News and Updates
July 31, 2006
NATIONWIDE EVENTS PLANNED WITH PROMINENT POLITICAL LEADERS AND COMMUNITY GROUPS FROM COAST-TO-COAST/ BUS TOUR TO VISIT 19 STATES, 35 CITIES IN 35 DAYS
Washington D.C. – WakeUpWalMart.com, America’s campaign to change Wal-Mart, is taking its national movement, and headquarters, on the road in a non-stop cross-country tour hitting 19 states, 35 cities, in 35 days. The nationwide bus tour, titled the “”2006 Change Wal-Mart, Change America Tour,”” is an unprecedented and exciting new move in the group’s campaign to change Wal-Mart into a responsible and moral employer.
The tour launches on August 1st in New York City and ends in Seattle on September 4th, Labor Day. During the tour, the WakeUpWalMart.com campaign will hold a series of events each day with supporters and political leaders to build public awareness about the need for Wal-Mart to change into a better corporate citizen. Some of the nation’s most prominent civic and political leaders will take part in the tour, including former Democratic Vice-Presidential Candidate and former U.S. Senator John Edwards, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Ohio U.S. Senate candidate Congressman Sherrod Brown, Maryland U.S. Senate candidates Congressman Ben Cardin and former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume, Connecticut U.S. Senate candidate Ned Lamont, Connecticut Governor candidate, John DeStefano, Ohio Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Anna Burger, President of the Change-to-Win labor federation, and many others. Additional announcements concerning speakers and event details will be made ahead of each of the tour stops.
“”Whether it is at community meetings of 20 people, town halls, busy public squares, metro stops or state fairs with thousands of people, we are taking our campaign to change Wal-Mart directly to the American people because we know by joining together we can change Wal-Mart and change America for the better,”” said Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com.
On the “”2006 Change Wal-Mart, Change America”” bus tour WakeUpWalMart.com will be holding a series of events and actions all across America, including townhalls, community meetings, canvasses, as well as a summer membership drive at sporting events, state fairs, public squares, and at various Wal-Mart stores. In addition, as part of the 5-week tour, WakeUpWalMart.com will also release a new 30-second ad, titled “”One Mission”” that will air in cities across the country in coordination with the tour stops.
“”From the East Coast, to America’s heartland to the West Coast, we are asking Americans to join the fight for a better America where workers have good paying jobs and affordable health benefits. Our goal is to unleash an exciting new grassroots movement to hold corporations accountable, empower the American people, and make Wal-Mart a responsible corporate citizen that provides affordable health care, pays a living wage, protects American jobs and reflects the best of our values,”” added Blank.
The star of the “”2006 Change Wal-Mart, Change America”” tour is a 55-foot long bus (more like a monster billboard) nicknamed “”Smiley.”” The bus will be wrapped side-to-side and front-to-back in a patriotic American flag emblazoned with the group’s website, WakeUpWalMart.com, and the name of the tour, “”2006 Change Wal-Mart, Change America Tour.”” In addition, on each side of the bus, the central messages of the tour will be highlighted for all to see – including “”Join America’s Fight for Health Care,”” “”Join America’s Fight for Good Jobs”” and “”Join the Fight for a Better America.””
A unique feature of the tour will be a new power point presentation which will be unveiled at various town halls and community meetings. The power point, modeled after Vice President Al Gore’s recent documentary is titled, “”A Costly Truth,”” and will serve as a powerful tool to educate the American public about why Wal-Mart needs to change, the national cost we are paying because of Wal-Mart’s business model, and how Wal-Mart threatens America’s middle class.
During the 35-day tour, the details and location for each day’s planned events will be made available at WakeUpWalMart.com in a special section which will chronicle the groups adventures and experiences, as well as provide a video blog, photo updates, and a journal of each day’s events and experiences.
A list of the cities, events, and tour dates are below. Please visit WakeUpWalMart.com to learn more about details of events and get updates on any last minute changes.
