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November 15, 2005

WAL-MART VS. AMERICA NEWSPAPER AD OFFICIALLY LAUNCHES WAKEUPWALMART.COM’S EFFORTS DURING NATIONAL WEEK OF ACTION

Nov. 14 – Washington, D.C. – Today, WakeUpWalMart.com, America’s campaign to change Wal-Mart, announced the launch of the next phase of its media campaign and its activities during Wal-Mart Week. This week, hundreds of thousands of Americans will take part in local movie screenings of Robert Greenwald’s new movie – Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price. WakeUpWalMart.com also announced it has surpassed more than 125,000 Americans in all 50 states – making it one of the fastest growing social movements in America.

“”This is not just the beginning of a campaign, it is the beginning of a national movement. Wal-Mart’s record of poverty level wages, unaffordable health care and child labor violations undermines American values. When the American people know the truth, they will reject Wal-Mart’s bad business practices and join our movement to make Wal-Mart a responsible corporation,”” said Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com.

The message of today’s New York Times ad, and the framework for the week, is “”Wal-Mart vs. America.”” The ad shows a map of the United States being pulled apart by Wal-Mart’s Smiley Face on one side and Uncle Sam on the other side. It details the difference between Wal-Mart’s America and Our America on issues such as: poverty level wages, poor health care, gender discrimination, special interest lobbyists and child labor. The ad, also, previews upcoming events during Wal-Mart Week, stating, “”This week, in cities and towns all across the nation, hundreds of thousands of Americans are standing up to corporate greed and demonstrating the amazing power all Americans have to change Wal-Mart and America for the better.””

“”We are building the largest, most coordinated campaign in history to change Wal-Mart. With more than 125,000 supporters, in all 50 states, WakeUpWalMart.com is an unprecedented grassroots effort to educate consumers about the high cost we all pay for Wal-Mart’s greed,”” said Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com

During Wal-Mart Week, WakeUpWalMart.com supporters will hold screenings in over 140 cities and 35 states. In total, supporters of the campaign and Robert Greenwald’s movie have planned over 4000 screenings during this week of action.

WakeUpWalMart.com is building the largest grassroots movement to change a corporation in history. With over 125,000 supporters, WakeUpWalMart.com is one of the fastest growing social movements in America. Find out more about the campaign at www.WakeUpWalMart.com.

November 14, 2005

Statement of Joe Hansen, UFCW International President

Justices Agree to End the Workplace Rip-off

(Washington, DC) – Meatpacking, poultry and food processing workers finally have the backing and protection of the highest court in the land.  Today, the United States Supreme Court affirmed the position long held by workers and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) – that employers must pay workers for time spent obtaining required safety equipment and reporting to their work location in the plant.  The UFCW has advocated for decades that all required time is paid time.

For far too long, employers have cheated workers out of their full paycheck by refusing to pay them for the time it takes to pick up their required safety equipment such as chain mail gloves, hair nets, aprons and heavy boots.  Meat industry giants like Tyson Foods, which owns IBP, have long insisted that workers paid time does not include as much as thirty to forty minutes per day spent collecting and putting on their gear and walking to their station on the production line.

Today, the Supreme Court justices unanimously agreed that workers deserve to be paid for that time.  In reality, the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court had to rule on such a case speaks volumes about the greed and arrogance of employers in this country.  It wasn’t enough to cheat workers out of their wages, the meat packing industry fought for the right to continue its rip-off all the way to the highest court.

The time has finally come for the hundreds of thousands of workers to receive their rightfully due wages when they report for duty in America’s food industry workplaces.  Today’s court ruling is a tremendous victory for workers.

Click here for a copy of the ruling.

November 9, 2005

WakeUpWalMart.com Releases New 30-second Ad

First Commercial to Highlight Wal-Mart’s Growing Moral Corruption
and use Tom Delay’s “Smiley Face” Booking Photo
and Scooter Libby Indictment in Ad Campaign

Washington, D.C. – WakeUpWalMart.com, America’s campaign to change Wal-Mart, launched a new 30-second advertisement that asks and answers the question “Who is the most corrupt in America?”

The dramatic spot highlights the growing number of morally corrupt scandals in America, including Rep. Tom Delay’s arrest, Scooter Libby’s indictment, and Sen. Bill Frist’s investigation and concludes none of these are as bad as Wal-Mart and CEO Lee Scott’s morally corrupt policies.

