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    News and Updates


September 7, 2005

WakeUpWalMart.com Joins with New York City Leaders to Celebrate Passage of Health Care Bill

Washington, D.C, – Today, WakeUpWalMart.com, America’s national campaign to change Wal-Mart, proudly joined with NYC Council Speaker Gifford Miller, Councilwoman Christine Quinn, Jobs With Justice, the Brennan Center, and other community, civic, and business leaders from all over New York City to celebrate the passage of the Health Care Security Act (HCSA). As many as 42 New York City Councilmembers co-sponsored the legislation which enjoys wide support among many employers within the business community.  The bill is expected to officially pass the New York City Council with broad support today – August 17, 2005.

“”This is not only a great day for New York City, it is a great day for all Americans who believe profitable companies, like Wal-Mart, have a responsibility to do what is right and provide health care for their workers,”” said Paul Blank, Campaign Director for WakeUpWalMart.com.

The Health Care Security Act is a historic piece of legislation as it represents the first attempt in the nation to establish a “”health care minimum wage.”” The bill will also hold employers, like Wal-Mart, accountable for failing to provide health care coverage for their employees. The legislation will be one of the first laws in the United States to require employers to pay for their employees’ health care.

HCSA already enjoys wide-spread support among New York City businesses, including Fairway, D’Agostinos, Key Food, Pathmark, and Stop & Shop. As many as 12,000 employees and their families in the grocery industry in New York City could gain health care as a result of the bill. The bill would also help protect the health care coverage for over 44,000 workers and their families.

“”It is incredible to see New York City’s elected officials unite with business, labor, and community leaders to pass a law that provides health care for thousands of more Americans. This should serve as a wake-up call to companies, like Wal-Mart, that New Yorkers expect corporations, not taxpayers, to provide health care for their workers,”” added Paul Blank.

The passage of the HCSA in New York City represents growing national momentum to make employers, like Wal-Mart, care about health care and provide affordable and comprehensive health care coverage for their workers. Already, as part of WakeUpWalMart.com’s “”Make Wal-Mart Care About Health Care”” campaign, thousands of Americans are leading statewide efforts to introduce “”Fair Share Health Care”” legislation. WakeUpWalMart.com, and its 68,000 supporters, are committed to introducing “”Fair Share Health Care”” legislation in all 50 states by early next year.


WakeUpWalMart.com is leading the national effort to change Wal-Mart’s health care practices. Among the many accomplishments of the group include:

  • The launch of the “”Make Wal-Mart Care About Health Care”” national campaign. As part of this initiative, a series of press conferences were held in 8 states with community and civic leaders Supporters of the launch of this health care campaign also took part in over 325 Meet-Ups in over 270 cities involving over 10,000 supporters of Democracy for America (DFA) and WakeUpWalMart.com. Press conferences with civic, community, and labor leaders were held in Concord, NH; Seattle, WA; Phoenix, AZ; Madison, WI; Little Rock, AR; Austin, TX; Hartford, CT; and Atlanta, GA.
  • Hosted a press conference with Senator Ted Kennedy, Senator John Corzine, and Representative Anthony Weiner to introduce the Health Care Accountability Act – the first national legislation that would expose the true cost that American taxpayers bear because Wal-Mart forces tens of thousands of its workers onto public health care, like Medicaid.
  • Held house meetings in 134 cities and 38 states where nearly 2,000 citizens agreed to become citizen co-sponsors of “”Fair Share Health Care”” legislation. The WakeUpWalMart.com campaign will be leading the effort to introduce “”Fair Share Health Care”” legislation in all 50 states in the coming months.


August 29, 2005

When Will Wal-Mart Demand An Investigation of Wal-Mart?

Washington, DC – Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart and ASDA, its British subsidiary, achieved a new level of global irony this weekend calling for a government investigation into the market dominance of one of its foreign competitors, TESCO. As reported by The Sunday Times, Scott demanded that the British Government investigate its chief grocery rival TESCO because of what Scott sees as the company’s growing market dominance in Britain. Scott stated that “”as you get to over 30 percent and higher, I am sure there is a point where government is compelled to intervene….at some point the Government has to look at it.””

“”Scott criticizing TESCO for its market dominance is like Enron criticizing Arthur Anderson for its accounting practices.  Wal-Mart is using its immoral business practices as a competitive advantage over responsible corporations.  The question for Wal-Mart should be when will Wal-Mart demand an investigation of itself?”” said, Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com

Lee Scott’s statement is especially ironic in light of the facts about Wal-Mart’s market share here in the United States.

Here are the facts:

  1. Wal-Mart accounts for 60% of the sales for the $379 billion market called Discount Department and General Merchandise stores.
  2. Wal-Mart’s general merchandise dominance means it has sales nearly 5 times more than their next closest competitor and double the sales of their next 3 closest competitors (Costco, Target and Kmart) combined.
  3. Wal-Mart controls approximately 24% of grocery sales in the United States (more than double its next closest competitor), very similar to TESCO’s position in the United Kingdom.
  4. Wal-Mart sells more groceries than their top 3 competitors combined.
  5. Wal-Mart sells 30% of household staples bought in the United States, including items such as toothpaste, shampoo, and paper towels, according to Business Week.
  6. A report prepared by Retail Forward in 2003 forecasted that Wal-Mart’s domestic supermarket-type sales could go from an estimated $82 billion to $162 billion by 2007. In the process, Wal-Mart will consume almost a third of the expected growth in US spending on grocery and drug products during 2003-2007. Growth of this magnitude would give Wal-Mart control of 35% of food store industry sales and 25% of the drug store industry – and put many entrenched players in jeopardy.
  7. Grocery Industry statistics Ranked by Percentage:24% Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club
    10% Kroger
    7% Albertson’s
    6% Safeway

    Discount department & General Merchandise stores ($379 billion) Ranked by sales:

    Wal-Mart & Sam’s Club $229 bill
    Costco $47 bill
    Target $47 bill
    Kmart $20 bill


July 24, 2005


Statement by Paul Blank, WakeUpWalMart.com’s campaign director on the startling new revelations from Wal-Mart’s gender discrimination lawsuit, Dukes vs. Wal-Mart Stores.