1-Aug New York NY
2-Aug Bridgeport CT
2-Aug Philadelphia PA
3-Aug Baltimore MD
4-Aug Pittsburgh PA
5-Aug Detroit MI
6-Aug Toledo OH
7-Aug Cleveland OH
7-Aug Elyria OH
8-Aug Columbus OH
9-Aug Cincinnati OH
9-Aug Dayton OH
10-Aug Springfield IL
11-Aug St. Louis MO
12-Aug Andersonville IL
12-Aug Chicago IL
13-Aug Milwaukee WI
14-Aug Madison WI
15-Aug Minneapolis MN
16-Aug Davenport IA
17-Aug Waterloo IA
18-Aug Iowa City IA
19-Aug Des Moines IA
20-Aug Council Bluffs IA
21-Aug Omaha NE
22-Aug Denver CO
22-Aug Pueblo CO
24-Aug Albuquerque NM
25-Aug Phoenix AZ
26-Aug Las Vegas NV
26-Aug Los Angeles CA
27-Aug Santa Ana CA
27-Aug Rosemead CA
28-Aug San Francisco CA
29-Aug Oakland CA
29-Aug San Jose CA
30-Aug Sacramento CA
1-Sep Salem OR
2-Sep Portland OR
4-Sep Seattle WA
June 28, 2006
Despite multiple headlines in October 2005 which read “”Wal-Mart Urges Congress to Raise the Minimum Wage,”” Wal-Mart announced today it does not support raising the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour.
According to an article in this morning’s Roll Call, Lee Culpepper said Wal-Mart’s CEO Lee Scott’s statement was ‘misinterpreted,’ and that ‘Scott was not calling for Congress to raise the minimum wage.’
“”Wal-Mart’s flip flop on the minimum wage is a cynical about-face which hurts America’s working families,”” said Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com. “”This is hypocrisy at its worst and the American people are the ones that will pay the price,”” continued Blank.
In this morning’s article, Lee Culpepper insisted, “”I think what he (Mr. Scott) said was clear.”” Mr. Culpepper is right. Mr. Scott’s statement was clear. He said the minimum wage was ‘out of date with the times’ and therefore should be raised.
Here is what Mr. Scott said in October 2005, “”The U.S. minimum wage of $5.15 an hour has not been raised in nearly a decade and we believe it is out of date with the times…while it is unusual for us to take a public position on a public policy issue of this kind, we simply believe it is time for Congress to take a responsible look at the minimum wage and other legislation that may help working families.””
Blank continued, “”Wal-Mart’s flip-flop proves the company’s publicity stunts are nothing more than a sham. Wal-Mart will say anything, even lie about its position on the minimum wage, in order to try and salvage its declining public image.””
Critics: Wal-Mart Flip-Flopped
June 28, 2006
By Tory Newmyer
Last October, Wal-Mart chief executive Lee Scott made waves by urging Congress to consider raising the federal minimum wage – something many retailers had long opposed.
He noted that the store’s own customers are “”struggling to get by,”” then added that “”while it is unusual for us to take a public position on a public policy issue of this kind, we simply believe it is time for Congress to take a responsible look at the minimum wage and other legislation that may help working families.””
The declaration came as part of a broader push by the low-cost retailer to put a friendlier face on its often troubled corporate image.
But now, with both chambers of Congress mulling hikes to the federal pay standard, Wal-Mart’s critics are charging that the company has abandoned Scott’s pledge to support a higher wage. They say that after reaping good public relations from Scott’s statement last fall, Wal-Mart has cynically dumped the issue, even as major trade groups it belongs to, primarily the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Retail Industry Leaders Association, help lead the fight against a higher minimum wage.
“”They did this for PR reasons, and then the true colors come out when the talk no longer meets up with that action. In this case, it’s pretty obvious,”” said Chris Kofinis, spokesman for Wake Up Wal-Mart, a group that’s critical of the company’s practices.
Wal-Mart officials acknowledge, and several Congressional aides confirm, that the retail giant is sitting out the debate on the minimum wage increase. But the company disputes the notion that the move amounts to an about-face from the position Scott represented last fall.
Instead, Lee Culpepper, the company’s top lobbyist in Washington, D.C., said the chief executive’s statement was misinterpreted. Scott was not calling for Congress to raise the minimum wage, Culpepper said – he simply was asking lawmakers to consider the issue.
“”We haven’t said anything more or less,”” Culpepper said on Tuesday. “”I think what he said was clear. He said Congress should take a look at it. If reporters want to report differently from that, I can’t speak to that.””
Culpepper said the company’s lobbyists have communicated Wal-Mart’s position on the issue to its trade groups.
“”We’ve just made them aware that we’ve encouraged Congress to take a look at an increase in the minimum wage,”” he said. But he said the company has not gone so far as to ask the trade groups not to lobby on the issue, leaving it up to them “”to determine their association position.””
To Wal-Mart’s critics, the company’s inaction, combined with the robust opposition to a wage hike thrown up by trade groups it belongs to, add up to a backdoor push by the nation’s largest employer to stifle a higher pay standard.
