March, 2005

Twenty-One Members of Congress Release Letter Calling on ABC to End Wal-Mart

Washington, DC — Twenty-one Members of Congress released a joint letter today calling on ABC News to drop Wal-Mart as a sponsor of Good Morning America’s “Only in America” series. The letter to David Westin, President of ABC News, states that in the “name of honesty and accuracy in the media, we ask that ABC News remove Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.” as a sponsor.

“Wal-Mart values are not American values. Crummy healthcare, an assault on small businesses, and poor wages is not what we value in America,” said Representative Anthony Weiner, who signed the letter.

The letter highlights Wal-Mart’s consistent attempts to use misleading advertising and slogans to confuse consumers and the American public about their real record. In fact, Wal-Mart’s attempt to wrap itself in the American flag is both hypocritical and misleading. For example, “”80 percent of the six thousand factories in Wal-Mart’s worldwide database of suppliers are in China.”” Amazingly, if Wal-Mart were a country it would be China’s seventh-largest export market, ahead of Germany and Great Britain. According to Ted Fishman, author of China, Inc.,  “”Wal-Mart’s growth as an economic force is inseparable from China’s rise as a manufacturing giant … no company has been a bigger catalyst in pushing American…manufactures to China.””

“It is a sad day when ABC News would allow itself to be used by Wal-Mart to sell a corporate image based on lies and myths,” said Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. “One only has to look at the real Wal-Mart record to realize the severe damage this company has done to American families and communities.”

Joe Hansen, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, was delighted to see so many Members of Congress join in this growing movement to pressure ABC News to drop Wal-Mart as a sponsor.
“I join with other Americans who think it is time for Wal-Mart to stop relying on slogans and start doing what is right for our families and America,” said Hansen.

The joint Congressional letter is the latest step in a growing grassroots movement. Already, over 13,000 concerned citizens have signed the UFCW petition that asks David Westin, President of ABC News, to drop Wal-Mart as a sponsor. The petition can be found at www.ufcw.org.

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Food and Commercial Workers Welcome Yucaipa

Washington DC—The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) is extremely pleased by the announcement that Los Angeles based Yucaipa Companies will invest $150 million in Carteret, N.J., Pathmark Stores which has 142 stores in the New York and Philadelphia metro areas.

“This is great news for 30,000 Pathmark employees represented by the UFCW,” said UFCW International President Joe Hansen. “Yucaipa has a track record of operating successful industry-leading businesses that benefit employees, shareholders and communities. The UFCW members had positive working experiences with Yucaipa when the company ran supermarkets across the country, including Ralph’s, Food4Less, Fred Meyer, Smith Food and Drug, and Dominick’s. If you asked UFCW members, today, who worked in Yucaipa-operated stores, I’m confident they would say the company was very fair as well as a good place to work.”

Pathmark, once a growing, successful, and highly respected in the supermarket industry, experienced a harmful leveraged buyout in the 1980s. Since then, the company has been saddled with extensive debt, which resulted in burdens on UFCW members employed at Pathmark Stores and on communities where the stores operate.

“The agreement with Yucaipa will allow Pathmark to undergo capital structure improvements that will provide an enhanced shopping experience for the shoppers in the company’s market areas and a more secure future for UFCW members working in the stores,” said Hansen.  “Once the investment is complete, I’m sure our affected local unions will want to meet with Yucaipa officials to offer their thoughts, including those of UFCW members working in the stores, about remaking Pathmark Stores into a profitable and productive operator with a positive working environment.”

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UFCW calls for ABC News to drop Wal-Mart ad

Washington, DC – The United Food and Commercial Worker’s Union sent a letter to ABC News today demanding that Wal-Mart be immediately removed as a sponsor of their “Only in America” series, citing misleading and deceptive advertising.  Wal-Mart appears to be the primary paid sponsor of Good Morning America’s “Only in America” series, which tells stories of common Americans and their love for the country and it’s citizens.

“Wal-Mart’s sponsorship of ‘Only in America’ is hypocritical, as well as a cynical abuse of ABC News,” stated UFCW President Joe Hansen in a letter to ABC News President David Westin.  “I call on you, Mr. Westin, to drop Wal-Mart immediately as a sponsor of this segment, and to take down the company’s internet ads which further attempt to connect Wal-Mart with the ‘Only in America’ slogan.”

The advertising campaign seems to be part of an “unusual” public relations offensive by Wal-Mart to counter growing concerns about the corporate ethics of the retail giant.  But, this is not the first time Wal-Mart has attempted to use patriotism as a marketing scheme.  In the 1990’s, Wal-Mart introduced its “Made in America” and “Bring it Home to the USA” campaigns.  Broadcast and other news outlets soon exposed the gross deceptions in this ploy forcing Wal-Mart to drop the marketing campaign.  In fact, just recently, a new book entitled China, Inc. found that 70% of the items sold by Wal-Mart are manufactured in third world countries, most notable China.

“The UFCW, and all of working America, is deeply troubled by Wal-Mart’s exploitation of ABC News,” stated Hansen.  “Wal-Mart’s use of its ‘Only in America’ sponsorship is simply another cynical attempt to deceive customers about Wal-Mart’s responsibility for sending more jobs overseas than any other American corporation and lowering U.S. wages.”

In addition to its letter to ABC News, the UFCW has launched an on-line petition for people to join the call to stop Wal-Mart’s sponsorship of this series.  The petition can be found at www.ufcw.org.

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