees on Medicaid.  In addition, more than 500,000 of Wal-Mart’s employees do not receive coverage under Wal-Mart’s health care plan.

“”It’s quite simple. Wal-mart needs to wake-up and do what is right for America! Wal-Mart has a responsibility to provide affordable, comprehensive health care to its employees not shift the cost onto the American taxpayers.  America’s largest company should reflect America’s values,”” added Blank.

The Wake-Up Wal-Mart campaign was launched on April 5, 2005 by the UFCW and more information is available at www.wakeupwalmart.com.

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April 5, 2005

UFCW Launches New Campaign to “”Wake Up Wal-Mart””

The UFCW announced today it is launching a new grassroots, community-based campaign to wake up Wal-Mart.  The campaign’s website “”www.WakeupWalMart.com“” and the campaign’s blog “”http://blog.WakeUpWalmart.com“” will be at the center of this new grassroots movement that will lead and revolutionize the national fight to change Wal-Mart.

“”This is a new day and a new strategy in the fight against Wal-Mart,”” stated Paul Blank, the new campaign director for the Wake-Up Wal-Mart campaign.  “”Wal-Mart’s greed puts profits before people.  Today, we are forming a grassroots movement to empower millions of Americans to ask Wal-Mart to put people first.””

“”The rise of Wal-Mart as the world’s largest retailer has come at a high cost to our society.  Traditional organizing campaigns are too limited for a greedy, global company who is willing to cut its nose to spite its face rather than do the right thing and stand up for people,”” said Blank.  “”For too long, Wal-Mart’s business practice has been to lower our wages, pressure suppliers to ship our jobs overseas, shift their health care costs onto American taxpayers and ask communities to give over $1 billion in subsidies for their expansion.””

“”All across America, consumers and taxpayers are waking up to the high cost of Wal-Mart’s poverty wages, reliance on taxpayer funded state health care programs and devastating impact on communities.  Wal-Mart’s values are not America’s values,”” stated Blank.  “”There is only one force powerful enough to change the largest corporation in the world, the largest retailer in the world and the largest employer in the world-the American people.  We are Wal-Mart’s consumers and it is time for Wal-Mart to wake up and start doing what is right for its employees, our families, and our country.””

The Wake-Up Wal-Mart campaign will give people the tools they need to join together in common purpose in order to change the largest corporation in the world.  The campaign will utilize an array of organizing strategies, innovative media, a blog and other internet tools that have been used successfully in previous political and grassroots campaigns.

The website, WakeupWalMart.com, will offer concerned citizens, community leaders, activists, and workers an online vehicle where they can learn the truth about Wal-Mart’s record, as well as become an active member in this new grassroots movement. The “”Take Action”” center of the website will even feature a new tool for community leaders to Adopt-A-Store and begin forming community coalitions around every Wal-Mart location in the United States.

The website will also be used to form a new group of current and former Wal-Mart employees called the Wal-Mart Veterans Association.  This will be a place for former and current employees to join together and share their Wal-Mart experience.

In addition, the website will feature a blog about Wal-Mart that will be updated throughout the day on news and stories related to Wal-Mart.  It will become a vital resource for the millions of Americans who believe Wal-Mart needs to be changed.

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