Wake Up Wal-Mart, a group primarily funded by labor groups, last week challenged the company to endorse raising the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour, after plans put forward by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), and then to lobby in support of the change.
With any such outcome facing long odds, the company’s detractors are trying to tell the story of what they call Wal-Mart’s “”Potomac two-step”” on Capitol Hill.
“”We want to hold Lee Scott to his word,”” said Nu Wexler, spokesman for Wal-Mart Watch, another labor-funded group targeting the company.
Tom Kiley, a spokesman for House Education and the Workforce ranking member Miller, said Democrats are disappointed with Wal-Mart’s absence from the debate.
“”At the time [of Scott’s statement], we welcomed that,”” he said. “”Since then, we haven’t heard from them at all. That’s unfortunate, obviously.””
This sparring comes as the company, expanding into urban areas dominated in Congress by Democrats, has stepped up its outreach to members of the minority party.
Wal-Mart in recent years has directed an increasing portion of its political donations to Democrats, giving them nearly 30 percent of their political action committee dollars so far this cycle. That’s still just a fraction of what the company gives to Republicans, but it’s up from the minuscule 2 percent a decade ago, according to figures available from PoliticalMoneyLine.com.
Scott, the chief executive, huddled with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in February, and top Wal-Mart officials met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus last spring.
But Republicans have remained the company’s most stalwart defenders on tax, health care and labor issues, among other things. And this summer, debate over a minimum wage increase has taken on a highly partisan tone. While most GOPers argue bumping up the pay standard would hurt small businesses, Democrats counter that the current wage, untouched in a decade, traps millions below the poverty line.
The minority party is rallying around the issue as an antidote to flag-burning, gay marriage and estate tax debates stoked by Republicans to rile their own base for the upcoming elections.
Last week, eight Senate Republicans joined 43 Democrats and an Independent in supporting a wage hike, but the votes fell short of the 60 required to clear its passage. Senate Democrats are vowing to keep the issue front and center, with Minority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) now tying the matter to a Congressional pay increase.
On the House side, Democrats are trying to attach a minimum wage increase to spending bills. After successfully adding it to the Labor-HHS appropriations bill, House Republican leaders pulled the bill from the floor schedule. House GOP leaders are signaling they will not allow a floor vote on the minimum wage this year, and it is unclear how that standoff will be resolved.
In addition, a flurry of minimum-wage initiatives may end up on ballots nationwide, designed both for their ability to improve Democratic voter turnout as well as for the goal of improving pay for low-income workers.
For his part, Wal-Mart lobbyist Culpepper said he remains available to explain Wal-Mart’s position on the wage issue.
“”One of our key missions is to meet with Members on Capitol Hill to correct the record about what our critics have said about us,”” he said.
June 5, 2006
Bentonville, AR – Today, WakeUpWalMart.com, America’s campaign to change Wal-Mart, released a letter to Wal-Mart’s shareholders entitled, “”Wal-Mart Can Do Better.”” The letter will be handed out to shareholders at Wal-Mart’s annual shareholder meeting and will run in a statewide, full page ad in the Arkansas Democratic Gazette.
The “”Wal-Mart Can Do Better”” letter reminds shareholders of Sam Walton’s 10 rules for success. Rule #2 on Sam’s list was to value your associates. The letter states, “”Sadly, Wal-Mart’s current management has abandoned Sam’s vision and forgotten Sam’s rule #2 – value your associates.””
In the last few months, Wal-Mart’s current management has decided to dramatically slash workers’ hours, cut over 200,000 employees from full-time to part-time, leave 54% of Wal-Mart’s workers without company health care, not to adopt a “”zero tolerance policy”” on child labor or address the fact that 1.6 million female employees are suing Wal-Mart for gender discrimination.
“”Rather than value Wal-Mart’s employees or reflect the best of Sam Walton’s vision, Wal-Mart’s current leadership has decided to invest in right-wing war rooms and make store changes that are destroying worker morale and putting Wal-Mart’s public image at risk,”” said Paul Blank, campaign director, WakeUpWalMart.com.
The letter calls on Wal-Mart’s shareholders to join with WakeUpWalMart.com and join the movement to change Wal-Mart into a better business “”on behalf of its employees, its shareholders and the American people.””
The letter states, “”What we are asking for – paying 1.3 million employees a living wage, providing affordable health care, and creating a safe and just work environment – is not only the right thing to do, but will make Wal-Mart a more successful company.””
