January, 2011

NYC COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS BLAST WALMART FOR PARTNERING WITH PREDATORY LENDER JACKSON HEWITT

Citing history of targeting low-income families, city’s biggest community organizations join coalition to keep Walmart out of city

NEW YORK, NY – On the last day for employers to send out 2010 W-2 notices, a group of New York City’s most powerful community-based organizations blasted Walmart for its recently announced partnership with Jackson-Hewitt, a tax preparation firm that specializes in controversial Refund Anticipation Loans.

According to Jon Kest, Executive Director of New York Communities for Change, “By partnering with one of the nation’s most notorious predatory lenders, Walmart has once again shown its true colors.  While the company may claim to care about low income families, deals like this show their real goal is to make as much money off the backs of poor people as possible.”

Refund Anticipation Loans charge interest rates as high as 24% APR in exchange for giving taxpayers an advance on their expected tax refunds.  The loans frequently target low-income families, and the IRS has long sought to ban them. Jackson Hewitt is poised to become the largest provider of such loans in the nation.

With Jackson Hewitt announcing this January that it would open service stations in over 2,000 Walmarts around the country, leaders of many organizations representing low income New Yorkers worry that Walmart’s plans to open up stores in New York City could leave their members subject to exploitation.

“Walmart already kills three jobs for every two poverty-wage job it creates,” said Amanda Altman, Lead Organizer with Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition. “And now they’re planning on bringing predatory lenders with them into our city?  This is a company that sucks the blood of low-income communities, and we don’t need them here in New York.”

NWBCCC is one of several community-based organizations whose members will soon vote on endorsing the Walmart Free NYC Coalition, a growing alliance of workers, residents, small business owners, community leaders, clergy, and elected officials committed to keeping Walmart out of New York City.

Today, New York Communities for Change, Make the Road New York, Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), and Picture the Homeless all announced their official endorsements of the Walmart Free NYC coalition.

One Make the Road New York member who runs a small business providing tax assistance to low income families across the city said he supports his organization opposing Walmart because the company would prevent small business owners like him from helping the community.

“As someone who works preparing people’s taxes, I know that Jackson Hewitt’s practices are predatory, and I think the fact that Walmart and Jackson Hewitt are working together is a sham. It just shows how much Walmart cares about the neighborhoods where it opens its stores. Jackson Hewitt’s practices don’t treat people right, and neither do Walmart’s. Instead of focusing on these big companies, we should be focusing on how businesses like mine and others like it can flourish, and how New York City can strengthen its small business motor.” said Carlos Bustamante, President of EZ Tax New York and member of Make the Road New York’s Small Business United project.

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More elected officials announce their opposition to Walmart

MORE ELECTED OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE THEIR OPPOSITION TO WALMART

Walmart Faces Growing Resistance As More Sign Up to Say ‘No’ To Job Killing Megastore

Brooklyn, NY– Walmart Free NYC today announced today that Councilmembers Letitia James, Robert Jackson, Dr. Mathieu Eugene and Jumaane Williams have declared their opposition to Walmart and will fight to keep the job-killing mega store out of New York City.

The elected officials join a growing list of elected officials, community leaders, clergy, and small businesses throughout the borough who oppose the Arkansas-based big box retailer’s plans to move into Brooklyn, and displace homegrown stores and good local jobs. Just this week  National Organization of Women’s New York City chapter announced their opposition to Walmart saying ,“This is an employer who takes advantage of its workforce at every opportunity. The women of New York City deserve better.”

Councilmember Letitia James  said: “Small businesses are the engines of the New York City economy, creating jobs, spending locally and keeping our dollars in the community.  Walmart could put those small businesses out of business, costing us valuable jobs, as well as hurting our economy while doing so.  For these reasons, New York must say no to Walmart.”

Councilmember Robert Jackson said: “Mom and pops need Walmart about as much as New York needs another blizzard. Walmart puts small businesses out of business, especially in tough times like these.”

Councilmember Dr. Mathieu Eugene said: “We need to do everything possible to help small businesses thrive. I am concerned that Walmart coming to Brooklyn will hurt businesses already struggling in this tough economy.”

Councilmember Jumaane Williams said: “Walmart is selling false promises. They promise jobs, but they kill three jobs for every two they ‘create.’ And the jobs they ‘create’ pay, on average, 18 percent less than the jobs they destroy. My community deserves jobs with livable wages. They shouldn’t have to settle.”

