April, 2005

UFCW Statement Regarding Wal-Mart Whistleblower

Statement by Bill McDonough, UFCW Executive Vice President

Wal-Mart demonstrated its true colors with its firing of Jared Bowen who blew the whistle on the company’s “union project.” That Mr. Bowen has asked the U.S. Attorney for protection as a federal whistleblower demonstrates the fear Wal-Mart instills in employees who use what the company calls the “”Open Door”” policy—and employees call the “”Out the Door”” policy. Treating workers fairly and with respect is not a choice—it’s the right thing to do.

Time after time, on issues of child labor, gender equality, protecting a workers’ democratic right to organize, and now, defending a worker’s right to report wrongdoing, Wal-Mart has chosen the wrong path. It’s time for Wal-Mart to wake up and do the right thing.
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Washington DC – Today, on Capitol Hill, five distinguished Members of Congress – Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Rep. George Miller, Rep. Linda Sanchez, Rep. Hilda Solis, and Rep. Jan Schakowsky – joined with Linda Chavez-Thompson, Executive Vice-President of the AFL-CIO, a plaintiff in the Wal-Mart gender discrimination lawsuit, and former Miss America Carolyn Sapp to pledge their support for the “”Love Mom, Not Wal-Mart”” campaign.

The “”Love Mom, not Wal-Mart”” campaign, the latest initiative by WakeUpWalmart.com, unveiled the “”Mother of all Mother’s Day”” card. The card is an enormous 8 foot by 8 foot Mother’s Day card, a symbol of how large Wal-Mart’s discrimination problem is, calling on CEO Lee Scott to stop ignoring Wal-Mart’s record of discrimination and start doing the right thing for all our Moms and all women.

As sign of their support for the “”Love Mom, Not Wal-Mart”” campaign, Rep. DeLauro, Rep. Miller, Rep. Sanchez, Rep. Solis, and Rep. Schakowsky, former Miss America Carolyn Sapp, and Linda Chavez-Thompson signed the “”Mother of all Mother’s Day”” card. The card reads, “”Dear Lee Scott, It’s time for Wal-Mart to honor and respect all women. This Mother’s Day, Wal-Mart should stop discriminating against women. Happy Mother’s Day, WakeUpWalmart.com.””

“”We are so pleased that these well-respected leaders have joined America’s campaign to change Wal-Mart,”” said Paul Blank, WakeUpWalmart.com Campaign Director. “”We can only hope that this Mother’s day, on behalf of all mothers and women across America, Wal-Mart will finally do the right thing and end its discrimination of its women workers.””

As part of the “”Love Mom, Not Wal-Mart”” campaign, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro released a dear colleague letter for other Congressional members to sign calling for a Congressional review of Wal-Mart’s wage statistics. The letter reads, “”We would ask Wal-Mart to disclose its wage statistics for congressional review, including any documents submitted to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.””

The “”Love Mom, Not Wal-Mart”” is kicking off a two-week effort, including blog ads and on-the-ground organizing, to ask all Americans to sign the “”Mother’s Day Pledge”” promising not to buy their Mother’s Day gift at Wal-Mart this year until Wal-Mart finally ends its discrimination against women workers. Already, thousands of Americans have signed the pledge.

“”How can America’s richest company and largest employer of women discriminate against more than 1.5 million of its women workers, many of them Moms? It is time for Wal-Mart to wake up and stop treating its female employees and their families like second class citizens.”” added Susan Phillips, Director of Women’s Outreach for WakeUpWalMart.com.

The “”Love Mom, Not Wal-Mart”” campaign highlights Wal-Mart’s terrible record of discriminating against its women workers. Wal-Mart is currently involved in a gender discrimination lawsuit covering more than 1.5 million women. The case is the largest class action lawsuit in U.S. history. The suit documents Wal-Mart’s systematic discrimination against women for lower pay and unequal promotion. In fact, in a recent study, women made-up 72% of Wal-Mart’s hourly workforce, but accounted for only 33% of managers and only 15% of store managers. In addition, women earned from 5% to 15% less than men for the exact same work. This equates to nearly 40 cents less per hour for female hourly workers or nearly $5,000 less per year for female managers.