The full text of the letter is below and is available at www.WakeUpWalMart.com.
“”WAL-MART CAN DO BETTER””
Share your profits with all your associates, and treat them as partners. In turn, they will treat you as a partner, and together you will all perform beyond your wildest expectations.
Rule #2, Sam Walton’s 10 Rules for Success
Dear Wal-Mart Shareholders,
One of Sam Walton’s guiding principles that made Wal-Mart a success was to value the company’s associates. Sam Walton believed Wal-Mart’s success would rise and fall based on how well, or poorly, Wal-Mart treated its workers and their families. Sadly, Wal-Mart’s current management has abandoned Sam’s vision and forgotten Sam’s rule #2 – value your associates.
The truth is the American people and their elected representatives have a hard time understanding why Wal-Mart, with $11.2 billion in annual profits, has a record which fails to reflect the best of America’s, and Sam’s, values.
We believe, and we think Sam Walton would agree, “”Wal-Mart Can Do Better.””
Wal-Mart has an incredible opportunity to “”seize the moment”” and pursue real change on behalf of its employees, its shareholders and the American people. What we are asking for – paying 1.3 million employees a living wage, providing affordable health care, and creating a safe and just work environment – is not only the right thing to do, but will make Wal-Mart a more successful company.
Just as Sam Walton understood, large profitable corporations, like Wal-Mart, have an important social responsibility and economic interest to not only be as good and great as they can be, but to be as good and great as their size and wealth affords.
In that spirit, we’re calling on all Wal-Mart shareholders to join with us at WakeUpWalMart.com in our national movement to change Wal-Mart and change America for the better.
We hope you will join with us.
May 26, 2006
GROUP CALLS ON WAL-MART TO FIRE BOB MCADAM AND LEE CULPEPPER AND END RELATIONSHIP WITH RIGHT WING ATTACK DOG, RICK BERMAN
Washington, D.C. – WakeUpWalMart.com, America’s campaign to change Wal-Mart, has uncovered a close and working relationship between high-ranking senior Wal-Mart executives, Bob McAdam and Lee Culpepper, and right-wing radical Rick Berman.
Earlier this year, Rick Berman, a well-known right-wing radical and defender of mercury poisoning, drunk driving and Big Tobacco, launched a campaign attacking hard-working union members. At the time of Berman’s launch, Wal-Mart spokesman, Sarah Clark, publicly denied any involvement or connection between Wal-Mart and Berman’s group, the Center for Union Facts. According to the Los Angeles Times, Clark said Wal-Mart had “”never heard”” of Berman.
Now, Wal-Mart publicly admits it has not only heard of Berman, but has been working with him. The Detroit Free Press reports, “”Wal-Mart said it has a relationship in which it exchanges union information with Berman, the group’s head.”” [Detroit Free Press, 5/24/06
In addition, an investigation by WakeUpWalMart.com confirms that two senior Wal-Mart officials, Bob McAdam and Lee Culpepper, have worked closely with Berman on “”special projects”” that have related to defending Big Tobacco, defending mercury poisoning, and other right-wing causes.
For example, Bob McAdam worked with Phillip Morris at the Tobacco Institute during the same period of time that Phillip Morris contributed $900,000 to Berman’s pro-tobacco campaign. Lee Culpepper worked at the National Restaurant Association. The NRA’s members contributed to Berman’s pro-mercury poisoning campaign. In fact, Lee Culpepper, while working at the National Restaurant Association described his relationship with Berman in these glowing terms, “”I’ve worked with Rick for years, and indeed he is a lightning rod. People have strong feelings about him, but he helps the industry.””
“”Under the leadership of two new senior officials, Wal-Mart has turned to the radical right-wing to try and salvage its declining public image,”” said Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com.
Blank continued, “”The American people will be deeply disturbed to learn Wal-Mart has developed such a close relationship with a right-wing fanatic like Rick Berman.
It appears Bob McAdam, best known as Big Tobacco’s liar-in-chief, has created a culture of lies and deception at Wal-Mart that threatens the company’s credibility with the media, consumers and the American people. Since Bob McAdam joined the company, Wal-Mart has misled the public on its health care statistics, lied on its banking application, and falsely claimed it didn’t know it was hiring illegal workers. Lee Culpepper’s relationship with Berman is equally reprehensible.
America must wonder why Wal-Mart wants to be associated with three individuals who have spent their careers lobbying against the public interest including defending mercury poisoning, drunk driving, and big tobacco.