According to internal documents and depositions, Wal-Mart was warned that it
may have a discrimination problem and chose to do nothing about it.  Wal-Mart formed a diversity committee in 1996, but, instead of implementing the committee’s recommendations, Wal-Mart disbanded the panel.  Two years later, Wal-Mart’s gender discrimination problem actually got worse.

In fact, an internal Wal-Mart document entitled, “”Minority/Gender Pay Analysis”” dated July 21, 2000 specifically states, “”Generally, average salaries for female and minority males are below the overall average pay for most jobs.  *Average pay increases for minority males and females are generally below overall average income ratio across most jobs.””

This led Jeffrey Reeves, a former vice president for personnel at the company’s Sam’s Club unit in a January 2003 deposition, when asked about whether or not management wanted to seriously address diversity, to state, “”I would say a lot was lip service.””

“”Today, we are stunned by Wal-Mart’s blatant disregard for women and minorities.  Wal-Mart’s greed caused more than 1.6 million of its female employees to suffer.  Wal-Mart needs to stop paying, in its own employee’s words, “”lip service”” to its discrimination problems and tell the American people the truth.””

Unfortunately, this is not the first time Wal-Mart has ignored or disbanded the findings of an internal investigation.  In 2000, for example, an internal Wal-Mart audit found “”extensive violations of child labor laws and state regulations requiring time for breaks and meals.””  In just one week, the audit found 1,371 violations.  Wal-Mart chose to stop the audit and as a result children suffered.  Just 3 weeks ago, Wal-Mart was fined once again for repeated child labor violations in Connecticut.

“”Wal-Mart wants to ignore serious problems at the expense of women, children and our country.  The American public is going to hold Wal-Mart accountable for the high cost we all pay for Wal-Mart’s $10 billion in profit.””

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June 23, 2005

Kennedy, Corzine and Weiner Introduce New Health Care Legislation to Hold Companies, like Wal-Mart, Accountable

Washington D.C. – Today, Senator Ted Kennedy, Senator Jon Corzine and Representative Anthony Weiner announced the introduction of the Health Care


Accountability Act (HCAA) to expose the growing problem of profitable companies, like Wal-Mart, forcing workers onto public health care designed for the needy. The legislation is an important first step in the growing national campaign to “”Make Wal-Mart Care About Health Care”” launched by WakeUpWalMart.com.

The HCAA bill will expose the “”Wal-Mart Health Care Tax”” – the price we all pay because Wal-Mart fails to provide its workers with affordable health care.  Not only do more than 600,000 Wal-Mart workers go without company provided health insurance, but tens of thousands of their employees are forced to rely on taxpayer funded public health care.

“”Wal-Mart’s poverty wages, high deductibles and strict eligibility requirements force tens of thousands of their employees to rely on taxpayer funded public health care,”” said President Joe Hansen.  “”The Wal-Mart health care crisis costs taxpayers over $210 million and counting.  It is simply un-American and unfair for a company with over $10 billion in profits to shift their costs onto us.””

The HCAA requires all states to gather and release the number of employees that companies have on taxpayer funded public health care. The gathering and disclosure of this data is critical to estimating the considerable cost taxpayers already bear because of the failure of large, profitable employers who force workers and their families onto public health care assistance.

“”Programs like Medicaid provide a critical safety net for low-income women and children, the disabled and the elderly and shouldn’t be a profit center for large companies like Wal-Mart,”” said Senator Ted Kennedy.

In at least 12 states, Wal-Mart has more employees, spouses and dependents on state public assistance than any other employer in the state.  In the state of Georgia, for


example, more than 10,000 children on PeachCare (the state’s health care program for low income children) had parents working for Wal-Mart at an estimated cost of $10 million per year.  The next largest employer only had 734 children in the program.

“”Americans pay a high price for Wal-Mart’s race to the bottom.  We deserve to know the truth about the high cost of Wal-Mart’s greed,”” said Paul Blank, Campaign Director for WakeUpWalMart.com.

At the press conference, WakeUpWalMart.com revealed the “”Wal-Mart Health Care Tax”” bill, a 3-foot-by-6-foot replica of an actual “”Wal-Mart bill.”” The bill displays the estimated dollar cost U.S. taxpayers pay for Wal-Mart’s failure to provide health insurance to their workers.  A large map of the United States was also displayed to symbolize “”America’s Hidden Health Care Cost”” – the 4-foot map of the United States that will display how little state data is available and how hidden the cost to taxpayers and our health care system remains.


Wal-Mart, a company with $10 billion dollars in net profit last year, fails to provide health care for more than 52% percent of its 1.3 million workers. In 12 of 13 states with released and analyzed data, Wal-Mart workers rely on public health care, like Medicaid, more than the workers of any other employer.

As a result, in state after state, Wal-Mart is directly shifting its health care responsibilities onto American taxpayers. Central to the campaign will be a grassroots effort to build public and political pressure against Wal-Mart to address its part in America’s health care crisis, as well as a call for legislative action that will ensure Wal-Mart – not taxpayers – pays its fair share for health care in each and every state.

The “”Make Wal-Mart Care About Health Care”” campaign initiative is part of a nationwide effort to change Wal-Mart led by wakeupwalmart.com

May 12, 2005


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.

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 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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