The “”Love Mom, Not Wal-Mart”” campaign is part of WakeUpWalmart.com, a growing grassroots campaign calling on Wal-Mart to change. As part of the Mother’s Day campaign, supporters can sign the Mother’s Day pledge and send the pledge to their friends. Supporters will also be able to send Mother’s day e-cards, purchase discounted flowers and download a volunteer action toolkit which contains a fact sheet and flyer detailing Wal-Mart’s record of gender discrimination.


Dear Mr. Scott,

We are writing to bring to your attention an ongoing matter involving
Wal-Mart and its policy regarding gender discrimination. As you know, pay
inequity is a serious issue in the United States, with women still earning
only 76 cents for every dollar that a man earns. That is why it is of great
concern to us that Wal-Mart, America’s largest employer, does not pay its
women the same wage as men for the same work.

A recent analysis of Wal-Mart’s own payroll record conducted by Professor
Richard Drogin, Professor Emeritus at University of California, Berkeley,
showed that Wal-Mart paid its female hourly workers 40 cents less per hour
than their male counterparts, with female managers earning nearly $5,000 per
year less than managers who were men. In addition, while women comprise 72
percent of your workforce, almost 700,000 overall, women only account for a
third of your managers and only 15 percent of your store managers – this,
despite the fact that your female employees, on average, earn higher
performance ratings than men and turnover less frequently.

In view of this, we would ask Wal-Mart to disclose its wage statistics for
congressional review, including any documents submitted to the federal Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission. In doing so, we seek to further
understand why Wal-Mart pays its women associates less than men and promotes
its female workers less frequently than their male counterparts.

We welcome your new commitment to begin a national discussion about
Wal-Mart’s business practices; certainly, as the nation’s wealthiest and
largest employer and largest company, Wal-Mart has a unique role and
responsibility to do the right thing and set the best standard for America.
But it remains unacceptable for any employer, much less our nation’s
largest, to discriminate against its women workers. We would urge you to
take a personal interest and active role in resolving this issue as soon as

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to
your response.


Omaha, Nebraska — Respondiendo a cargos que la Union de Trabajadores Comerciales y de Alimentos (UFCW) presentó a nombre de trabajadores, la Junta Nacional de Relaciones del Trabajo (NLRB) ordenó una nueva elección en la planta Nebraska Beef en Omaha, Neb., al sancionar a la compañía por violar los derechos de sus trabajadores en las elecciones de Agosto del 2001. La NLRB confirmo las conclusiones y recomendaciones de un oficial de audiencias de desechar las elecciones del 2001, en las cuales la compañía uso una amplia gama de tácticas de intimidación para negar a los trabajadores una voz en el trabajo.

Nebraska Beef, una de las plantas empacadoras de carne de res en el país, fue sancionada por violaciones que incluyen:

  • Interrogación ilegal de empleados acerca de sus simpatías hacia la Union;
  • Amenazas ilegales de perdida de empleos o beneficios si los trabajadores seleccionaban una Union como su representante para negociaciones colectivas; y
  • Amenazas ilegales de cambiar las condiciones de trabajo si seleccionaban una Union.

La compañía emplea aproximadamente 1,100 trabajadores, en su mayoría latinos, que matan y procesan 2,400 reses al día y generan cerca de $2.7 millones en ganancias al día.

La opinión de la NLRB es solo la última de una serie de acciones de agencias federales contra Nebraska Beef por violaciones a la ley en años recientes. El Departamento de Agricultura de los Estados Unidos retiro de la planta temporalmente al personal del Servicio de Inspección y Seguridad de Alimentos en el 2003 debido a las violaciones a la seguridad de los alimentos por parte de la compañía. El Servicio de Inmigración y Naturalización de los Estados Unidos allanó la planta en 2000 y detuvo a más de 200 trabajadores indocumentados y encausó a varios administradores de nivel medio.

“”Esta decisión es una victoria para los trabajadores de Nebraska Beef, quienes tuvieron que esperar cuatro años antes de que se hiciera justicia por la conducta escandalosamente ilegal de la compañía,”” declaró Donna MacDonald, presidenta del Local 271 en Omaha. “”Esperamos que la comunidad entera de testimonio de lo que ocurre en la planta desde ahora y hasta que se lleve acabo la elección, y que se haga responsable a Nebraska Beef de respetar los valores de la comunidad.””

La UFCW Local 271 representa aproximadamente 1,000 trabajadores empacadores de carne en Omaha. La Union Internacional UFCW representa aproximadamente 250,000 miembros en la industria de empacadoras de carne y procesamiento de alimentos.