“American values and morality are being perverted by our nation’s corporate and political leaders.  The definition of corrupt is to become morally debased.  Is there anything more morally debased than a $290 billion giant like Wal-Mart having over 600,000 of its workers without company health care or being sued by more than 1.5 million women for discrimination?” said Paul Blank, campaign director WakeUpWalMart.com.

The 30-second commercial presents the specific reasons why Wal-Mart is the most morally corrupt.   The ad highlights Wal-Mart’s failure to provide affordable health care to all of its workers, its record of repeated child labor violations, and the largest gender discrimination lawsuit in history affecting over 1.5 million female employees.

The ad will also be the first in the nation to use Tom Delay’s “Smiley Face” booking photo and Scooter Libby in a national media campaign.

“To be frank, it was tough to decide who is the most morally corrupt between Tom Delay, Bill Frist, Scooter Libby, or Lee Scott?   But, Wal-Mart is the most morally corrupt because they choose to put their own greed before their own people everyday.”

The first phase of the “Who Is the Most Corrupt?” media campaign launches on over 22 websites with a collective reach of over 17 million page views daily.   The ad campaign is a prelude to next week’s grassroots actions all across the country led by WakeUpWalMart.com and its coalition partners.  As part of Wal-Mart Week, WakeUpWalMart.com and its 115,000 supporters will host movie screenings of Robert Greenwald’s movie “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price,” and will be taking part in an array of actions to raise public awareness about the negative effects Wal-Mart is having on its workers, their families, and the nation.

TV ad script – Most Corrupt

Corrupt.  To become morally debased.
So, who is the most corrupt in America?
Is it Congressman Tom Delay?
Senator Bill Frist?
Former Bush official Scooter Libby?
Or, Wal-Mart’s CEO, Lee Scott?
Over 600,000 Wal-Mart workers have no company health care
Wal-Mart repeatedly violated child labor laws.
And, over 1.5 million women are suing Wal-Mart for discrimination.
So, who is the most corrupt?
Lee Scott and Wal-Mart

To view this ad, click here:

http://www.wakeupwalmart.com/video/corrupt.html

November 9, 2005

Declaraciones de Joe Hansen, Presidente Internacional de la UFCW

WASHINGTON, DC – Los trabajadores de empacadoras de carne, de procesadoras avícolas y de otros alimentos, cuentan finalmente con el respaldo y protección de la corte más alta del país.  Hoy, la Corte Suprema de Justicia de Estados Unidos afirmó una postura mantenida por mucho tiempo por trabajadores y por la Union de Trabajadores de Alimentos y Entidades Comerciales (UFCW) – que indica que las empresas deben pagar a sus trabajadores por el tiempo utilizado para cumplir con requisitos de seguridad laboral, como el uso de equipos de protección personal.  Desde hace décadas que la UFCW aboca para que se le pague al trabajador por la totalidad de tiempo en el trabajo.

Hace ya demasiado tiempo que las empresas se aprovechan de sus trabajadores, y que rehúsan pagar una remuneración justa, que incluye el tiempo utilizado para recoger equipos de seguridad y protección personal de uso obligatorio en el trabajo como guantes de correo en cadena, red/malla para el pelo, delantal y botas pesadas.

Empresas gigantes de la industria de la carne como Tyson Foods, que es dueña de IBP, han insistido por mucho tiempo que el horario de trabajo remunerado excluye el tiempo que generalmente le toma a un trabajador  para recoger y ponerse equipos de seguridad obligatorios, así como para llegar al lugar especifico de la planta donde éste trabaja.  Este proceso puede tomar hasta 30 a 40 minutos cada día.

Hoy, la Corte Suprema de Justicia determinó por unanimidad que los trabajadores merecen ser pagados por ese tiempo.  El hecho que haya sido la Corte Suprema quien tuvo que decidir este tema refleja una vez más la cultura a la avaricia y a la arrogancia que afecta a las empresas de este país.  Como no bastó con estafar a sus empleados por años, las empacadoras de carne tuvieron que llegar hasta la corte más alta para luchar por el derecho a seguir estafando a sus trabajadores.