Unless Wal-Mart wants to be forever associated with these abhorrent causes, Wal-Mart needs to immediately fire its right-wing attack dogs Bob McAdam and Lee Culpepper, end its disgusting association with Rick Berman’s group, and issue an apology to all of the hard-working families demonized by Mr. Berman.””
May 26, 2006
DOCUMENTS EXPOSE WAL-MART’S SECRET PLAN TO CUT WORKERS’ HOURS, SHIFT TO A MAJORITY PART-TIME WORKFORCE, AND CUT BENEFITS FOR FULL-TIME WORKERS “”TRANSITIONED”” TO PART-TIME
Washington D.C. – Today, WakeUpWalMart.com, America’s campaign to change Wal-Mart, released copies of Wal-Mart’s new health care benefits plan for current part-time employees and full-time employees “”transitioned”” to part-time. The health care documents were given to the group by Wal-Mart employees concerned about the terrible effects that Wal-Mart’s new policies, in particular the drastic transition from full-time to part-time, are having on employee morale, customer service and store performance.
The first document, a 7-page booklet, titled “”My Benefits: New Peak Time Benefits: Making a Difference for You,”” details the specific changes to Wal-Mart’s health care benefits which the company announced last month. The second document is a memo from Wal-Mart’s “”administrative committee”” to all “”full and peak-time hourly associates,”” titled a “”Summary of Material Modifications to Associates’ Health and Welfare Plan.””
Both documents were given to employees as part of a special enrollment period which runs from May 15-26, 2006. The special enrollment period, however, is not open to all Wal-Mart associates. Only associates who are part-time and have more than 1 year of service but less than 2 years of service (part-timers with more than 2 years of service are only eligible if they enroll their dependent) and full-time employees who were just ‘transitioned’ to part-time status, are eligible to enroll.
“”Based on these new documents, either Wal-Mart falsely claimed it would offer its low cost plan to 50% of its Associates, or Wal-Mart has ‘transitioned’ many more workers to part-time than has been reported publicly. Either way, Wal-Mart’s rhetoric doesn’t match reality, and Wal-Mart workers are paying way too high a price,”” said Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com.
Based on the two documents, it is obvious Wal-Mart’s “”new health care changes”” will do little to expand health care coverage for many of its 1.3 million employees. Rather, Wal-Mart’s health care changes are clearly structured to cut health care costs and minimize the public relations disaster from slashing over 200,000 full-time jobs and replacing or transitioning them with low paid part-time workers.
According to a JP Morgan report issued in January 2006, as well as the infamous internal health care memo authored by Wal-Mart Executive Vice President Susan Chambers, Wal-Mart publicly states it intends to shift hundreds of thousands of full-time workers to part-time status. In the two health care documents, Wal-Mart coldly refers to this shift as a “”transition”” and now describes part-time workers as “”peak-time”” employees.
Under the new health care changes, all ‘transitioned’ employees lose most of their benefits, including dental, life insurance and disability immediately, and will lose their health care benefit after one year. In addition, part-time Associates are unable to enroll their spouses. The lack of spousal coverage is consistent with Wal-Mart’s desire to cut health care costs by decreasing spousal coverage. As Chambers states in the memo, “”spouses are by far the most expensive plan members to cover.””
Unfortunately, Wal-Mart’s new health care plans continue to remain unaffordable for the average Wal-Mart employee. Wal-Mart’s most affordable health care option, the Value Plan, has a $3,000 deductible for family coverage and several other deductibles for prescription drug coverage and hospital procedures. Based on all of the premiums and deductibles in the so-called ‘Value’ plan, a part-time Wal-Mart employee could have to pay up to 58% of his/her salary for an individual plan and up to 93% for family coverage.
Most disturbingly, newly transitioned employees who take advantage of this special enrollment will lose any money they have already spent on their deductible and will once again have to pay the full $3,000 deductible.
“”For the sake of Wal-Mart’s workers, their families, and the American taxpayer, we call on Lee Scott and Wal-Mart to propose real health care changes that don’t dangerously discriminate against single, uninsured part-time workers and exclude health care coverage for spouses. Wal-Mart’s plan to expand health care coverage to employees while making it more unaffordable through lower pay and less hours is deceptive and a national disgrace,”” added Blank.
Based on the two leaked health care documents, Wal-Mart workers will face significant restrictions under the new health care changes, including:
1) Only uninsured part-time Wal-Mart workers, who also insure their dependents, are eligible to enroll during this special enrollment period.
