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April 27, 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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April 26, 2005

“”LOVE MOM, NOT WAL-MART”” CAMPAIGN GAINS SUPPORT

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.

CONGRESSWOMAN ROSA DELAURO’S LETTER
TO WAL-MART CEO LEE SCOTT

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
possible.

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

April 22, 2005

TRABAJADORES DE NEBRASKA BEEF GANAN EL DERECHO A NUEVA ELECCI

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.

April 22, 2005

Workers Win New Election to Gain Voice at Nebraska Beef

Omaha, Nebraska-The National Labor Relations Board ordered a new election at Nebraska Beef in Omaha, Neb., after citing the company for violating workers’ rights in an August 2001 election, after the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) had filed charges on behalf of the workers. The Board ordered the election to take place on May 26. The NLRB upheld a hearing officer’s findings and recommendation to set aside the 2001 election where the company used a broad range of intimidation tactics to deny workers a voice on the job. The workers had tried to organize with the UFCW Local Union 271.

Nebraska Beef, one of the country’s largest meatpacking plants, was cited for violations that included:

  • Illegal interrogation of employees concerning their union sympathies;
  • Illegal threats of job losses or loss of benefits if workers selected a union as their collective bargaining representative; and
  • Illegal threats to change working conditions if they selected the union.

The company employs approximately 1,100 mostly Latino workers who slaughter and process 2,400 cattle a day at the plant.

The NLRB ruling is just the latest in a series of actions, over the last few years, directed at Nebraska Beef by federal agencies for breaking the law.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture temporarily removed federal Food Safety and Inspection Service personnel from the plant in 2003 due to the company’s food safety violations. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service raided the plant in 2000, detaining more than 200 undocumented workers and indicted several mid-level company managers.

“”This ruling represents a victory for the workers at Nebraska Beef, who have had to wait four years before justice was done about the outrageously illegal behavior of the company,”” said Donna McDonald president of Local 271 in Omaha. “”We hope the entire community will bear witness to what goes on in the plant from now until the election is held, and hold Nebraska Beef accountable if they don’t live up to community values.””

UFCW Local 271 represents nearly 1,000 meatpacking workers in Omaha. The UFCW International Union represents approximately 250,000 members in the meatpacking and food processing industry.

April 20, 2005

wakeupwalmart.com Launches Mother’s Day Campaign Against Wal-Mart

Washington, D.C. – WakeUpWalmart.com, America’s Campaign to change Wal-Mart, announced today a new grassroots initiative to highlight Wal-Mart’s systematic discrimination against women workers. The “”Love Mom, not Wal-Mart”” campaign, the name of the initiative, will ask all Americans to sign a “”Mother’s Day Pledge”” promising not to buy their Mother’s Day gift at Wal-Mart this year until Wal-Mart stops discriminating against women.

As part of the campaign, the group will also be mailing Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart, Inc. the “”Mother of all Mother’s Day Cards.”” The enormous card, a symbol of how large Wal-Mart’s discrimination problem is, will ask Lee Scott to stop ignoring Wal-Mart’s record of discrimination and start doing the right thing for all our Moms and all women.

“”This Mother’s day, on behalf of all mothers and women across America, Wal-Mart must do the right thing and stop discriminating against women,”” stated Paul Blank, WakeUpWalmart.com Campaign Director. “”Wal-Mart’s systematic discrimination against women is simply un-American.””

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, women make-up 72% of Wal-Mart’s hourly workforce, but account for only 33% of managers and only 15% of store managers. In addition, women earn 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.

“”How can America’s richest company and largest employer of women discriminate against so many of its women workers, many of them Moms? It is time for Wal-Mart to wake up and stop treating its women workers 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 launches today on www.WakeUpWalmart.com . The Mother’s Day campaign includes discounts on sending flowers and tools for Americans to join the 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 and download a volunteer action toolkit which contains a fact sheet and flyer detailing Wal-Mart’s record of gender discrimination.

The text of the Mother’s Day pledge is as follows:

As a symbol of love and respect for my Mom, and all women across America, I pledge not to shop or buy any gifts for Mother’s Day at Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart’s company-wide policy of discriminating against so many hard-working women is terribly wrong. I stand with all of the 1.5 million Wal-Mart women who are part of the largest gender discrimination lawsuit in U.S. history.

In my America, Wal-Mart should do better than pay women and mothers less than men for equal work.

