October, 2006

Wal-Mart Gets Heat from Conservatives for Joining Gay Group

WalMart Gets Heat from Conservatives for Joining Gay Group

Nearly two months after Wal-Mart announced its membership into the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, an anti-gay organization is sounding off, asking its own members to avoid shopping at the retail giant. The American Family Association is reminding its supporters that Wal-Mart recently joined the NGLCC and says Wal-Mart plans to give “two large grants” to the organization.

According to Cybercast News Service, the president of the NGLCC said he expects Wal-Mart to use its influence to pressure suppliers such as Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson and Gillette to give preferential treatment to businesses owned by gay and lesbians. The AFA, noting that the NGLCC is a leading promoter of same-sex marriage, is urging conservatives to take action: “Send your email to Wal-Mart expressing you displeasure with their promotion of homosexual marriage,” AFA told its supporters, reports CNS. “Call your local Wal-Mart manager and express your displeasure.”

According to the Agape Press, AFA states it found (via a search function at Walmart.com) more than 1,100 items for sale when the term “gay” was entered, almost 500 in response to the term “lesbian,” and more than a hundred based on the terms “transgender,” “bisexual,” and “gay marriage.” Sharp says the corporate giant’s new link to support of the homosexual agenda is clear. “There’s no question that Wal-Mart is supporting homosexuality,” Randy Sharp, AFA’s director of special projects, told the Agape Press. “They’re supporting the homosexual agenda, whose number-one directive is to bring same-sex marriage to America.”

Despite all the pressure and criticism, Wal-Mart stock was up this week. Accrding to the Associated Press, Wal-Mart pleased investors with its announcement that it “plans to bring costs in line with a slowdown in sales and earnings growth.” Even so, the company reportedly plans to open stores in 600 new locations next year, reports the AP.


Monday's Wal-Mart Events

Here is a short clip courtesy of the guys from JWJ, on one of the demonstrations that went on in NYC Monday. We’re putting together the rest of our media from the days events, thanks again to everyone who came out and showed their support.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNcqzXk80aw]

Wal-Mart at 30 Rockefeller…meet NYC

Last night 40-50 concerned community members joined at 30 Rock to tell Lee Scott he and his irresponsible company are not welcome in New York City. It was a successful night filled with chants that surely intimidated the Wal-Mart entourage. Scott, who received an environmental award last night, knows Wal-Mart is not welcome in New York(taken from Wal-Mart’s fake blog www.paidcritics.com).
Our organization has brought people of all backgrounds together to fight for a common cause. We have all seen the
facts of the affect Wal-Mart has on communities, how they treat their employees, and their disrespect for labor laws. along with the help of community activists has stopped them from opening stores throughout the five boroughs. We Thank all of you for your support.

Press from yesterday’s events…

NY Metro: http://ny.metro.us/metro/local/article/WalMart__MTV/5295.html
NY SUN: http://www.nysun.com/article/42161

Join us in Welcoming Lee Scott to Manhattan…

Monday October 26th

5:30 pm

30 Rockerfeller Center 49th st. Entrance

WALMART

Continues their Attempt to Enter Our City

Lee Scott To Be Honored

Show him Low Wages,

Increased Polution, No Benefit Jobs AREN’T WELCOME IN NYC

For More Information and to RSVP Please

Email: Walmartfreenyc@yahoo.com

Wake up Wal-Mart T-Shirts will be Distributed at the Event

Jury: Wal-Mart to Pay Workers $78M-Plus

Wal-Mart must pay at least $78.5 million for violating Pennsylvania labor laws by forcing employees to work through rest breaks and off the clock, a jury found Friday.

Plaintiffs’ lawyer Michael Donovan will also seek another $62 million in damages because the jury found that Wal-Mart acted in bad faith. Common Pleas Judge Mark Bernstein is expected to rule on that issue in the next few weeks.

The jury awarded the exact amount the plaintiffs sought, rejecting Wal-Mart’s claim that some employees chose to work through breaks and that the loss of a few minutes’ pay here or there was insignificant.

Reason #439 Not to let Wal-Mart in our Unique City.

