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September 12, 2005

WakeUpWalMart.com Reaches Out to Wal-Mart CEO With “”Six Demands for Change””

Group Also Officially Announces Launch of WalMartWeek.com

Washington D.C. – Today, WakeUpWalMart.com, America’s campaign to change Wal-Mart, released a dramatic open letter to Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart. The letter applauds Wal-Mart for its response to Hurricane Katrina and calls on Wal-Mart to meet with WakeUpWalMart.com and establish a new partnership for change.

Given the new standard set by Wal-Mart to do the right thing, the letter highlights “”six demands for change”” and extends the first offer to build a true working partnership between WakeUpWalMart.com and Wal-Mart in order to better the lives of their workers, their families, and millions of Americans – everyday.

“”Just imagine the good Wal-Mart can do if it works with us to become a better company by doing the right thing – everyday.  Our ‘six demands for change’ are a sincere effort to help Wal-Mart become a better business.  The question is: will Wal-Mart now work with us to improve the lives of workers who live in crisis everyday,”” said Paul Blank, campaign director, WakeUpWalMart.com.

The open letter will be published tomorrow, Tuesday, September 13th, in the Benton County Daily Record, the hometown newspaper of Wal-Mart’s headquarters.

The open letter presents Wal-Mart with the first “”list of demands.””  As the letter states, “”Wal-Mart has a great opportunity to work with us to help improve the lives of so many Americans who face an economic and health care crisis everyday, everywhere in America. The American people want to know, will Wal-Mart do what is right for America or will Wal-Mart lead a race to the bottom?””

The “”six demands for change”” include: paying their workers a living wage; providing affordable health care to their workers; and, increasing the percentage of “”Made in America”” goods sold at Wal-Mart stores.

“”We have offered this list of demands to Wal-Mart as an olive branch in the spirit of wanting real change. Our sincere hope is that Wal-Mart will work with us to improve the lives of others and to make this nation a truly better place everyday.  We, and America, await their answer,”” added Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com.

The letter also officially announced the launch of WalMartWeek.com – the new website will highlight many of the activities and events, such as the national release of the movie, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, scheduled to be released during “”Wal-Mart Week,”” November 13-19.  WakeUpWalMart.com and a broad coalition of partners from all across America will use this week to raise public awareness about the negative effects Wal-Mart has on their workers, the community, and the nation and to officially launch our holiday campaign.

In the letter to Scott, WakeUpWalMart.com states that they hope by “”Wal-Mart Week”” the two groups and the nation will able to celebrate the many changes Wal-Mart has undertaken to improve the lives of its workers and to better the nation.

Please read the open letter to Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart, below:


AN OPEN LETTER TO WAL-MART CEO LEE SCOTT

Mr. Lee Scott, CEO
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Bentonville, Arkansas 72716-8611

Dear Mr. Scott,

In the wake of the terrible tragedies caused by Hurricane Katrina, Wal-Mart helped ease the suffering of many Americans.  This crisis brought out the best in Wal-Mart and we applaud your hurricane relief efforts. We hope Wal-Mart’s response to Hurricane Katrina represents a turning point.

Wal-Mart has a great opportunity to work with us to help improve the lives of so many Americans who face an economic and health care crisis everyday, everywhere in America. The American people want to know, will Wal-Mart do what is right for America or will Wal-Mart lead a race to the bottom?

We believe now is the time for Wal-Mart to address the serious issues facing its 1.3 million workers, their families, our communities and our country by agreeing to the following “”six demands for change.””

  1. Living Wage.  Pay all Wal-Mart workers a fair living wage so they can support their families.
  2. Affordable Health Care.  Provide all workers comprehensive, affordable health insurance coverage so they can care for their families and no longer be forced to rely on taxpayer-funded public health care.
  3. End Discrimination.  Ensure equal opportunity and equal pay for women and people of color in your workforce at all levels through a stringent and independent monitoring process.
  4. Zero Tolerance on Child Labor. Adopt a zero tolerance policy and institute an independent monitoring program to stop the exploitation of child labor in the United States and abroad.
  5. Buy American.  Establish a “”Buy America”” program that annually increases the percentage of “”Made in America”” goods purchased by Wal-Mart so as to help protect American jobs.
  6. Respect Communities. Work with local communities to effectively address Wal-Mart’s negative impact on issues like traffic, sprawl, the environment, and local businesses.

As you stated recently, “”When you do the right thing, good things accrue to you.””  We agree.  Just imagine the good Wal-Mart can do if it works with us to become a better company by doing the right thing – everyday. We hope you will view our “”six demands for change”” as a sincere effort to form a new partnership for change.

In the end, we are not your enemy. Our goal is to be your partner in making Wal-Mart a better business.  We welcome the opportunity to meet with you and discuss how we can help Wal-Mart grow and prosper in new ways. But, make no mistake about it, if Wal-Mart refuses to change for the better, we will continue to build this broad-based social movement into one of the most powerful forces for change the nation has ever seen.

Wal-Mart has an incredible opportunity – right now – to work with us to better the lives of all your workers, to set a new standard for corporate America, to be a better business, and to build a better nation. We hope you will and look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

WakeUpWalMart.com – America’s Campaign to Change Wal-Mart.

P.S. This November we, along with a broad coalition of community organizations, will be launching Wal-Mart Week, November 13th – 19th, to highlight Wal-Mart’s negative impact on America.  You can go to www.walmartweek.com and learn more about the actions we will be taking and the movie being released.  Our hope is that by then, instead of highlighting Wal-Mart’s failures, we can stand together and celebrate a new day at Wal-Mart – a day when real change improved the lives of millions of Americans.