Finalmente ha llegado la hora para que cientos de miles de trabajadores reciban un pago justo al presentarse para trabajar en la industria de alimentos de Estados Unidos.  La decisión de la corte de hoy es una gran victoria para los trabajadores.

Para mayor información, contacte a Jill Cashen, 202-728-4797 o press@ufcw.org.

November 7, 2005

Strike Ends at Lakeside Packers as Workers Win First Collective Agreement

BROOKS, AB (UFCW Canada) – Lakeside Packers employees have voted to ratify a first collective agreement ending their strike against the Brooks, Alberta slaughterhouse and processing facility that began on October 12.Lakeside Packers is owned by Arkansas-based Tyson Foods.

The contract was approved by a majority of the workers in a ratification vote held in Brooks, ending a bitter three-week-old strike by members of UFCW Canada Local 401 that had successfully crippled production at the plant.

The contract includes a number of significant gains including wage increases, improvements to short-term disability benefits, union security and grievance procedures, and a requirement that all new hires become members of the union.

Lakeside Packers employs about 2,300 workers and processes about 4,000 head of cattle a day. The new collective agreement had been recommended to the membership by the Lakeside Employees Bargaining Committee and lasts until 2009.

November 4, 2005

WAKEUPWALMART.COM LAUNCHES WAL-MART WORKERS OF AMERICA (WWOA), THE FIRST NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR WAL-MART WORKERS

50 UNINSURED WAL-MART WORKERS WILL QUALIFY
FOR $200 HEALTH CARE GRANTS

Washington, DC – Today, WakeUpWalMart.com, America’s campaign to change Wal-Mart, officially launched the Wal-Mart Workers of America (WWOA) – the first national association for Wal-Mart workers.  WWOA is a new and exciting step to help empower Wal-Mart Workers to join together in order to improve their working conditions, their lives and change Wal-Mart into a more responsible and moral corporation. WWOA is launching a new website, www.WalMartWorkersofAmerica.com, which will offer a national clearing house of information and services for former and current Wal-Mart workers.

As part of the initial launch of the association, the WWOA will also offer 50 uninsured Wal-Mart workers the opportunity to qualify for $200 in health care money.  The health care assistance offered by the WWOA is the product of over $10,000 raised by more than 100 grassroots Halloween fundraisers held by WakeUpWalMart.com supporters last week in 84 cities and 22 states.

“Everyday 1.3 million workers help make Wal-Mart one of America’s most profitable companies, and yet, everyday it seems Wal-Mart finds new ways to exploit these hard-working Americans.  WWOA will be a powerful tool to help Wal-Mart’s workers join together to improve their lives and make Wal-Mart change for the better,” said Paul Blank, Campaign Director for WakeUpWalMart.com.

The WWOA is being founded in response to Wal-Mart’s secret memo and the company’s troubling record of exploiting its workers. Wal-Mart’s secret memo, written by Wal-Mart Executive Vice President Susan Chambers, outlines a series of shocking recommendations, including: plans to cut costs further by reducing hours; shifting from full-time to part-time workers; pushing out senior workers; and, even cutting health care costs by dissuading unhealthy or obese people from applying. In addition, Wal-Mart has a long and well-documented record of exploiting its workers, including forcing them to work off-the-clock, discriminating against female employees and breaking child labor laws.  Both the Wal-Mart Memo and its unwillingness to substantively change how it treats its workers has led to the creation of the Wal-Mart Workers of America.

The WWOA will officially launch its first membership drive today and plans to reach out to 100,000 Wal-Mart workers within the first phase of its membership drive.  Workers will be contacted through grassroots actions and through a community-based radio and print advertising campaign.

“For the first time, all Wal-Mart workers will now have the ability to join an association, to join together, to empower each other, and to build a movement for Wal-Mart to change. Working together, Wal-Mart workers can be a new and powerful force for change. Let there be no doubt, the WWOA will finally create a ‘real open door’ for change – a door Wal-Mart will never be able to close,” said Blank

Membership to WWOA is free to all former and current Wal-Mart workers who wish to join. The WWOA will provide an array of services to members including: how to qualify for health care money; a free 1-800# help hotline to provide advice and consultation about work place issues; information about class-action lawsuits affecting Wal-Mart workers; a confidential way to be a whistleblower; information and facts about their labor rights under state and federal law; how to defend themselves under America’s labor laws; a central clearing house for recent news and stories about Wal-Mart; recent actions in the grassroots campaign to change Wal-Mart; email updates on Wal-Mart and the WWOA; and quarterly newsletters.