Wal-Marting Across America – The Flog

Honestly, after reading countless articles and reports on the great people who run Wal-Mart and their PR department you learn to laugh at some of the ridiculous stunts they try and pull over the eyes of American people. Regardless of where we stand on Wal-Mart, their ethics and Public Relations are a joke. Whether it be hiring fake liberal politicians, creating fake organizations or establishing front groups now what is simply the icing on the cake, Fake couples and their Fake traveling stories.

It has finally been revealed that the humorus flog (fake blog), www.WalMartingAcrossAmerica.com is a flat out PR stunt.
MediaPost.com has revealed the truth about the two travelers “Jim” and “Laura”. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Jim and Laura, here is a quick summary on what their blog was about…

Jim and Laura are like every American couple, hard workers just simply in search of a fabulous vacation from their full-time jobs. One day Jim and Laura had a brainstorm,

I started thinking about all the other amazing things there are to see in this vast country of ours. And then I started thinking about how Wal-Mart — one in every town, practically — lets you park overnight for free.”

Great idea, couldn’t have said it better myself, this is where we encounter our first problem(s), they don’t exist (yet at least). Through non-stop heavy criticism from bloggers proclaiming that Jim and Laura did not exist, they now do…Wal-Mart Watch: Identity revealed.

“Laura” is now Laura St. Claire, a freelance writer. Jim is James Thresher, a professional photographer and Washington Post employee. Freelancing although, is against his contract with the Post, which has ordered him to return Wal-Mart’s money and remove his photos from the flog.

“Wal-Mart has hired fake people,” says Jonathan Rees, a labor historian and associate professor at Colorado State University at Pueblo, who has also worked as a staff researcher at the AFL-CIO. In a blog posting for the Web site The Writing On the Wal, Reese published an open letter to Laura and Jim challenging them to reveal themselves and asking who paid for their RV and gas.

When the blog was first released, many bloggers immediately knew how unrealistic the blog was. There has been plenty, not surprisingly… there’s more here, here, and elsewhere.

Businessweek sums up the entire confusting soap opera here in this report – “Jim & Laura- The Real Story”

Blogging is an independent way for regular people to voice their opinions and feelings. We’re fine with Wal-Mart running a blog, what we shouldn’t be fine with is the integrity of their blogs. Wal-Mart trying to create this ‘hip’ image that it is so far from, this is yet another example of Wal-Mart’s attempt to fool their consumers. Another reason why this company is extremely messed up.

“Edelman wanted to make consumers think that Wal-Mart is a hip place that you’d want to use as the anchor point for a roadtrip. The problem is it’s not. And because blogging is not a control-based medium, Edelman couldn’t make Wal-Mart appear to be something it’s not. It rang false, and they got caught.”
Publishing 2.0


Wal-Mart Adjusts Attendance Policy – Jury awards Wal-Mart Workers 78.4 million

Wal-Mart Adjusts Attendance Policy

Critics Say Plan Is Designed
To Pare Unhealthy Workers;
1-800 Number for Sick Days
By KRIS HUDSON and KRIS MAHER

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has enacted a new attendance policy that penalizes workers for multiple unexcused absences and requires them to call an 800 number whenever they get sick, changes critics say are part of a bigger effort to nudge out unhealthy and long-tenured employees.

Also on the labor front, a Pennsylvania jury on Friday awarded $78.4 million to thousands of Wal-Mart employees who claimed they were forced to work during rest breaks and off the clock.

Wal-Mart, of Bentonville, Ark., says the new attendance policy benefits employees by documenting their requests for time off instead of relying on harried store managers to remember each request. And it benefits shoppers by discouraging unexcused absenteeism. “It’s not for tracking; it’s really to ensure a more consistent application of our absentee policy,” spokesman John Simley said.

The new policy instructs employees requesting time off for illness to call an 800 number to get a code and then relay that code to their store manager for approval of their absence. Previously, employees asked their store manager directly for such time off, employees say.

In addition, the new policy formalizes penalties for employees who fail to get their absences authorized or don’t bother to call. Among them: Any employee with more than three unauthorized absences in a six-month span will be disciplined, and those with seven will be fired. Any employee who is absent three times during a six-month period and doesn’t call the 800 number for any of the three times can be fired. And employees needing more than three consecutive sick days are encouraged to apply for an unpaid leave of absence or time off under the Family Medical Leave Act. Previously, store managers had more discretion regarding discipline for unexcused absences.