- “”If you are a peak-time hourly Associate who has been employed by Wal-Mart for more than two years and are not currently enrolled in any medical coverage option offered by the AHWP, you may enroll yourself in any of the available peak time medical coverage options (except HSA Qualified or HSA Qualified Performance plans), but only if you enroll your dependent children.”” (Memo: Summary of Material Modifications to Associates Health and Welfare Plan; p. 2)
2) Spouses of part-time associates will not be eligible during this enrollment period.
- “”Your spouse is not eligible for Medical coverage.”” (My Benefits: New Peak Time Benefits Making a Difference for You: page 3)
3) Former full-time workers, now reduced to part-time workers, will lose an array of additional benefits.
- “”Dental, Optional Life Insurance, Company-Paid Life Insurance, Dependent Life Insurance, Accidental Death and Dismemberment, Short-term Disability, Short-term Disability Plus, and Long-Term Disability – will stop at the end of the pay period in which you transition.”” (My Benefits: New Peak Time Benefits Making a Difference for You: page 4)
4) Former full-time Wal-Mart workers, now reduced to part-time workers, who change plans during this “”Special Enrollment”” period will lose credit for any money they have already spent against their deductible. Therefore, a worker could have to pay as much as $3,000 in deductibles twice.
- “”If you switch Medical plans, or if you change your deductible during the Special Enrollment or within 60 days due to your transition, your annual deductible will start over. Amounts already incurred toward your annual deductible will not carry over to your new plan option or new deductible.”” (My Benefits: New Peak Time Benefits Making a Difference for You: page 4)
5) Wal-Mart made no changes to the cost of the deductible for family or individual coverage on any plans. Deductibles on Wal-Mart’s most affordable plan are as high as $3,000 for family coverage and $1,000 for individual coverage.
- Copies of the two Wal-Mart health care documents describing these health care changes are available for download at www.WakeUpWalMart.com.
May 12, 2006
Today’s New York Times reports on a ‘secret Wal-Mart memo’ obtained by WakeUpWalMart.com which shows how Wal-Mart is exerting corporate pressure to force suppliers to join a right-wing front group bought and paid for by Wal-Mart.
Unbelievably, though, despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary, Working Families for Wal-Mart, more accurately described as ‘Wal-Mart for Wal-Mart,’ still claims that it is “”autonomous.”” But, the truth is the group is 100% controlled by Wal-Mart and run out of the same office as Wal-Mart’s war room. Even ‘Wal-Mart for Wal-Mart’ steering committee member Martha Montoya, when asked if the organization had received money from anyone other than Wal-Mart said, “”No, not that I know of.””
“”This just exposes what a sham Wal-Mart’s publicity stunts have become. Wal-Mart has become so desperate it is even willing to cross the line and intimidate its suppliers to try and salvage Wal-Mart’s faltering public image,”” said Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com
The memo, authored by Terry Nelson (the former National Political Director for Bush-Cheney 2004), asks suppliers to join Wal-Mart’s front group because, “”Wal-Mart is under attack, and Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club suppliers have the power to do something about it and help protect their business.””
Unfortunately, Wal-Mart’s memo to suppliers makes no mention of the fact that Wal-Mart’s image is declining because the company pays poverty level wages, provides unaffordable health care, helps ship U.S. jobs overseas, is being sued for discrimination, and continues to get caught for child labor violations.
Rather than address these serious issues, Wal-Mart is now using its own personal right-wing front group to try and deceive the American people. The group, in conjunction with two right-wing firms, The Herald Group and Crosslink Strategies, is running a smoke and mirrors campaign, complete with paid steering committee members and canvassers, to create a false impression that there are people willing to defend the indefensible.
We hope this memo will expose ‘Wal-Mart for Wal-Mart’ for the sham that it is and will begin to force the company to address the real issues in this campaign. Until Wal-Mart changes, WakeUpWalMart.com, on behalf of the American people and its 231,000 real grassroots supporters, will continue to build the largest grassroots campaign to change a corporation in history proving the power we all have to change Wal-Mart and change America for the better.
To download a copy of the memo please visit www.WakeUpWalMart.com.