October 31, 2005

WakeUpWalMart.com Launches Nation’s First Campaign about the Movie & Secret Memo Walmart Does Not Want You to See

TV AD TO AIR IN NEW YORK CITY, WASHINGTONDC METRO, LOS ANGELES AND LITTLE ROCK; NATIONAL PRINT AD IN USATODAY TO REACH OVER 2 MILLION READERS; AND INTERNET CAMPAIGN WILL TARGET OVER 19 WEBSITES WITH A REACH OF 17 MILLION READERS.

Washington, DC – Today, WakeUpWalMart.com launched the nation’s first advertising and multi-media campaign about “the movie and the memo Wal-Mart does not what you to see.” As part of this national media effort, the group will run a full-page ad in Monday’s edition of USA Today, internet ads on 19 sites with over 17 million readers, and a 30-second TV Ad, entitled “High Cost.”

“America will be shocked when they learn the truth about Wal-Mart as seen in the new film – Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price. Our new multimedia campaign is just the beginning of our national movement to expose the truth about the high cost of shopping at Wal-Mart,” said Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com.

WakeUpWalMart.com’s nationwide media campaign is the first national TV, print, and online media campaign launched in the fight to change Wal-Mart.  The media campaign, beginning Monday, Oct. 31st, will highlight ‘Wal-Mart’s Secret Memo’ that is shocking the nation and the Robert Greenwald documentary: “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price.”   The 30-second television commercial was produced by Joe Trippi – Democratic strategist and former presidential campaign manager for Howard Dean.

The full-page USA TODAY ad encourages all Americans to visit WakeUpWalMart.com to see the commercial for the Wal-Mart movie and to get their copy of ‘Wal-Mart’s Secret Memo.’

The launch of the national media campaign follows a successful weekend of activities in 84 cities and 22 states highlighting Wal-Mart’s health care crisis and distributing out the internal memo shocking the nation.  Following the release of WakeUpWalMart.com’s ‘Six Demands for Change’ to Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott, the organization has surpassed 112,000 supporters in all 50 states — making WakeUpWalMart.com the nation’s largest effort to change a corporation in history.

October 31, 2005

WakeUpWalMart.com Launches Nation’s First Campaign about the Movie & Secret Memo Walmart Does Not Want You to See

TV AD TO AIR IN NEW YORK CITY, WASHINGTONDC METRO, LOS ANGELES AND LITTLE ROCK; NATIONAL PRINT AD IN USATODAY TO REACH OVER 2 MILLION READERS; AND INTERNET CAMPAIGN WILL TARGET OVER 19 WEBSITES WITH A REACH OF 17 MILLION READERS.

Washington, DC – Today, WakeUpWalMart.com launched the nation’s first advertising and multi-media campaign about “the movie and the memo Wal-Mart does not what you to see.” As part of this national media effort, the group will run a full-page ad in Monday’s edition of USA Today, internet ads on 19 sites with over 17 million readers, and a 30-second TV Ad, entitled “High Cost.”

“America will be shocked when they learn the truth about Wal-Mart as seen in the new film – Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price. Our new multimedia campaign is just the beginning of our national movement to expose the truth about the high cost of shopping at Wal-Mart,” said Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com.

WakeUpWalMart.com’s nationwide media campaign is the first national TV, print, and online media campaign launched in the fight to change Wal-Mart.  The media campaign, beginning Monday, Oct. 31st, will highlight ‘Wal-Mart’s Secret Memo’ that is shocking the nation and the Robert Greenwald documentary: “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price.”   The 30-second television commercial was produced by Joe Trippi – Democratic strategist and former presidential campaign manager for Howard Dean.

The full-page USA TODAY ad encourages all Americans to visit WakeUpWalMart.com to see the commercial for the Wal-Mart movie and to get their copy of ‘Wal-Mart’s Secret Memo.’

The launch of the national media campaign follows a successful weekend of activities in 84 cities and 22 states highlighting Wal-Mart’s health care crisis and distributing out the internal memo shocking the nation.  Following the release of WakeUpWalMart.com’s ‘Six Demands for Change’ to Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott, the organization has surpassed 112,000 supporters in all 50 states — making WakeUpWalMart.com the nation’s largest effort to change a corporation in history.