Studies have shown that Walmart destroys small businesses and jobs when it opens up in urban neighborhoods. A study published by the Center for Urban Research and Learning Loyola University Chicago found that after a Walmart store opened in the Austin neighborhood in 2006, over 25% of area businesses closed.  Stores that were near Walmart were “more likely to go out of business eliminating the equivalent of about 300 full time jobs—about as many as Walmart initially added to the area.”

An author of that study found that, Walmart stores absorb sales from other city stores without significantly expanding the market.” In addition, the study found that there was no increase in retail activity or employment opportunities.

About Walmart Free NYC

Walmart Free NYC is a coalition of workers, small business owners, community leaders, clergy and elected officials who are committed to increasing economic opportunities, preserving local businesses, and creating more jobs in communities across New York’s five boroughs.

WALMART IMPACT STUDIES

The Impact of an Urban Wal-Mart Store on Area Businesses: An Evaluation of One Chicago Neighborhood’s Experience.” Davis, Julie, David Merriman, Lucia Samayoa, Brian Flanagan, Ron Baiman, and Joe Persky, December 2009. Center for Urban Research and Learning Loyola University Chicago.

Available online at http://luc.edu/curl/pdfs/Media/WalMartReport21010_01_11.pdf.

“The Effects of Walmart on Local Labor Markets.” David Neumark, Junfu Zhang, and Stephen Ciccarella. October 2005. Public Policy Institute of California.

Available online at: http://www.businessweek.com/pdfs/2005/david_neumark.pdf

The Effect of Walmart on Businesses in Host Towns and Surrounding Towns in Iowa.” Kenneth Stone. Iowa State University. November 1988.

Available online at: http://www2.econ.iastate.edu/faculty/stone/Effect%20of%20Walmart%20-%201988%20paper%20scanned.pdf

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Women’s Groups Tell Walmart “You Don’t Share New York’s Values”

Women’s Groups Tell Walmart “You Don’t Share New York’s Values”

Challenge Walmart to Explain Campaign to Deny 1.5 Million Women Their Day in Court;

Supreme Court Appeal Could End Women’s Right to Pay Parity

New York – Prominent women’s groups joined Walmart Free NYC today, claiming Walmart doesn’t share New York’s values.

Challenging Wal-Mart’s decision to appeal the largest class action gender discrimination law suit in the history of this Country, the groups are accusing Walmart of threatening the rights of millions of women to equal pay and access to promotions in the workplace.

The Supreme Court’s December 6, 2010 decision to hear Walmart vs. Dukes will decide whether the claims by the individual employees may be combined as a class action as is often the case in both labor and civil discrimination lawsuits. In the Walmart matter, over a million woman are seeking compensation from Walmart for discrimination against women in both pay and promotion policies.

“Wal-Mart with its enormous scope and influence has set a standard that blatant discrimination against women employees is great way to maximize profits,” said Sonia Ossorio, Executive Director of the National Organization for Women in New York City. “This is an employer who takes advantage of its workforce at every opportunity. The women of New York City deserve better.”

New quarterly wage data released this past December by the Department of Labor show that in 2010 women working full-time in sales and related occupations made only 64.0 cents for each dollar earned by men — the biggest wage gap in any industry.

Theresa Quinones, Chair of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500’s Women’s Network called out Wal-Mart for continuing to hide behind their lawyers, lobbyist and public relations people and not answering the questions of the people. “Stop with all the PR spin and answer questions from the residents of the communities you wish to enter and their elected officials.  Cowardice and being a bully are not New York values.”

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GROCERY WORKERS AND STORE OWNERS SLAM WALMART FOR KILLING SMALL BUSINESS

Walmart Has Long Documented History of Ignoring Small Business and Killing Jobs

Grocery workers and grocery store owners are fighting back against Walmart’s “political style” campaign to win over skeptical New Yorkers and demanding Walmart stop dodging the questions that New Yorkers have about Walmart’s history of destroying small business and killing jobs.

Anthony Drago, a Shop Rite employee and resident of Staten Island feels Walmart should respond to the studies that he has read at various websites.  “I have read the information about what happened in Chicago and want Walmart to respond to the 82 stores that closed after they opened up,” said Drago referring to a 2009 Report by Loyola University .  “One report claimed that 555 small grocery stores closed in Iowa due to Walmart Supercenters.  I don’t work for the world’s largest retailer. I just work for Shop Rite and want to know what will happen to me if Walmart opens in New York City,” Drago concluded.

