2005

Statement by Paul Blank, Campaign Director for WakeUpWalMart.com

“”Once again, Wal-Mart’s actions undermine Wal-Mart’s new image campaign.

In late October, Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott gave a speech touting Wal-Mart’s new environmental initiatives. But, around the very same time, Wal-Mart learned a grand jury was looking into the improper transporting of hazardous waste. Not to mention, Wal-Mart’s past record of environmental problems.

Wal-Mart’s new public relations strategy of saying one thing and doing another, while disappointing, is not surprising given its use of high-priced image makers, led by Bob McAdam a former Tobacco Institute spokesperson, to mislead the American people about Wal-Mart’s real record.

We can only hope in the New Year, Wal-Mart will hear the calls for change, embrace a new path, and pursue real change which will make the American people proud.””

NATIONAL FAITH-BASED CAMPAIGN TO CHANGE WAL-MART GAINS MOMENTUM

Washington, D.C. – The national momentum for WakeUpWalMart.com’s faith-based campaign grew again today with 13 Baptist Leaders of Faith launching a new initiative to pressure Wal-Mart to change into a more responsible and moral company. The letter released today once again called on CEO Lee Scott to change Wal-Mart into a moral company. The letter from the Baptist leaders states, “”as Christians, at the time of year when we celebrate the life, the birth and the teachings of Jesus, we call on Wal-Mart to change.”” The letter released today is the latest sign momentum is growing in the faith-based community to change Wal-Mart.

“”Once again the moral call for Wal-Mart to change grows louder. We can only hope Wal-Mart will hear our message of change, will change its immoral business practices, and will become a force for good this holiday season,”” stated Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com.

Today’s letter signed by Baptist leaders from Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Colorado, and Oklahoma, follows last Thursday’s launch of the “”Light a Candle for Change”” campaign. As part of this nation-wide campaign, faith-based leaders joined together to release an interfaith letter calling on Lee Scott to change, candlelight vigils were held in 27 cities in 20 states, and the “”Should People of Faith Shop At Wal-Mart?”” ad was released nationwide.

Since last Thursday, 13 additional leaders of faith from all across America have signed the interfaith letter sent to Lee Scott. In total, 93 leaders of faith, representing well over 1.3 million Americans, have joined together in this growing faith-based initiative to change Wal-Mart into a moral employer. In the letter released last week, the leaders of faith stated “”in the shared spirit of the holiday season, we call on Wal-Mart to change, to become better, and to embrace the best of American values.””

“”Lee Scott and Wal-Mart face a unique moment in their company’s history. Wal-Mart can embrace these moral calls for change from some of America’s most respected leaders of faith or they can continue down the dark path leading to the decline in its public image. We can only hope Wal-Mart will choose to do what is right this holiday season,”” added Paul Blank.

The overall goal of today’s letter and the “”Light A Candle for Change”” campaign is to change Wal-Mart into a responsible corporation that reflects the best moral values of our country. As part of the faith-based grassroots initiative, WakeUpWalMart.com also launched a coordinated online and TV multimedia campaign. The 30-second TV ad, titled “”People”” is the first TV advertisement to highlight Wal-Mart’s moral failures and raise the powerful question – “”Should People of Faith Shop at Wal-Mart?”” this holiday season.

The “”Light A Candle For Change”” campaign is the latest initiative by WakeUpWalMart.com, America’s leading grassroots movement to change Wal-Mart. WakeUpWalMart.com is America’s largest campaign to change Wal-Mart with over 150,500 supporters.

Wakeupwalmart.com’s Response to Lee Scott’s Statement:

Rather than address the genuine moral concerns raised by 65 leaders of faith, Lee Scott chose to ignore their concerns, insult them, question their sincerity, and cite manufacturing job losses his company has helped to create. This holiday season, Lee Scott should look into the mirror and consider the millions of American businesses and manufacturing jobs he and his company’s business model have personally helped destroy, and hear the moral calls for change from leaders of faith. We can only hope that someday soon Lee Scott will finally – finally – do what is right for his workers, their families and America.

Lee Scott’s response to a letter by 65 religious leaders asking Wal-Mart to change:

These religious leaders have unfortunately been misled. We know they clearly seek the truth and are in search of the real facts. We share their compassion for people just like we continue to provide jobs to those who want a better life, including adding 100,000 new jobs at Wal-Mart this year. We support charitable causes that make life better in our communities to the sum of about $200 million in charitable giving this year, and we save the average American family $2,300 per household.

In terms of health care, we’re making positive change with new health care programs where we have signed up more than 70,000 associates and 30,000 of their family members to these new plans. Wal-Mart’s health plans will cover more than 1 million people in 2006. We also provide career opportunities to people who want to reach higher goals — three-quarters of our managers started in hourly jobs.

We will not be deterred from our mission, despite the noise from union leadership or critics whose motives are less than pure.

Lee Scott’s response to TV ad:

Surely many Americans are deeply offended that union leadership would use religion as just another tactic in the negative attack campaign against a company that donates more money to good works than any other company in America. And with all the news reports of manufacturers laying off tens of thousands of skilled union workers this Holiday Season, we’d hope the union leadership would show more compassion for its members rather than spending its member dues attacking a company that creates 100,000 jobs a year.