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Massachusetts jury awards $2 million in Wal-Mart bias suit

Jun 20, 2007 — The Massachusetts Superior Court has awarded nearly $2 million to a former Wal-Mart pharmacist, Cynthia Haddad. Ms. Haddad was fired after demanding wage and bonus payment for a managerial position and reporting missing drugs to the DEA.

Source: Massachusetts jury awards $2 million in Wal-Mart bias suit,, June 20, 2007.

Wal-Mart settles pricing case

Jul 15, 2006 — Wal-Mart has agreed to pay Connecticut $37,150 in connection with pricing violations at six retail locations in the state, but did not admit to any wrongdoing.

Source: "Wal-Mart settles pricing case", Journal Inquirer, July 15, 2006.

Couple arrested for leaving children in parked vehicle

Jul 8, 2006 — Police arrested two Granby residents for leaving two children in a parked car in a Wal-Mart parking lot in East Windsor.

Source: "Couple arrested for leaving children in parked vehicle", Journal Inquirer, July 8, 2006.

Wal-Mart Seeks Unbiased Research -- and Gets It

Nov 3, 2005 — In August, Wal-Mart commissioned independent consultant Global Insight to study Wal-Mart's effect on the U.S. economy and local communities. Global Insight will present ten papers in Washington on Friday in a conference, "An In-Depth Look at Wal-Mart and Society." To Wal-Mart's chagrin, many of the findings are unflattering:

  • Wal-Mart's supercenters resulted in little net gain in property taxes, sales taxes and employment because the supercenters siphoned off sales from other local businesses.
  • In the South, where Wal-Mart has the greatest concentration of stores, "residents of a local labor market do indeed earn less following the opening of Wal-Mart stores" according to David Neumark of the Public Policy Institute of California.

Source: "Wal-Mart Seeks Unbiased Research -- and Gets It; A conference about the retailer's effects on communities yields some negative findings," by Abigail Goldman, Los Angeles Times, November 3, 2005.

Missouri Court Grants Class-Action Status to Wal-Mart Employees Forced Illegally to Work 'Off-The-Clock' Without Pay

Nov 1, 2005 — Missouri Circuit Court Judge Midkiff granted class action status to a lawsuit affecting 250,000 current and previous Wal-Mart employees in Missouri who have been forced to work as many as 10 hours per week without pay. Steve Long, lead trial attorney in Kansas City commented,

"What sets the Missouri case apart is that, for the first time, Wal-Mart was forced by the court to provide outside access to its electronic database. Based on Wal-Mart's own data, it's abundantly clear they're forcing employees collectively to work many thousands of hours each month without pay. What they're doing is illegal. It's not fair to the men and women who work for Wal-Mart."

Source: "Missouri Court Grants Class-Action Status to Wal-Mart Employees Forced Illegally to Work 'Off-The-Clock' Without Pay; Ruling Ultimately Could Benefit More than One Million Wal-Mart Employees Nationwide," Business Wire, November 1, 2005.

Wal-Mart tries to polish its image but critics aren't buying the changes

Oct 29, 2005 — Wal-Mart's recent initiatives for health care, the environment and the minimum wage has led one of its critics, Chris Kofinis of Wake Up Wal-Mart, to comment, "This is a desperate attempt to remake their faltering image."

Source: "Wal-Mart tries to polish its image but critics aren't buying the changes," By Anne D'lnnocenzio and Marcus Kabel, Associated Press, Journal Inquirer, October 29, 2005

Wal-Mart Memo Suggests Ways to Cut Employee Benefit Costs

Oct 26, 2005 — The world's largest retailer has some ideas to save money. Some of the ideas:

  • Hire more part time workers
  • Discourage unhealthy job applicants (Wal-Mart employees have a high incidence of obesity-related diseases such as diabetes and coronary artery disease)
  • Put health clinics in stores to reduce employee emergency room visits
  • Cut 401(k) contributions

Wal-Mart has responded to criticism of its poor health care coverage (less than 45% of its workers receive company health insurance) by offering health care plans for as little as $11 per month. Workers can face out-of-pocket expenses of up to $2,500 per year.

Source: "Wal-Mart Memo Suggests Ways to Cut Employee Benefit Costs," By Steven Greenhouse and Michael Barbaro, The New York Times, October 26, 2005.