Over the years Walmart has refused to appear at New York City Council hearings to answer questions about these studies (links below). They recently announced that they will continue that policy and fail to appear at February 3rds scheduled City Council hearing.

Nelson Eusebio, speaking for the over 400 Dominican owned supermarkets who have done business in the city’s low income neighborhoods for years, suggested that if Walmart wants to come to New York then maybe they should start acting like New Yorkers. “Stop hiding from the facts and answer the questions thousands of New Yorkers have for you.  I have seen the studies and read a lot of stories about towns being destroyed by Walmart.  They should answer questions about these studies and prove to New Yorkers that we have should have nothing to worry about. Maybe it is time they face the people of New York instead of relying on the manufactured support of their PR blitz.” Eusebio concluded.

Patrick Purcell, a spokesperson for United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500, said it’s time for Walmart to stop ducking the facts and start answering to the people. “Retailers all over this City had to attend meetings with community boards, elected officials and neighborhood organizations before they could open up shop. Walmart is hiding behind a slick public relations campaign, questionable polls and ignoring the key questions. They are acting more like a candidate for public office rather than a company seeking approval from neighborhoods residents,” Purcell stated. “Then again, with the amount of jobs they kill, maybe they should be afraid to go into communities and face the music.”

Studies and reports questioning Walmarts impact on the small business community can be found at:

http://luc.edu/curl/pdfs/Media/WalMartReport21010_01_11.pdf

http://www.newrules.org/retail/publications/major-flaws-uncovered-study-claiming-walmart-has-not-harmed-small-business

http://pubadvocate.nyc.gov/files/Walmart.pdf

http://www2.econ.iastate.edu/faculty/stone/mssupercenterstudy.pdf

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=371102

http://harpers.org/archive/2006/07/0081115

Walmart Free NYC is a coalition of workers, small business owners, community leaders, clergy and elected officials who are committed to increasing economic opportunities, preserving local businesses, and creating more jobs in communities across New York’s five boroughs.

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FILE UNDER WALMART BELIEVE IT OR NOT: 1 DAY AFTER NEW NATIONAL STUDY LINKS WALMART TO INCREASED OBESITY, RETAILER PROMISES TO PROMOTE HEALTHY FOODS

Smoke Screen PR Push Comes From Largest US Employer of Workers on Food Stamps

New York City Green Grocers Say They’ll Be Squeezed Out by Walmart

New York- Walmart’s announcement today to promote healthy, affordable food was met with skepticism by New York City’s anti-hunger advocates, faith leaders, and green grocers.

“Walmart’s rhetoric doesn’t match reality,” said Bertha Lewis, President, The Black Leadership Institute. “They promise to create jobs- but they just squeeze out the little guy. Now they’re promising to promote healthy foods. The fact of the matter is, right here, right now, they’re contributing to the obesity epidemic.”

“If Walmart wants access to OUR communities, it should come back when its track record is as impressive as its PR campaign,” Lewis continued.

The retailer’s announcement today comes on the heels of a new national study reported yesterday by NPR linking Walmart to increased obesity rates. According to Charles Courtemanche, an assistant professor of economics at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro:  “the most obvious story is that Walmart lowers the price of foods and a lot of the foods it has big price advantages on are the processed, inner-aisle types of food that aren’t that good for you.”

New York’s green grocers said they’re working hard to provide high quality fruits and vegetables in every corner of the city, but they don’t stand a chance against Walmart.  Studies have shown that Walmart pushes out small businesses and the workers they employ when it opens new stores.

“More than 1,200 green grocers offer fresh, affordable produce to New York’s low-income communities,” said Sung Soo Kim, President of the Korean-American Small Business Service Center of New York. “If Walmart moves in, they’ll all be squeezed out.”

A 2009 study by the University of Illinois at Chicago and Loyola University Chicago found that the closer a store’s proximity to Walmart’s location in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago, the more likely they were to go out of business.

In Chicago, 82 local retailers were pushed out by Walmart:  “The findings support the contention that urban Walmart stores absorb sales from other city stores without significantly expanding the market.” In addition, the study found that there was no increase in retail activity or employment opportunities.