In my America, Wal-Mart should do better than disrespect all women and mothers by providing them with poor pay, poor health care, and poor working conditions.

As the largest employer of women in America, Wal-Mart has a responsibility to do the right thing!

I can easily say that my mother deserves better than Wal-Mart.
Until Wal-Mart changes for the better, I have one thing to say:
“”Love Mom…Not Wal-Mart.””

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April 13, 2005

Food and Commercial Workers File Charge against Wal-Mart On Coughlin “”Union Project””

Washington DC- The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) filed a “”Unfair Labor Practice Charge”” against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The charge against Wal-Mart is in response to the serious allegations that former Wal-Mart Board member and Vice Chairman Thomas M. Coughlin, the #2 person at the company, operated an illegal anti-union slush fund as part of a company program to monitor and suppress the democratic right of workers to organize.

In a letter to the NLRB, the UFCW states that “”the charge complains that Wal-Mart, acting through officers, employees and agents, including those at the highest levels of management, systematically denied workers their democratic right to exercise a choice for union representation.  Wal-Mart’s actions seemingly involved the criminal misappropriation of company funds to create an illegal anti-union slush fund.””

It also calls on the Board to “”use the NLRB’s subpoena power to obtain all relevant information from Wal-Mart, particularly the documents that are in possession of Wal-Mart according to former Wal-Mart Vice Chairman Thomas Coughlin and which, according to Coughlin, substantiate the alleged scheme.””

“”The point of the UFCW filing this charge with the NLRB is simple,”” said UFCW Executive Vice President Bill McDonough. “”The UFCW and the American people deserve to know what Wal-Mart knows about this ‘union project’ and when they knew it.””

In previous filings with the NLRB, Wal-Mart, Inc. has been found guilty of illegally spying, bribing with promotions, firing and intimidating workers. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the latest revelations, if true, mean that Wal-Mart’s anti-worker, anti-union program “”would represent a criminal offense under the federal Taft-Hartly Act,””-a federal felony to pay employees to persuade coworkers to abandon support for union representation. The Journal also reported that Coughlin “”is expected to use the ‘union project’ as part of his defense to the charges about mismanagement of funds.””

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April 10, 2005

UFCW Calls on Wal-Mart to Publicly Release Documents on Alleged Illegal Slush Fund

Washington DC—Today’s Wall Street Journal revealed that former Wal-Mart Board member and Vice Chairman Thomas M. Coughlin, the #2 person at the company, alleges that he operated an illegal anti-union slush fund as part of a company program to suppress the democratic freedom of workers to make a choice for a union voice at work.

The UFCW calls on the company to publicize all documents connected with the U.S. attorney’s criminal probe of the Coughlin case.

Wal-Mart has already been found guilty of illegally spying, bribing with promotions, firing and intimidating workers. According to the Wall Street Journal, these revelations, if true, mean that Wal-Mart’s anti-worker, anti-union program “would represent a criminal offense under the federal Taft-Hartly Act,”—a federal felony to pay employees to persuade coworkers to abandon support for union representation.

The Journal also reported that Coughlin “is expected to use the ‘union project’ as part of his defense to the charges about mismanagement of funds.”

“We are deeply disturbed by these allegations of Wal-Mart’s anti-union activity,” stated UFCW Executive Vice President and Director of Organizing Bill McDonough.   These are serious criminal offenses and cast Wal-Mart’s systematic anti-worker activities on a much more sinister level.  Wal-Mart should not try and cover up its activities but should do the right thing and make all of the documents public immediately.”

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April 6, 2005

Wal-Mart Admits Their Health Care Program Falls Short

WakeUpWalmart.com, America’s campaign to change Wal-Mart, challenged Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart, Inc. to explain his statement yesterday regarding Wal-Mart’s health care coverage.  During “”Wal-Mart Media Days,”” a two-day public relations effort to improve Wal-Mart’s image, Lee Scott answered questions from reporters.

According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Scott, in response to a reporter’s question about why Wal-Mart has the most number of employees on state Medicaid rolls, apparently said, “”There are government assistance programs out there that are so lucrative it’s hard to be competitive, and it’s expensive to be competitive,”” Scott said.