Bankers Oppose Wal-Mart As Rival

Oct 15, 2005 — Following Wal-Mart's July application to open a bank in Utah to service its 3,500 stores nationwide, the F.D.I.C. received a record 1,100 letters opposing Wal-Mart's plans. Wal-Mart Watch has sent a petition containing 11,000 signatures to the F.D.I.C., also in opposition to Wal-Mart's plans. Following is an excerpt from the petition:

To achieve their dream in Utah, it appears that Wal-Mart has evaded public disclosure of information in its application for ILC status in Utah. Claiming confidentiality, Wal-Mart has failed to disclose the management, compensation, capitalization of the bank, financial projections, description of general management policies and more.

Source: "Bankers Oppose Wal-Mart As Rival," by Michael Barbaro, The New York Times, October 15, 2005.

New York City Council overrides Bloomberg's veto on health care

Oct 12, 2005 — The City Council passed a law requiring larger grocery stores and stores with food departments to provide a minimum level of health care to its employees. The new law has been called an anti-Wal-Mart measure. Bloomberg officials said the Council overstepped its bounds, claiming that federal law states that municipalities are not allowed to regulate the terms of employer health care plans.

Source: "No Need to Feed Parking Meters On Sundays," The New York Times, by Winnie Hu, October 12, 2005.

Wal-Mart Loses Decision Over Closed Store in Canada

Sep 20, 2005 — Quebec's labor relations board ruled that Wal-Mart's decision to close a unionized store in Jonquiere was illegal. The labor relations board found no evidence that Wal-Mart attempted to find another tenant for its 20 year lease, indicating that the closure was not "real, genuine and definitive," as required by Quebec law.

Source: "Quebec Rules Against Wal-Mart in Closing of Unionized Store," by Ian Austen, The New York Times, September 20, 2005.

Wal-Mart Accused of Denying Lunch Breaks

Sep 19, 2005 — A lawsuit filed in Alameda County, California, seeks $66 million plus interest, claiming that Wal-Mart "systematically and illegally denied workers lunch breaks."

Source: "Wal-Mart Accused of Denying Lunch Breaks," by By David Kravets, AP Online, September 19, 2005.

Wal-Mart using hurricane relief efforts as opportunity to improve its public image

Sep 14, 2005 — Wal-Mart has been active in the hurricane Katrina relief efforts, and has made sure that the media knows it. Professor Ian Mitroff comments,

"Do good acts in times of a horrific crisis, does that make up and balance off what goes on in their day-to-day employment practices? I don't think it does."

Source: "Wal-Mart: love it or hate it," Marketplace, September 14, 2005.

Suit Says Wal-Mart Is Lax On Labor Abuses Overseas

Sep 14, 2005 — The International Labor Rights Fund has sued Wal-Mart for labor violations in Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Nicaragua and Swaziland. One worker in Bangladesh was slapped in the face by her supervisor until her nose began bleeding because she was unable to meet her quota. 16 of the plaintiffs are listed as John and Jane Does for protection from reprisal.

Source: "Suit Says Wal-Mart Is Lax On Labor Abuses Overseas," by By STEVEN GREENHOUSE, The New York Times, September 14, 2005.

R.V. Owners Skip Camp And Park At Wal-Mart

Sep 11, 2005 — The editor of believes that Wal-Mart has surpassed KOA as the nation's largest RV campground. Billings, Montana instituted a ban on parking lot camping in July in response to complaints about large number of RVs in the local Wal-Mart parking lot.

The 2005 Wal-Mart locator helps RV campers find over 3,500 Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores in 49 states. The locator also lists Wal-Marts with gas stations.

Source: "R.V. Owners Skip Camp And Park At Wal-Mart," By Otto Pohl, The New York Times, September 11, 2005.

Two Wal-Mart employees killed in Arizona

Aug 24, 2005 —Two Wal-Mart employees, Anthony Spangler and Patrick Graham, were shot to death Tuesday in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Glendale, Arizona. A suspect, Ed Lui, was arrested in a retirement community in nearby Peoria. The motive for the shootings is unknown.

Source: "Man Arrested in Ariz. Wal-Mart Killings," By MICHELLE ROBERTS, Associated Press Writer, Hartford Courant, August 24, 2005.