“This study reveals what we have suspected to be true all along, When Wal-Mart comes to urban areas, communities suffer.  Not only jobs and small businesses are threatened but peoples bodies are put at risk.  NYC needs solutions that cultivate the image of god in our communities; that support local business and public health,” said Lisa Sharon Harper, Executive Director of New York Faith and Justice.

Adults in East New York and New Lots, where Walmart is proposing a new store, have an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes- 3 in 10 adults are obese.

ABOUT WALMART FREE NYC

Walmart Free NYC is a coalition of concerned workers and residents, small business owners, community leaders, clergy and elected officials who are committed to increasing economic opportunities, preserving local businesses, and bringing more jobs to communities across New York.

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WALMART FREE NYC CALLS ON FOOD COMMUNITY TO SHOW INDEPENDENCE

Donations Should Not Equal Support For Walmart

New York– Walmart Free NYC, a coalition of small businesses, clergy, community groups and community activists called on New York’s food advocacy community to show its independence today in light of Walmart’s donations to foodbanks across the country. While donations are a good thing for the foodbanks, donations from Walmart should not guarantee support for company with long history of killing jobs, small businesses and low wages- helping to exacerbate the hunger problem in America.

“Like they have in other cities, Walmart is trying to win the hearts of New Yorkers through donations and expensive PR campaigns,” said Anna Lappé, a food advocate and co-founder of the Small Planet Institute. “Studies have shown that because of Walmart’s low wages and benefits, its employees rely on food stamps and other social services far more than the typical retail employee. That means even though Walmart is spending a lot of time and money saying they’re fighting hunger, the company is actually exacerbating the problem of hunger in America.”

“I’ve worked hand and hand with New York’s wonderful food advocates for years, and I know donations won’t silence their advocacy,” said Pat Purcell, Assistant to the President of UFCW Local 1500. “Walmart can try all they like, but New Yorkers are independent, and no amount of money will change that.”

Studies have shown that Walmart destroys small businesses and jobs when it opens up in urban neighborhoods. A study published by the Center for Urban Research and Learning Loyola University Chicago found that after a Walmart store opened in the Austin neighborhood in 2006, over 25% of area businesses sampled closed.  Stores that were near Walmart were “more likely to go out of business eliminating the equivalent of about 300 full time jobs—about as many as Walmart initially added to the area.”

An author of that study found that, “the findings support the contention that urban Walmart stores absorb sales from other city stores without significantly expanding the market.” In addition, the study found that there was no increase in retail activity or employment opportunities.

Walmart Free NYC is a coalition of workers, small business owners, community leaders, clergy and elected officials who are committed to increasing economic opportunities, preserving local businesses, and creating more jobs in communities across New York’s five boroughs.

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WalmartNYC.com Promotes Report: NYC Store Would Lower Wages

Here’s something you don’t see everyday, Walmart telling the truth.
The ingenious website www.walmartnyc.com which claims to promote real New Yorker opinions, is promoting a report from ABC News which covered NYC Public Advocate’s Bill de Blasio’s report that if a Walmart were to open in NYC retail wages would suffer.  Here’s a screen shot from WalmartNYC’s newsroom:
via: www.walmartnyc.com
We love how the logo above reads, “Helping NYC Save Money and Live Better”, while they source studies that argue they’ll lower retail wages.

Thanks, Walmart!

Rally and New York City Council Hearing Postponed to Feb.3

Keep job-killing Walmart out of New York City!

Due to the snow concerns, the New York City Council has rescheduled the hearing from Jan. 12th to February 3, 2011, same place, same time. RSVP and discuss the rally on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=190233140990413

Join small business owners and community members prior to the New York City Council hearing on Walmart and tell the city we don’t need or want a Walmart in NYC.

Thursday, February 3rd
Rally: 11:00am at the steps of City Hall

Get the word out! Download this flyer and post it in your neighborhood.

Rally to Keep Job-Killing Wal-Mart Out of NYC

ABOUT WALMART FREE NYC
 
Walmart Free NYC is a coalition of workers, small business owners, community leaders, clergy and elected officials who are committed to increasing economic opportunities, preserving local businesses, and creating more jobs in communities across New York’s five boroughs.
 
