June, 2011


Call For End To Walmart’s Attack Against Access to Justice for Women

New York— New York groups held a press conference today spoke out against the Supreme Court’s Dukes v. Walmart decision. This decision makes it harder for women employees who have been denied promotions or paid less than their male colleagues to seek justice and hold the corporate retailer accountable for its alleged actions. The class action would have made it easier for individuals with limited means to gain access to justice in the courtroom.

Attendees noted:

  • The Supreme Court didn’t rule on the merits of the law suit so associates still have legal avenue to pursue their claims
  • Walmart needs to enact fair policies to ensure families and workers are protected

In light of the Supreme Court ruling, these organizations believe it is critical that Congress acts now to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure women have additional protections in the workplace and that Walmart create improved policies that ensure full access to equal pay and promotional opportunities and training for associates to transition into management so women will never be systematically discriminated against solely based on their gender.

Several groups expressed outrage at the decision:

“No company should ever be able to treat women as second-class citizens in the workplace and get away with it.  Yet, today the United States Supreme Court has favored the rights of Wal-Mart over the rights of the 1.5 million women who spent decades getting paid less while doing the same work as men.  Wal-Mart’s history of systemic discrimination against women and record of shutting down small local businesses demonstrate that it does not belong in our City, period,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

“The Supreme Court today did not decide the merits of this case, that fight continues,” said Sonia Ossorio, executive director of the National Organization for Women in New York City. “We applaud the brave women who are demanding equal pay and equal access to promotions at Wal-Mart. They have shined a light on how Wal-Mart is cheating a million woman and American families.

“The Supreme Court’s decision underscores the need to strengthen federal, state and local employment discrimination laws to ensure  justice and fair pay for working women,”said Dina Bakst, Co-President of  A Better Balance.

“Once again this Supreme Court has put a significant new roadblock in place for workers to fight widespread wage discrimination. The Wal-Mart decision highlights just how much we need stronger laws to protect all American workers. We call on our federal, state and NYC elected officials act now: fight for and pass fair pay legislation,” said Beverly Neufeld , President New York Women’s Agenda, and Director Equal Pay Coalition NYC

“The Women’s City Club of New York is disappointed with the Court’s refusal to allow female workers to move ahead with their claims. The class action lawsuit is an important way for individuals to seek justice, and as one of the founding organizations of the Equal Pay Coalition we are concerned by the precedent this case could set in preventing future class action lawsuits.  The Court’s decision has dealt a broad blow to women and other victims of workplace discrimination, making it now more imperative than ever that we work together to end such discrimination,” said  President Ruth Acker.

“People in our society do not have the resources to battle large corporations individually. Prior to today’s Supreme Court decision, a result of of Walmarts legal maneuvering and avoidance of  accountability, individuals could collectively join forces and seek justice. Minorities, women’s groups, workers, consumers and countless other groups with a mutual complaint now face tremendous obstacles in seeking justice thanks to Walmarts actions. Once again, Walmart put profits before people and now New Yorkers, specifically those New Yorkers most vulnerable, are worse off for it,” said Rhonda Nelson, UFCW Women’s Network.


Walmart Continues To Try and Buy New York’s Love

Rather Than Coming Before The City Council or Community Board, Walmart Resorts To The Only Strategy It Knows, Spend $$$$

NEW YORK – As Walmart continues to avoid answering hard questions to New Yorkers, the company has been spending significant amounts of money in political contributions and political-style advertising to try to buy New Yorkers’ love. Today, the company announced a charitable contribution in another attempt to buy their way into New York City.

An analysis of Walmart’s New York State lobbying data from the New York State Commission on Public Integrity shows it spent $1.85 million on lobbying (including political-style advertisements) in the first four months of 2011. In 2007 through 2010, the company spent $335,385.

A similar shift has occurred in political contributions. An analysis of data from the National Institute on Money in State Politics, shows that between 2003 and 2010, Wal-Mart contributed $562,877 to statewide candidates in New York. Overall contributions have grown dramatically each election cycle in advance of the company’s efforts to expand into New York City, beginning with a mere $4,020 in 2004 and reaching $273,000 by 2010.

The mega-retailer can’t boost its flagging U.S. sales unless it expands into the nation’s largest cities, so it’s trying to break its way into New York with new store formats and new products, and most importantly– a new image.

“Walmart can’t be trusted. The company is embracing progressive values in its public relations campaign to avoid tough questions about its history of alleged discrimination and putting local mom and pops out business.,” said Stephanie Yazgi, spokesperson for Walmart Free NYC. “Walmart’s convenient contribution won’t distract New Yorkers from its track record: the company is facing the largest gender bias class-action lawsuit in U.S. history, it has sold more guns than any company in the United States, and it failed The Human Right Campaign’s national LGBT scorecard.”

Walmart Lobbyist Spending[i]

Lobbyist 2007 2008 2009 2010 2007-10 2011
Law Offices of Claudia Wagner LLC $32,000 $22,500 $54,500
Patricia Lynch Associates $65,000 $65,000 $62,834 $61,752 $254,586
Manatt, Phelps and Phillips LLP $22,500 $22,500 $30,000
Philip Serghini $620 $203 $2,976 $3,799
Walmart Stores $1,756,853
The Wright Group $24,000
Hodes and Landy $30,000
York Group Associates $16,000
Total $97,620 $65,203 $65,810 $84,252 $335,385 $1,856,853


[i] http://www.nyintegrity.org/