Wal-Mart charges $175 for $10 worth of 'stolen' manure

Aug 22, 2005— Charles and Cheryl Gastorf were charged with shoplifting at a Wal-Mart in Oregon after forgetting to pay for $10 worth of steer manure. Once the Gastorfs explained their story to an attorney, Wal-Mart dropped the shoplifting charges. Wal-Mart then billed the Gastorfs $175 in civil penalties under an obscure Oregon law that allows retailers to pursue civil damages regardless of whether the customer is innocent or guilty. The Gastorfs, who are not financially well-off, paid Wal-Mart the $175 rather than spend thousands of dollars on legal fees. Wal-Mart has decided to refund the money to the Gastorfs.

Source: "Wal-Mart charges $175 for 'stolen' manure," Associated Press, August 22, 2005.

Wal-Mart Hard Sell in Big Apple

Aug 21, 2005 — Wal-Mart would like to open a store in New York City, but the City Council passed a healthcare bill that will make it difficult for Wal-Mart. The bill requires all large food sellers to contribute at least $2.50 to $3.00 per hour for health care for each employee. Wal-Mart currently contributes $1.50 per hour, continuing its "race to the bottom."

The Brennan Center recently published a report, "What do we know about Wal-Mart?" which found that Wal-Mart contributes about $3,500 per covered worker annually for healthcare (after substantial waiting periods), compared to an average of $5,646 for all U.S. employers and $4,834 for retail and wholesale employers.

Source:" Wal-Mart Hard Sell in Big Apple; The retailer wants to do business in the boroughs -- but the City Council has passed a benefits bill aimed at grocers that would make that harder," by Paul Lieberman, Los Angeles Times, August 21, 2005.

Wal-Mart to pay $1.15 million fine for polluting Connecticut waterways

Aug 16, 2005 — Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced on Monday that Wal-Mart will pay a $1.15 million fine for allowing garden chemicals from 22 stores in Connecticut to pollute local rivers and streams. Blumenthal noted, "Wal-Mart's environmental record here seems as low as its prices," and "We're holding Wal-Mart accountable for systemic, repeated violations across the state."

Source: "Wal-Mart to pay $1.15M fine for polluting Connecticut waterways," by By Ritu Kalra, Hartford Courant, August 16, 2005.

Big-Box limits in Long Island

Aug 14, 2005 — North Hempstead's Town Board has passed legislation requiring that any store larger than 85,000 square feet undergo a special review and seek Town Board approval. The legislation also requires that large buildings blend with surrounding buildings by varying roofline and facades.

Source: "North Hempstead Restricts Big-Box Retailers," by Vivian S. Toy, The New York Times, August 14, 2005.

Unions Boycott Wal-Mart

Aug 11, 2005 — In a move to protest Wal-Mart's labor practices, The National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers and the United Food and Commercial Workers have asked shoppers to buy back-to-school supplies elsewhere. Wal-Mart has called the boycott a "publicity stunt."

Source: "Unions Boycott Wal-Mart," The New York Times, Aug 11, 2005

Wal-Mart's P.R. war

Aug 2, 2005 — "Firing whistleblowers. Discriminating against women (and, most recently, black truck drivers). Violating child labor laws. Locking workers into stores overnight. Mooching off taxpayers. Disregarding local zoning laws. Mistreating immigrant janitors. Abusing young Bangladeshi women. Paying poverty-level wages in the United States. Destroying small-town America. If you read any newspapers -- or even watch 'The Daily Show' -- you can probably guess which company has been grabbing headlines for these and countless other charges and offenses."

The UFCW has launched a campaign against Wal-Mart called Wake-up Wal-Mart. H. Lee Scott, Wal-Mart's CEO, called the campaign "one of the most organized, most sophisticated, most expensive corporate campaigns ever launched against a single company."

Robert Greenwald ("Outfoxed") is releasing a movie, The High Cost of Low Price on November 13, 2005.

See letters regarding Liza Featherstone's article.

Source: Wal-Mart's P.R. War, by Liza Featherstone,

Wal-Mart's bid to void gender discrimination lawsuit calls it too big

Aug 1, 2005 — Wal-Mart hopes to derail the Dukes v. Wal-Mart gender discrimination class-action lawsuit by arguing that the suit is too big. The suit could affect up to 1.5 million women and put billions of dollars at stake.

