Wal-Mart has announced that it is sending letters to its 18,000 Iowa employees and also to the Democratic politicians defending itself from attacks of union-backed group “Wake Up Wal-Mart” after a series of rallies in Iowa this week.
The letter so-called “Voter Education Guide” denounces the presidential hopefuls for joining the campaign-style events.
In the letter released Tuesday the retailer said, “We believe it’s wrong for these political candidates to attack Wal-Mart and the transformation under way at our company.”
“We would never suggest to you how to vote, but we have an obligation to tell you when politicians are saying something about your company that isn’t true,” it said.
The group has been pressurizing Wal-Mart to provide higher wages and better health care to its 1.3 million U.S. employees. The group also charges the retailer of shifting U.S. jobs overseas by selling low-priced imports.
In letters to potential Democratic presidential candidates and party leaders, Wal-Mart invited them to meet with the company “without the fanfare of media or staff or supporters.
“We don’t want this to be about politics – the union-funded groups are already doing enough of that for the both of us,” the letter said.
The company’s letter to its Iowa employees said it is important that they help it respond to criticism.
“We want you to know that your voice matters when these political candidates attack your company. We urge you to talk with your friends, your family and your neighbors about the good Wal-Mart does,” the letter said.
A press release by the Bentonville, Ark.-based Company said that polling data shows voters do not agree with attacks on Wal-Mart by candidates.
According to the release, 62 percent of those surveyed by Democratic pollster Thomas Riehle for the Cook Political Report disapprove of “Democratic candidates making Wal-Mart an issue in November’s elections,” while only 21 percent approve.
Even a majority of union households opposed this strategy, according to the company.
Overall, 40 percent of registered voters would vote against an anti-Wal-Mart Democratic candidate, while just 18 percent would vote for such a candidate, the company’s statement said.
Wal-Mart’s letter to its employees says that published schedules show U.S. Sens. Evan Bayh of Indiana and Joseph Biden of Delaware, and Govs. Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Tom Vilsack of Iowa are taking part in the rallies against the company.
However, the letter made no mention about Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, who the Wake-Up Wal-Mart site said has also joined the group in criticism of the company.