Happy 50th Birthday, Walmart? -
This week is Walmart’s 50th birthday. While the champagne may be flowing at Walmart HQ, for the rest of us, Walmart’s anniversary is hardly cause for celebration. There’s a real cost to those “low prices” Walmart promises — and our communities are paying the price.
Walmart lives and dies by its public image. So, to commemorate its 50th birthday, SomOfUs.com created an infographic for you to share with your friends, to help spread the word that Walmart’s business model is bad news for our communities and our world.
Unhappy 50th Birthday, Walmart! -
After losing her job in advertising when her small-business employer folded during the recession, Marie Kanzer-Born, 54, found herself turning in desperation a year ago to a night shift job stocking shelves at a suburban Chicago Walmart. But she wasn’t happy with what she calls “the weird culture of fear” that its hovering, hectoring supervisors created, the inadequate staffing that forced everyone to work faster and at risk of injury, the erratic scheduling, the refusal to pay for overtime work, and the retaliation aganst anyone who was not subservient—often through cuts in hours of work.
Today, Kanzer-Born is far from home, joining an anticipated 10,000 protesters in the Chinatown section of Los Angeles, many of whom will be telling Walmart that they don’t want its stores in L.A. Kanzer-Born has her own message from “associates” like her to the corporat execs in Bentonville, Arkansas: “They need to listen to us. We know what’s going on at the stores. And second, we would like to be treated with more respect.”
You could call it wishing Walmart an unhappy birthday. Next week Walmart is officially celebrating its 50th anniversary. As a counterpoint, Saturday’s demonstrations in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and other cities are calling attention to the flawed record of the world’s largest retailer—labor rights abuses in stores, suppliers, warehouses and all along the company’s vast logistical network, devastation of small businesses and communities, environmental degradation (despite many “green” initiatives that cut Walmart costs), and the political and economic mis-use of its vast power.
Though many groups are involved, two projects supported by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union have taken the lead. One is Making Change At Walmart, a public education campaign. The other is Organization United for Respect, or OUR Walmart, an association of associates, which is not a union but a looser, member-run group that is strongly dependent on Internet communication but also sponsors meetings and protests in real time and places, including the workplace.
Read the full story from Working In These Times.
Wayward Walmart--a regular news spotlight on the company's missteps and misdeeds -
Check out the latest edition of Wayward Walmart—a regular news spotlight on the company’s missteps and misdeeds. View the newsletter online here.
Walmart: End Forced Labor by Suppliers -
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Striking guestworkers from Louisiana-based C.J. Seafood, a Walmart supplier, are holding a vigil at the home of Walmart Board Member Michelle Burns to protest brutal working conditions they’ve endured. Michelle Burns has the power – and duty – to stop abuses by Walmart suppliers. But instead of intervening, Burns has continually looked the other way on labor abuses, and refused to even meet with workers to hear their grievances. Show solidarity with guestworkers as they invite Michelle Burns to meet with them and ask her to stop the abuses.
The vigil will be held on Tues, June 19 at 6PM at Michelle Burns’ apartment building located at 8 Spruce St, NYC, near PACE UNIVERSITY.
It’s been more than a year since Walmart started to aggressively lobby for a New York City location. After fierce political opposition and a bribery scandal, the mega retailer has gone radio silent. NY1’s Courtney Gross filed the following report.
Last summer, Walmart was handing out checks to City Hall for summer jobs. A year later, there’s silence.
After years of flirting with opening a New York a city store, has Walmart gotten cold feet?
“(We last heard from them) five or six months ago,” said East New York community leader Gloria Cooke. “And we haven’t heard anything since.”
“(They) offer us jobs, offer us economic relief back into the community,” said Vanessa Hughes of the Breukelen Houses Tenants Association. “But then all of a sudden now it stalls. We are right back at step one. Right back to where we were before.”
Walmart is widely believed to be eyeing a site in East New York, which is slated to be developed by Related Companies. Officials at the local community board here said they haven’t heard from Walmart or Related in months. A spokesperson for Related said the company doesn’t comment on potential tenants.
Community leaders fear they may have lost their shot to bring low prices to Eastern Brooklyn. Real estate executives echoed those sentiments.
“They have gone completely silent,” said Jeffrey Roseman of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank Retail. “I think they have worked on a bunch of different deals and from what I’m told, they have all come to a standstill. Everyone is in the same place, wondering what is happening.”
It’s not like Walmart got a warm reception, as local residents protested against them. More recently, a Mexican bribery scandal reported in New York Times may have set them back even further.
Just this week, Comptroller John Liu sued the megastore, claiming it failed their shareholders.
“Walmart wants to go everywhere,” he said. “And unfortunately, it wanted to get into Mexico so badly that there are reports of bribery of officials.”
For his part, Mayor Bloomberg has supported the idea of Walmart in the city. His presumed successors, however, all blast the retail giant.
As for Walmart, its spokesperson is still touting the same line: they are exploring their options.
New York City Pension Funds Sue Walmart -
New York City’s pension funds on Monday became the latest group to file a derivative lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores based on reported allegations of bribery in Mexico and a possible cover-up by Wal-Mart officials.
The suit, filed in Delaware Chancery Court, alleges that Wal-Mart’s[WMT 67.70 0.17 (+0.25%) ] officers and board of directors breached their fiduciary duty to both the company and shareholders by failing to properly handle claims of alleged bribery and apparently attempting to cover up details of the issue.
Read the full story.
Is Walmart Finished in New York? Greg David Seems to Think So, and That’s Bad for Walmart -
Walmart is in a pickle, and not the kind that can be found in the canned goods aisle. Following the Mexican bribery scandal, pols high and low have reaffirmed their opposition to the store. But they are not the only ones. Even some of the big box retailers staunchest supporters have come out against the company, namely Greg David.
The Crain’s columnist and former editor for three decades of the influential business weekly is a big believer in capitalism and its important role in shaping the city—he just wrote a book about it. To that end, he has long supported Walmart’s efforts to open a store in the five boroughs (14 times at last count). Yet now, in light of the scandal, even Greg David doubts Walmart will ever open in New York. And he believes this is all Walmart’s fault.
Read the full story from the New York Observer.
Wal-Mart is driving down wages for warehouse workers, report says -
SACRAMENTO —Wal-MartStores Inc.has applied its aggressive cost cutting to logistics, helping to drive down wages and benefits for U.S. warehouse workers, according to a new study conducted by a labor-backed group.
The world’s largest retailer has significantly outsourced its supply chain, hiring third-party companies to operate its warehouses and transport its good to stores. Those firms in turn often rely on poorly paid temporary workers, said a report released Wednesday by the National Employment Law Project, which advocates for low-wage workers.
Read the full story.
It's all Related: Trio dominates development in NYC. Here's how they do it. -
An in-depth look from Sunday’s Crain’s New York Business on how the Related Companies, with $17B worth of projects in the pipeline in NYC alone, took over NYC
Read the full story.
At Annual Meeting, Wal-Mart to Confront Shareholder Unrest -
ROGERS, Ark. — As Wal-Mart celebrates its 50th anniversary at its annual shareholders’ meeting on Friday, the company is expected to face some of the staunchest opposition in years to the continued tenure of several board members and its chief executive, as well as some corporate policies.
Read the full story.