Source: "Wal-Mart's Bid to Void Suit Calls It Too Big," by Molly Selvin, Los Angeles Times, Aug 1, 2005

Wal-Mart gas stations

Jun 6, 2005 — Wal-Mart announced that it is testing company-owned gas stations at several of its US stores. That is unwelcome news for Wal-Mart's current gas station partner, Murphy Oil.

Source: Marketplace, June 6, 2005.

Forced Labor in the Global Economy

May 14, 2005 — MIT's Program on Human Rights and Justice presented programs with WBUR and the BBC on modern-day slavery. In the excerpt below, Terry Collingsworth of the International Labor Rights Fund explains how slavery is often carried out not with physical violence, but with deception and back-breaking debt.

I've just returned from China where I went to some Wal-Mart suppliers, and it was exactly the situation that was just described. The workers were told they could have a job at a certain rate, and they find out once they get there, they're in debt, they can't leave, but if they do leave, they'll be subject to penal sanctions for not paying their debt. They're working for Wal-Mart. They're making toys and clothes and other things that are for sale on our shelves.

Source: Forced Labor in a Globalized World, WBUR, April 16, 2005.

Wal-Mart targets parody site run by West Hartford native

Apr 28, 2005 — Daniel Papasian, 20, says he was forced to change his Web site after lawyers for Wal-Mart sent a cease-and-desist order last week. Wal-Mart claims Papasian violated copyright law by using images from the Wal-Mart Foundation's site. Papasian removed the offending graphics and in place of the images put "censored." He launched the site last month for a class at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh about political uses of satire in the media.

Reprinted from the Journal Inquirer, April 28, 2005.

Wages fell in 2004 (except for the elite)

Apr 12, 2005 — Despite rising productivity, wages were flat or down for the bottom 95 percent of workers in 2004, but went up an by an average of 1 percent for the elite 5 percent. This has perplexed economists, but not Laurie Piazza, a Safeway cashier in Santa Clara, CA. She voted to approve a two year wage freeze so Safeway would be able to compete with Wal-Mart. Globalization is another factor that is holding down wages.

Source: Average Pay Dipped Last Year for First Time in Nearly a Decade, by Steven Greenhouse, The New York Times, April 12, 2005.

Wal-Mart to the media: "Come to Bentonville... "

Apr 4, 2005 — In an attempts to burnish its image, Wal-Mart has opened its headquarters to 50 or so reporters to speak with Wal-Mart executives, off the record. Cameras will not be allowed.

Source: Wal-Mart to the media: "Come to Bentonville... ", Marketplace, April 4, 2005.

Wal-Mart and the Big Apple

Mar 31, 2005 — A new bill in New York requires any "big box" retailer with more than 85,000 square feet to undergo a licensing review. The licensing review consists of two hearings in which the retailer specifies its economic impact on the community. The Commissioner of Consumer Affairs would be empowered to withhold a license if the company had "been involved in excessive employment-related claims."

Another city council bill requires big box grocers and several other industries to provide the "prevailing" standard of health care to its workers or pay the city the cost of health care for the families of each of its employees.

Source: "Wal-Mart and the Big Apple," The Economist, Mar 31, 2005.

Wal-Mart Director Is Ousted After Probe

Mar 26, 2005 — Thomas M. Coughlin, former chief of Sam's Club warehouse stores, has been asked to resign his post of vice chairman of Wal-Mart's board over charges involving padded expense reports, fake invoices and unauthorized use of gift cards. Coughlin is also on ChoicePoint Inc.'s board of directors. ChoicePoint is under investigation for exposing 145,000 people to identify theft.

Source:"Wal-Mart Director Is Ousted After Probe," Los Angeles Times, Mar 26, 2005.

Wal-Mart Divides, Conquers Zoning Rule

Mar 25, 2005 — Last year, Wal-Mart submitted a proposal for a 145,000 square foot store in Dunkirk, Maryland, located in Calvert County. Calvert Neighbors for Sensible Growth, concerned that Wal-Mart would bring unwanted traffic and drive smaller shops out of business, fought for better zoning laws and succeeded in bringing about a 75,000 square foot cap in Dunkirk. Wal-Mart then submitted plans for two side-by-side stores - a 74,998 square foot retail store and a 22,689 square foot garden center. The Calvert planning commission has put Wal-Mart's new proposal on hold while the Calvert Board of Commissioners decides whether to change the store-size ordinance.