May 2, 2006
57 COMMUNITY GROUPS SIGN JOINT LETTER CALLING ON WAL-MART TO IMPROVE SECURITY BY MOTHER’S DAY
Washington, DC – Today, WakeUpWalMart.com, America’s campaign to change Wal-Mart, released the first national study on Wal-Mart and crime. The study, entitled “”Is Wal-Mart Safe?”” analyzed the official 2004 police incident reports (i.e. calls for police service) at 551 Wal-Mart store locations. Among the key findings of the study, include:
- In 2004, police received 148,331 calls for service for the 551 Wal-Mart stores analyzed, averaging 269 reported police incidents per store.
- For just the 551 stores sampled, there were 2,909 reported police calls for “”violent or serious crimes,”” including 4 homicides, 9 rapes or attempts, 23 kidnappings or attempts, 154 sex crimes, 550 robberies or attempts and 1,024 auto thefts.
- Based on the number of reported police incidents for the sample, it is estimated police responded to nearly 1 million police incidents at Wal-Mart in 2004 costing taxpayers $77 million annually.
- Wal-Mart stores have a significantly higher number of reported police incidents than nearby Target stores. For the sample, the average rate of reported police incidents at Wal-Mart stores was 400% higher than the average rate of incidents at nearby Target stores.
The full study “”Is Wal-Mart Safe?”” and the official police incident reports are available for download and review at www.WalMartCrimeReport.com.
“”The high number of reported police incidents at Wal-Mart stores is shocking and outrageous. Wal-Mart’s customers and the community have a right to know whether or not their Wal-Mart is safe. Wal-Mart should immediately fund an independent study to explore the issue of crime at Wal-Mart stores nationwide and immediately take the necessary steps, including putting in roving security patrols and staffing security cameras, to ensure the safety of its customers at every Wal-Mart store,”” said Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com.
WakeUpWalMart.com released its study, “”Is Wal-Mart Safe?”” as part of a nationwide initiative called “”Help Make Wal-Mart Safe by Mother’s Day.”” As part of the initiative, WakeUpWalMart.com and 57 community groups released a joint letter calling on Wal-Mart’s management to immediately address the public safety issues and concerns of its consumers – 70 percent of whom are women shoppers – by taking all of the necessary steps to improve security at all of its stores by Mother’s Day.
“”Public safety and crime are serious issues. Despite internal warnings about crime at some of Wal-Mart’s stores, it is clear Wal-Mart still has a high number of reported police incidents at too many stores. As our nation’s largest retailer, Americans deserve to know the truth about whether or not Wal-Mart is safe,”” added Blank.
As a service to the general public, WakeUpWalMart.com also launched a new website, WalMartCrimeReport.com. WalMartCrimeReport.com will collect and disseminate Wal-Mart crime data to the general public. The website allows customers and the general public to download copies of the official police incident reports sent to us by local police departments. The WalMartCrimeReport.com website will also provide a variety of documents that chronicle statements by Wal-Mart officials on public safety, including internal Wal-Mart memos on public safety issues.
WakeUpWalMart.com is a national movement of 225,000 Americans in all 50 states who have joined together to change Wal-Mart into a responsible and moral corporation.
April 20, 2006
WAKEUPWALMART.COM CALLS ON WAL-MART CEO LEE SCOTT TO “”WORK TOGETHER”” AND “”SEIZE THE MOMENT FOR TRUE CHANGE””
ANNOUNCES GOAL OF 1 MILLION GRASSROOTS SUPPORTERS BY DECEMBER 2008
Rogers, AR – In anticipation of CEO Lee Scott’s speech before the national media, WakeUpWalmart.com, America’s campaign to change Wal-Mart, called on Wal-Mart to “”seize the moment for true change”” and “”work together to make Wal-Mart a better company.”” The group, again, offered to sit down with Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott, and his executive team, to find specific, fair and just solutions that would improve the lives of its 1.3 million workers, their families, and help change America for the better.
WakeUpWalMart.com also announced it will be holding rallies in 35 cities all across America next week featuring its new national campaign slogan – “”Change Wal-Mart, Change America.”” Beginning next week, WakeUpWalMart.com will launch a series of initiatives across the country based on this new message and theme. As part of this new grassroots push, WakeUpWalMart.com, already one of America fastest growing movements in America with over 212,000 grassroots supporters, announced it is setting a goal of at least 1 million supporters by December 2008.
As part of this new initiative, Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalmart.com issued the following statement:
“”Now is the time for Wal-Mart to seize the moment for true change. The American people are tired of publicity stunts, half-truths and empty words that have become synonymous with corporate America. Americans wants Wal-Mart to change for the better, to be a responsible corporation, and to reflect the best of our values.