Georgia state legislator Nan Orrock was shocked.  “”It should be an embarrassment to Wal-Mart that our tax-payer funded Medicaid programs compete with their dismal health care,”” stated Orrock.  “”Our programs are intended for our state’s poor and underserved as a safety net, not as a better alternative to the largest corporation with more than $10 billion in profit.””

Instead of living up to its responsibility as America’s largest corporation, Wal-Mart continues to ask taxpayers to pay their health care costs.  Several states are considering addressing this health care cost shift.  In Maryland, for example, the State Senate passed a bill yesterday requiring corporations to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on health care benefits for its employees or put the difference into Maryland’s Medicaid fund.  According to the Baltimore Sun, Maryland has several employers with over 10,000 employees, but Wal-Mart is the only company that fails to meet the 8 percent threshold.

“”This is outrageous! With over $10 billion in profits, Wal-Mart has a moral responsibility to provide decent healthcare for their 1.4 million employees,”” stated Paul Blank, Wake-Up Wal-Mart’s campaign director.  “”It is a sad day when the largest company in America admits that taxpayer sponsored healthcare programs, like Medicaid, provide better health care than our nation’s largest employer.””

It should also be noted, in the 11 out of 12 states where we have data, Wal-Mart is the company with the highest number of employees on Medicaid.  In addition, more than 500,000 of Wal-Mart’s employees do not receive coverage under Wal-Mart’s health care plan.

“”It’s quite simple. Wal-mart needs to wake-up and do what is right for America! Wal-Mart has a responsibility to provide affordable, comprehensive health care to its employees not shift the cost onto the American taxpayers.  America’s largest company should reflect America’s values,”” added Blank.

The Wake-Up Wal-Mart campaign was launched on April 5, 2005 by the UFCW and more information is available at www.wakeupwalmart.com.

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April 5, 2005

UFCW Launches New Campaign to “”Wake Up Wal-Mart””

The UFCW announced today it is launching a new grassroots, community-based campaign to wake up Wal-Mart.  The campaign’s website “”www.WakeupWalMart.com“” and the campaign’s blog “”http://blog.WakeUpWalmart.com“” will be at the center of this new grassroots movement that will lead and revolutionize the national fight to change Wal-Mart.

“”This is a new day and a new strategy in the fight against Wal-Mart,”” stated Paul Blank, the new campaign director for the Wake-Up Wal-Mart campaign.  “”Wal-Mart’s greed puts profits before people.  Today, we are forming a grassroots movement to empower millions of Americans to ask Wal-Mart to put people first.””

“”The rise of Wal-Mart as the world’s largest retailer has come at a high cost to our society.  Traditional organizing campaigns are too limited for a greedy, global company who is willing to cut its nose to spite its face rather than do the right thing and stand up for people,”” said Blank.  “”For too long, Wal-Mart’s business practice has been to lower our wages, pressure suppliers to ship our jobs overseas, shift their health care costs onto American taxpayers and ask communities to give over $1 billion in subsidies for their expansion.””

“”All across America, consumers and taxpayers are waking up to the high cost of Wal-Mart’s poverty wages, reliance on taxpayer funded state health care programs and devastating impact on communities.  Wal-Mart’s values are not America’s values,”” stated Blank.  “”There is only one force powerful enough to change the largest corporation in the world, the largest retailer in the world and the largest employer in the world-the American people.  We are Wal-Mart’s consumers and it is time for Wal-Mart to wake up and start doing what is right for its employees, our families, and our country.””

The Wake-Up Wal-Mart campaign will give people the tools they need to join together in common purpose in order to change the largest corporation in the world.  The campaign will utilize an array of organizing strategies, innovative media, a blog and other internet tools that have been used successfully in previous political and grassroots campaigns.

The website, WakeupWalMart.com, will offer concerned citizens, community leaders, activists, and workers an online vehicle where they can learn the truth about Wal-Mart’s record, as well as become an active member in this new grassroots movement. The “”Take Action”” center of the website will even feature a new tool for community leaders to Adopt-A-Store and begin forming community coalitions around every Wal-Mart location in the United States.

The website will also be used to form a new group of current and former Wal-Mart employees called the Wal-Mart Veterans Association.  This will be a place for former and current employees to join together and share their Wal-Mart experience.

In addition, the website will feature a blog about Wal-Mart that will be updated throughout the day on news and stories related to Wal-Mart.  It will become a vital resource for the millions of Americans who believe Wal-Mart needs to be changed.

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