Source: "Wal-Mart Divides, Conquers Zoning Rule," by Stephen Manning, Associated Press Writer, Hartford Courant, Mar 25, 2005.

Wal-Mart will pay $11 million for hiring illegal immigrants, faces racketeering lawsuit

Mar 19, 2005 — Wal-Mart has agreed to pay a record $11 million to settle accusations of hiring hundreds of illegal immigrants to clean its stores. Wal-Mart has avoided criminal charges by promising not to hire illegal immigrants in its 3,600 U.S. stores. In October 2003, 245 illegal immigrant workers were arrested in 60 Wal-Mart stores in 21 states. Wal-Mart is facing a federal class-action lawsuit in New Jersey on racketeering charges. The lawsuit says that Wal-Mart used over 10,000 illegal immigrant janitors, who were almost never paid time and a half for overtime work.

Source: "Wal-Mart to Pay U.S. $11 Million In Lawsuit on Immigrant Workers," The New York Times, Mar 19, 2005.

Arkansas congressman proposes extra hours for Wal-Mart truckers

Mar 16, 2005 — The House of Representatives recently passed a $284 billion highway bill to finance hundreds of road projects over 6 years. An Arkansas congressman attempted to slip in an amendment to allow Wal-Mart truckers to be on duty an extra 2 hours per day, or 16 hours total. The amendment triggered a "tempest" before being withdrawn. Watch for its reappearance in the Senate.

Source: "YOUR WHEELS; The road ahead looks very bumpy," by Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times, Mar 16, 2005.

Apparel and textile imports from China surge as quotas expire

Mar 11, 2005 — Sales of Chinese clothing and textiles to the U.S. are up 65% in January 2005 compared to January 2004 after quotas expired on New Year's Day. In the U.S., 373,000 jobs in the clothing and textile industry have been lost since 2001. U.S. manufacturers are urging the Bush administration to put controls on the most popular Chinese imports. U.S. retailers are fighting against quotas.

Source: "China Dons Even Bigger Export Hat; Apparel and textile shipments surge in January as quotas expire, raising alarms in Europe and the U.S.," by Evelyn Iritani, Don Lee and Marla Dickerson, Los Angeles Times, March 11, 2005.

Wal-Mart is Connecticut's top HUSKY user

Mar 4, 2005 — The state pays $43 million per year to cover workers at the top 25 companies. Wal-Mart has 1,028 workers in the HUSKY program, the highest in the state. Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Fogleman says, "We don't design our plans to be supplemented by public assistance." "Nor do we encourage our associates to apply for these programs." Wal-Mart's health care premium for families starts at $155 per month with a $1,000 deductible and a waiting period of 6 months.

House Majority Leader Christopher Donovan of Meriden commented,

"Here is the richest retail company in the world, and we, the taxpayers, are subsidizing their coverage."

Source: Report Slams Benefit Policies, By CHRISTOPHER KEATING, RITU KALRA And KENNETH R. GOSSELIN, Mar 4, 2005, The Hartford Courant.

Wal-Mart is putting stress on Rocky Hill's police and fire departments

Mar 3, 2005 — The Rocky Hill, CT police department responded to 224 calls for service at Wal-Mart last year. Most of the calls involved shoplifting and bad checks. There were 51 arrests, including one arrest for murder. The town's volunteer fire department is being overwhelmed by false alarms from Wal-Mart and has cited Wal-Mart for numerous fire safety code violations.

Source: "Retailer Putting Stress On Police, Fire Departments," By ANN MARIE SOMMA, The Hartford Courant, Mar 3, 2005.

HUSKY health insurance may be extended (now blame Wal-Mart)

Mar 3, 2005 — The Connecticut House of Representatives voted to extend the state-sponsored HUSKY health insurance program until June 30. The program is used by approximately 13,000 low-income parents, many of whom work at Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Stop & Shop, Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's, Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Fleet Bank, Hartford Hospital, People's Bank, Webster Bank, The Hartford and Yale University.

Source: "House OKs HUSKY Extension," By CHRISTOPHER KEATING, Capitol Bureau Chief, The Hartford Courant, Mar 3, 2005.