We renew our offer to work together with Wal-Mart on specific, just and fair solutions to help make Wal-Mart a better business, and we remain committed to our goal of making sure Wal-Mart pays a living wage, provides affordable, comprehensive health care to all of its workers, adopts a zero tolerance policy on child labor, ends discrimination, protects American manufacturing jobs, and addresses the community concerns of crime, traffic, congestion and sprawl associated with a Wal-Mart store.
The debate over Wal-Mart is now a major political, moral and economic issue in America, and our campaign for social and economic justice cannot and will not end until Wal-Mart changes. In the coming months and year, we will grow our movement from 212,300 supporters to 1 million supporters who believe, like we do, the American people have the power and the responsibility to ‘Change Wal-Mart and Change America’.””
April 5, 2006
Washington D.C. – Today, WakeUpWalMart.com celebrated its one year anniversary by announcing more than 210,000 supporters have joined America’s campaign to change Wal-Mart in its first year – including 25,690 in just the last month alone. As part of the first year anniversary celebration, WakeUpWalMart.com also released a new 8-minute grassroots video/DVD, entitled, “”America’s Campaign to Change Wal-Mart.”” The video/DVD will be a key organizing tool for grassroots supporters and will be used to launch our new monthly, local community meetings called WakeUps to reach out and recruit new supporters.
In addition, WakeUpWalMart.com announced a new goal of reaching 1 million supporters by the end of 2008.
“”Thanks to our supporters, we had an incredible first year. With 210,000 supporters, we have made Wal-Mart a key public issue, exposed the negative impact Wal-Mart is having on its workers and our communities and forced Wal-Mart to respond. If we could accomplish this with 210,000 people, imagine what we will be able to do with 1 million Americans united to change Wal-Mart,”” said Paul Blank, campaign director, WakeUpWalMart.com
Since the campaign’s launch on April 5th, 2005, WakeUpWalmart.com has become one of fastest growing social movements in America. WakeUpWalmart.com has led the national campaign to change Wal-Mart by running 15 separate mini-campaigns on themes such as “”Stop the Wal-Mart Health Care Crisis,”” scrutinizing Wal-Mart in the national, state and local media, conducting extensive research on Wal-Mart’s business and employment practices, and holding thousands of grassroots actions in dozens of cities and states all across America.
“”During the next year, our supporters are going to grow WakeUpWalMart.com into the most powerful force for change Wal-Mart has ever seen. On behalf of the American people, we will not stop and we will not rest until Wal-Mart changes into a responsible and moral corporation. We can only hope Wal-Mart finally wakes up and pursues the kind of real change the American people are waiting for,”” added Blank.
We launched many mini-campaigns over the last year, including : the “”Fair Share for Health Care”” campaign, where one brave Wal-Mart worker, Cynthia Murray, helped pass Fair Share Health Care legislation in Maryland; a 5-week Holiday Campaign with over 1,400 actions in at least 25 states; our “”2006 March Madness-Tournament for Change”” membership drive, where over 25,000 new supporters joined our campaign; our “”Nothing’s Scarier than Not Having Health Care”” campaign, where over 113 Halloween candy fundraisers were held in 91 cities in 31 states to raise health care money for Wal-Mart workers; the “”Send Wal-Mart Back to School”” campaign, where WakeUpWalmart.com joined with America’s two largest teachers organizations, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers; the “”Make Wal-Mart Care About Health Care”” campaign, where grassroots supporters held 120 house parties in 38 states and community leaders held nine press conferences in 9 different states; the “”Stop the Wal-Mart Nazi Ad”” campaign, where our grassroots supporters forced Wal-Mart to apologize for using a Nazi image; and the “”Love Mom, Not Wal-Mart”” campaign, where over 21,000 supporters pledged not to buy their Mother’s Day Gifts from Wal-Mart.
April 5, 2006
In the face of a faltering public image, Wal-Mart seems determined to launch almost daily public relations stunts that speak loudly about change, but fall terribly short.
What the American people want is for Wal-Mart to start addressing why so many of its employees are paid poverty-level wages, why hundreds of thousands of its workers and families are provided unaffordable health care or left uninsured, and why town after town must struggle with crime, traffic, sprawl, and the loss of both small businesses and good-paying manufacturing jobs. If Wal-Mart really believes in real change, these are the issues which Wal-Mart must first address.
We would hope that in the future Wal-Mart will effectively address the very issues that the American people care about and which have led to Wal-Mart’s poor public image. We can only hope that for the sake of a better America, that day comes sooner rather than later.