The policy change comes at a time when some of Wal-Mart’s 1.3 million U.S. workers are riled by fears that the retailer wants to cut costs by attracting healthier employees and a greater percentage of part-time workers. Some employees and Wal-Mart critics decry the new policy as a way for Wal-Mart to discourage unhealthy employees by tracking sick-time use more closely, setting stricter guidelines for authorization and making the process of applying for sick leave more onerous.

“I guess they’re just trying to see how many people they can get rid of,” said Ramiro Gonzalez, a 49-year-old full-time worker in the produce section of a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas. “They’re trying to make ways that you can mess it up so they can let you go, especially if you’re a full-timer.”

Wal-Mart’s concerns about its soaring health-insurance costs came to light last year, when an internal memorandum authored by a top Wal-Mart official was leaked. The memo offered numerous suggestions for corralling benefits costs by luring healthier workers.

The new policy “just sends another terrible message that this company looks at its workers as a commodity,” said Chris Kofinis, spokesman for Wal-Mart critic WakeUpWalMart.com.

From the employer perspective, automated telephone or Internet-based systems to track worker absences can protect employers against litigation related to providing adequate time off to workers under overlapping federal and state leave laws. “There are a lot of issues that surface when someone calls in sick,” said Lisa Franke, a workplace analyst with CCH Inc., a Riverwoods, Ill., provider of employment-law information to companies. “It’s really an administrative nightmare, so a lot of employers are outsourcing that to the experts and having them do the dirty work.”

Unscheduled absences cost some large employers more than $1 million a year, according to a CCH survey of 323 human-resources executives last year. The survey found that unscheduled absenteeism cost employers $660 per employee per year on average last year, up from $610 the prior year.

In the Pennsylvania case, Wal-Mart was ordered by the jury to pay damages to nearly 187,000 current and former workers in that state. The class-action case had covered labor practices at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores from March 1998 through May 2006. In addition to the damages awarded by the jury, a state judge is expected to add $62 million in minimum damages required under state labor law, according to Michael Donovan, attorney for the plaintiffs in the case. That would bring total damages in the case to about $140.4 million, excluding an estimated $40 million in legal fees, he said. Wal-Mart attorney Neal Manne said he was confident the company would appeal the jury’s decision.

—- Peter Loftus and James Covert contributed to this article.

Write to Kris Hudson at kris.hudson@wsj.com and Kris Maher at kris.maher@wsj.com

Weekly News Clips

WalMart Comes To New York
Forbes – NY,USA
After a number of false starts, WalMart Stores is planning to launch in New York City–the five boroughs, and especially the juicy, consumer-driven world of

Made in China: WalMart Unions
YaleGlobal Online – CT,USA
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nnBoard gets WalMart’s revised site plans
nFinger Lakes Times – Geneva,NY,USA
nGENEVA – Developers presented town planners with modified site plans fornthe WalMart expansion project last night, but no action wasntaken on them. “,1] ); D([“mb”,”
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WalMart loses suit over rest breaks
Boston Globe – United States

PHILADELPHIA — WalMart broke Pennsylvania labor laws by forcing employees to work through rest breaks and off the clock, a jury decided yesterday in a

WalMart’s Too Cool for School
MSNBC – USA
By Rick Aristotle Munarriz. It’s another small step back for WalMart(NYSE: WMT) and a giant leap back for its not-so-hip kind. The

Why Wal-Mart Wants to Invade New York
Think Wal-Mart is just going to pack up its box and go home? Think again.

The Evils of WalMart
ProgressiveU.org – San Mateo,CA,USA
Today my dad sent me an article from “Shopping Centers Today” about WalMart‘s newest plan to take over the world: having different stores target different

Official Union in China Says All Wal-Marts Are Organized
<!– D(["mb","New York Times – United States
“,1] ); D([“mb”,”n Mr. Guo said the labor federation would now assist workers inntheir negotiations with WalMart management for newncontracts and would seek to improve
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n”,0] ); //–>New York Times – United States
Mr. Guo said the labor federation would now assist workers in their negotiations with WalMart management for new contracts and would seek to improve