October 28, 2005

WAKEUPWALMART.COM LAUNCHES NATION’S FIRST HALLOWEEN FUNDRAISING DRIVE TO HELP WAL-MART WORKERS PAY FOR HEALTH CARE

Washington, D.C. – WakeUpWalMart.com, America’s leading campaign to change Wal-Mart, will hold an unprecedented series of public actions around Wal-Mart locations all across America as part of the “”Nothing’s Scarier than Not Having Health Care”” campaign. From October 28th-31st, supporters of WakeUpWalMart.com will hold the nation’s first Halloween fundraising drive to help uninsured Wal-Mart workers and will distribute flyers about the shocking “”Secret Wal-Mart memo”” that was revealed by the New York Times. The public actions led by local supporters of WakeUpWalMart.com will be occurring in 84 cities and 26 states.

“”It is a national tragedy that Wal-Mart, a company with $10 billion dollars in profits, has such poor health care benefits that 1 out of every 2 children of Wal-Mart workers either has no health insurance or relies on a public program. In fact, as Wal-Mart’s internal memo proves, this company is determined to cut its health care costs by shifting more workers to part-time, making it more expensive for spouses and even not hiring unhealthy or obese workers. Our hope is that through the generous donations of the American people, we can help at least a few Wal-Mart workers have the health care they deserve and need,”” said Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com, America’s campaign to change Wal-Mart.

Supporters of WakeUpWalMart.com will also be distributing the highlights of Wal-Mart’s shocking secret memo authored by Executive Vice President Susan Chambers. The memo outlines the company’s frightening plans to use more part-time workers instead of full-time workers, to push spouses of workers off Wal-Mart’s health care plan through higher premiums, and to try to dissuade “”unhealthy”” people from seeking jobs at Wal-Mart. The memo states that executives enthusiastically embraced these recommendations.

“”Wal-Mart’ Secret Memo proves that Wal-Mart views its workers as if they were cattle – to be weighed, aged, and disregarded if they don’t meet its vision of “”healthy”” or cost the company too much. Wal-Mart’s proposed plan would rob workers of their human dignity and sets a dangerous precedent for all of corporate America,”” added Blank.

At today’s actions, supporters of WakeUpWalMart.com, many in costumes, will receive donations in support of Wal-Mart workers who do not have health care. Similar Halloween candy fundraising drives are being held in 84 cities. As part of the effort to highlight how serious the “”Wal-Mart health care crisis”” is, WakeUpWalMart.com supporters also distributed tens of thousands of flyers to the public and Wal-Mart customers highlighting the “”scary facts”” about Wal-Mart’s poor health care record.

The Halloween fundraising drive is the latest grassroots effort by WakeUpWalMart.com to change Wal-Mart into a responsible corporation. Following the release of WakeUpWalMart.com’s ‘Six Demands for Change’ the organization surpassed 112,000 supporters in all 50 states – making WakeUpWalMart.com the nation’s largest grassroots effort to change a corporation in history.

In the coming weeks, WakeUpWalMart.com, and other organizations, will help organize “”Wal-Mart Week”” – an unprecedented national week of action from November 13th-19th, beginning with the national release of the movie by Robert Greenwald, “”Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price.”” During this week, WakeUpWalMart.com and a broad coalition of partners from all across America will be raising public awareness about the growing negative effects Wal-Mart has on their workers, the community, and the nation.

October 28, 2005

Statement of Joseph T. Hansen, UFCW International President

(Washington, DC) The UFCW will lower the American flag to half staff at its International headquarters building in Washington, DC to memorialize the passing, and to commemorate the heroic contribution to the struggle for civil rights of Rosa Parks.

In an act of individual courage, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man, and move to the back of the bus. Her arrest sparked the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott and led to the end of segregation in public transportation. Her action inspired a movement and brought a new generation of leaders and activists, including Martin Luther King Jr., to the forefront of the fight for civil rights.

All of us are deeply saddened by Ms. Parks passing and all of us are indebted to her for her strength and determination. She truly made our country better. Seeing the flag flying at half staff in her memory should remind all of us that one person with courage and a commitment to justice can change the world.