May, 2007

Westchester awaits answers from Wal-Mart developers

RAMAPO – Town officials are waiting for the developer of the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter to complete a draft environmental impact statement before referring the project to the Planning Board.

The Community Design Review Committee, an advisory group to the Planning Board, wants an additional review of the potential environmental fallout, but the developer has not yet filed the information with the town.

Richard Lipsky, spokesman for the Neighborhood Retail Alliance, yesterday said its traffic studies predict 3 million car trips annually to a Monsey Wal-Mart.

Lipsky, whose group has opposed Wal-Mart plans in New York City, said the store would adversely affect Spring Valley and Monsey merchants.

Read the entire article here

Wal-Mart dominates the news again

New York Times: Is Wal-Mart Too Cheap for Its Own Good?

Low prices, it turns out, can be bad for business. A confidential report prepared for senior executives at Wal-Mart Stores concludes, in stark terms, that the chain’s traditional strengths — its reputation for discounts, its all-in-one shopping format and its enormous selection — “work against us” as it tries to move upscale.

Washington Post: Wal-Mart report questioned strengths: report

Wal-Mart is not seen as “a smart choice” in categories like electronics, apparel, home decor, pharmacy and grocery, where “saving money and time are not the be-all, end-all drivers,” the report said.

New York Times: Ad Agency: Wal – Mart Lacking Respect

GSD&M; had handled Wal-Mart’s advertising for 19 years until the retailer hired a new group during the winter. For its 55-page document, ”Wal-Mart: Positioning Report,” GSD&M; conducted in-home interviews with 24 groups of consumers and 20 individuals nationwide and took some of them shopping.

Wal-Mart CEO broke ethics policy

The Wal-Mart oligarchy is seen here yet again breaking an ethical policy, this time their own policy. It’s amazing how Wal-Mart continues to break ethical codes with no consequences.

Wal-Mart chief executive Lee Scott violated the company’s ethics policy and accepted trips and received discounts on yachts and jewelry from a vendor, according to documents filed by a marketing executive fired by Wal-Mart in December.

In her latest court filing aimed at the world’s largest retailer, former marketing executive Julie Roehm also attacked other senior executives for accepting trips, concert tickets and other gifts from vendors.

Roehm is suing the company over her firing, and challenging Wal-Mart’s charges that she accepted gifts from vendors and had an affair with a subordinate.

In the documents filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Detroit, Roehm contends that CEO Scott and his wife frequently used private airplanes provided by entrepreneur Irwin Jacobs to travel to their residences in Longboat Key, Fla., and Las Vegas. Through his relationship with Jacobs, Scott was able to purchase a large pink diamond for his wife at a preferential price, she claims.

Please read the entire article here

Bill to ban Big Box Banks

Wal-Mart, who’s position as the worlds largest retailer and employer didn’t seem to be enough, was pushing hard last year to open their own bank. In March Wal-Mart withdrew its application but the fight is not over. On Thursday U.S. senators introduced bipartisan legislation that would block retailers such as Wal-Mart or Home Depot Inc. from operating a bank.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. senators introduced on Thursday bipartisan legislation that would block retailers such as Home Depot Inc. from operating a bank.

The bill, which is co-sponsored by Democrats Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Tim Johnson of South Dakota, and Republican Wayne Allard of Colorado, mirrors a version that is expected to win approval by the full House of Representatives.

The House is expected to consider it this month.

The lawmakers, who are members of the Senate Banking Committee, said panel Chairman Christopher Dodd has not yet expressed support for the bill.

However, such a ban is opposed by another member of the committee, Utah Republican Robert Bennett, whose state is home to many of the commercially owned banks known as industrial loan companies (ILC).

“He does not support this bill,” a Bennett spokeswoman said.

Like the House version, the Senate bill would ban applications to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to start a new ILC or acquire existing ones.

It would also halt commercially owned ILCs established after October 1, 2003, from expanding into other states or being sold to another retailer. Commercial companies that created ILCs before that date will be allowed to keep them, but cannot sell them to another retailer.

The bill would also expand supervision authority for the FDIC and reduce duel supervision for some ILC holding companies, such as big investment banks, that are already regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The senators said the bill will not include an exemption to allow auto companies to establish an ILC to help sell their cars, trucks and motorcycles.

“I hope we don’t get into exemptions,” Allard told reporters at a news conference.

ILCs are state-chartered banks with access to federal deposit insurance. They can offer deposit accounts, mortgages, credit cards, loans and other services.

U.S. banks, especially smaller ones, have voiced concern about a surge in ILCs over the last two decades, saying they could be forced out of business if big retailers enter the industry. Target Corp. already owns an ILC.

In March, Wal-Mart withdrew its ILC application, but Home Depot is still seeking permission to buy an ILC.

The ILC industry has combined assets of more than $170 billion. The biggest ILC bank is Merrill Lynch Bank USA, which had about $67 billion in assets last year.

We’ll keep everyone up to date on the latest news regarding this bill.

Photos from Tuesdays Rally



Come Welcome Lee Scott back to Manhattan with us!

Wal-Mart accused of 'climate of fear'

Wal-Mart accused of ‘climate of fear’ WASHINGTON, April 30 (UPI) —

Wal-Mart violates the basic rights of its employees through exploitation of “weak” U.S. labor laws, Human Rights Watch says.

In a 210-page report Monday, the largest U.S. retailer was accused of creating “a climate of fear” through a “relentless anti-union drumbeat” at its stores.

“Wal-Mart workers have virtually no chance to organize because they’re up against unfair U.S. labor laws and a giant company that will do just about anything to keep unions out,” said Carol Pier, a Human Rights Watch senior researcher.

The report said its investigators found in most cases Wal-Mart begins to indoctrinate workers and managers to oppose unions from the moment they are hired.

All efforts to organize among the company’s 1.3 million employees in the United States are immediately squashed, it charged.

The group urged Wal-Mart to stop its alleged anti-union activity and called on Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act to protect workers’ rights.

Check out the article as the Washington Post reported. Wal-Mart claims its employees have rejected unionization because they have “every opportunity to express their ideas, comments and concerns.” Which is couldn’t be further than the truth…How about Wal-Mart closing down a store when a union is voted in? The truth is if Wal-Mart became union employees would be better off, communities would be better off and this never ending debate could be over.

Today's Wal-Mart Mishap

(taken from

Wal-Mart Sued Over Ammunition Sale

A lawsuit in New Mexico alleges that Wal-Mart sold ammunition to an unstable man who fatally shot another man six hours later in Las Cruces.

Kenneth Rauch, 49, of Las Cruces has been accused of killing 27-year-old Eusebio Escobedo. From Mexico, Escobedo, his fiancee and her 3-year-old son had stopped at a Las Cruces gasoline station when a man fired a gun at the car twice, hitting Escobedo.

The lawsuit alleges Rauch was under the influence of alcohol and mentally disturbed when he bought shotgun shells at a Wal-Mart in Las Cruces.

A Wal-Mart spokesman says the company had not seen the complaint and couldn’t comment.