 
WALMART IMPACT STUDIES
 
“The Impact of an Urban Wal-Mart Store on Area Businesses: An Evaluation of One Chicago Neighborhood’s Experience.” Davis, Julie, David Merriman, Lucia Samayoa, Brian Flanagan, Ron Baiman, and Joe Persky, December 2009. Center for Urban Research and Learning Loyola University Chicago.
Available online at http://luc.edu/curl/pdfs/Media/WalMartReport21010_01_11.pdf.
 
“The Effects of Walmart on Local Labor Markets.”  David Neumark, Junfu Zhang, and Stephen Ciccarella. October 2005. Public Policy Institute of California.

Available online at: http://www.businessweek.com/pdfs/2005/david_neumark.pdf

“The Effect of Walmart on Businesses in Host Towns and Surrounding Towns in Iowa.” Kenneth Stone. Iowa State University. November 1988.
Available online at: http://www2.econ.iastate.edu/faculty/stone/Effect%20of%20Walmart%20-%201988%20paper%20scanned.pdf
 

MOM AND POP SHOPS TO WALMART: FLASHY AD CAMPAIGNS CAN’T CHANGE FACTS, WALMART SHUTTERS SMALL BUSINESSES, ELIMINATES JOBS

Sad Facts That Walmart Can’t Escape: For Every 2 Poverty Jobs Walmart “Creates” 3 Are Lost

New YorkRather than owning up to their job eliminating and small business shuttering business model, Walmart executives announced today they would rather spend untold amounts of money on a flashy propaganda campaign to buy their way into New York City while avoiding answering any questions from the New York City Council, the elected body which represents the eight million New Yorkers.  The fundamental question is: why is Walmart hiding and refusing to answer questions which New Yorkers expect and deserve?

The announcement of the ad campaign comes at a time when New York’s small business community is under siege. Small businesses, the engine that drives New York’s economy, continue to face tough times as the economy slowly recovers, and the specter of Walmart moving into New York City could drive hundreds out of business.

“I can’t compete with fancy ad campaigns, I need to pay my bills,” said Mark Tanis, General Manager of Shoppers World located at 1572 Pitkin Avenue in East New York. “They come into our neighborhoods and don’t care about the little guys like us who have been here for years, all they care about is stomping us out. We have hundreds of stores that would be in danger if Walmart came to New York.”

“Times are tough, but Walmart would make it even tougher. Walmart wants to put guys like us out of business and kill dreams of families like mine. If a store like mine goes out of business it’s no big deal to Walmart, but for me it would be devastating,” said Luis Hernandez owner of an Associated Supermarket in East New York.

Studies have shown that Walmart destroys small businesses and jobs when it opens up in urban neighborhoods. A study published by the Center for Urban Research and Learning Loyola University Chicago found that after a Walmart store opened in the Austin neighborhood in 2006, over 25% of area businesses sampled closed.  Stores that were near Walmart were “more likely to go out of business eliminating the equivalent of about 300 full time jobs—about as many as Walmart initially added to the area.”

An author of that study found that, “the findings support the contention that urban Walmart stores absorb sales from other city stores without significantly expanding the market.” In addition, the study found that there was no increase in retail activity or employment opportunities.

Walmart Free NYC is a coalition of workers, small business owners, community leaders, clergy and elected officials who are committed to increasing economic opportunities, preserving local businesses, and creating more jobs in communities across New York’s five boroughs.

WALMART IMPACT STUDIES

The Impact of an Urban Wal-Mart Store on Area Businesses: An Evaluation of One Chicago Neighborhood’s Experience.” Davis, Julie, David Merriman, Lucia Samayoa, Brian Flanagan, Ron Baiman, and Joe Persky, December 2009. Center for Urban Research and Learning Loyola University Chicago.

Available online at http://luc.edu/curl/pdfs/Media/WalMartReport21010_01_11.pdf.

“The Effects of Walmart on Local Labor Markets.” David Neumark, Junfu Zhang, and Stephen Ciccarella. October 2005. Public Policy Institute of California.

Available online at: http://www.businessweek.com/pdfs/2005/david_neumark.pdf

The Effect of Walmart on Businesses in Host Towns and Surrounding Towns in Iowa.” Kenneth Stone. Iowa State University. November 1988.

Available online at: http://www2.econ.iastate.edu/faculty/stone/Effect%20of%20Walmart%20-%201988%20paper%20scanned.pdf

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