Reich: Don't Blame Wal-Mart

Mar 3, 2005 — Robert B. Reich, former U.S. labor secretary, argues that our bargain hunting habits are ultimately to blame for downward pressure on wages and benefits, exemplified by Wal-Mart. He makes the widely overlooked point that

"But you and I aren't just consumers. We're also workers and citizens."

Some responses to Reich's article:

". . . small suppliers have been 'thrown away' by Wal-Mart when they could cut costs no further." — Linda Nottingham, Statesboro, GA
"As a corporation -- and as a major economic force -- Wal-Mart has a duty to act in a socially responsible manner." — Tim Brill, Ithaca, NY

Sources: "Don't Blame Wal-Mart," by Robert B. Reich, The New York Times, Feb 28, 2005. "Wal-Mart Shoppers: What's the Real Price?," The New York Times, March 3, 2005.

Wal-Mart's profits: $19,583 per minute

Feb 27, 2005 — Wal-Mart reported that its profits for the previous fiscal year were $10.3 billion, or almost $20,000 per minute. Wal-Mart's revenues for the year were $288 billion, up from $259 billion the previous year.

Sources: "Wal-Mart's Profits: Nearly $20,000 (Per Minute, That Is)," The New York Times, Feb 27, 2005; "Wal-Mart posts higher-than-expected profit", The Associated Press, Feb 17, 2005.

Wal-Mart defeats a union in Colorado

Feb 25, 2005 — Workers at a Wal-Mart Tire & Lube Express in Loveland, Colorado voted 17-1 against unionizing. When Wal-Mart heard of the effort to unionize the garage, the company flew in a group of labor experts from Bentonville, Arkansas. Joshua Noble, who led the effort to vote, said,

"It wasn't a fair fight. Every day they had two or three antiunion people from Bentonville in the garage full time, showing antiunion videos and telling people that unions are bad."

Alicia Sylvia, who works at the garage, makes less than $9 per hour and says she cannot afford Wal-Mart's health insurance. The article goes on to state that full-time unionized supermarket cashiers in Colorado "generally earn $15.66 an hour after two years."

Source: "At a Small Shop in Colorado, Wal-Mart Beats a Union Once More," The New York Times, Feb 25, 2005.

Wal-Mart ordered to stop "intimidating and harassing" workers

Feb 25, 2005 — Quebec's labor relations board has ordered Wal-Mart to stop "intimidating and harassing" cashiers in St. Foy, a suburb of Quebec. The St. Foy store is in the midst of an organizing drive. One of the cashiers was asked for names of union sympathizers by a manager and an assistant manager.

Source: "Wal-Mart Told to End Intimidation in Canada," The New York Times, Feb 25, 2005.

Wal-Mart found guilty of discrimination, ordered to pay disabled man $7.5 million

Feb 24, 2005 — A federal jury ruled found that Wal-Mart discriminated against Patrick Brady, who suffers from cerebral palsy, and ordered Wal-Mart to pay Mr. Brady $7.5 million in damages. Mr. Brady charged Wal-Mart with violating a 2001 consent decree with the Equal Opportunity Commission which prohibits Wal-Mart from questioning job applicants about their disabilities.

Source: Wal-Mart Is Found Liable in Bias Against Disabled Man, The New York Times, Feb 24, 2005.

Developer drops plans to build a Wal-Mart in Queens

Feb 24, 2005 — Vornado Realty Trust, a large real estate developer, has dropped plans to build what would have been New York City's first Wal-Mart. The project was opposed by neighborhood groups, labor groups, environmental groups, small businesses, City Council members and several members of Congress. City Council Helen Sears warned Wal-Mart that "it needed to improve its wages, health benefits and pensions and end its vehement stance against unions" in order to win approval.

Source: "Developer Drops Plan for City's First Wal-Mart," The New York Times, Feb 24, 2005.

Wal-Mart CEO to California: "We're not backing down"

Feb 24, 2005 — Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott Jr. spoke to 500 business leaders in Los Angeles as part of a recent Wal-Mart public relations campaign, stating,

'If critics want to take the company on, "they need to bring their lunch, because we're not going to lay down."'

Three years ago, Wal-Mart announced that it planned to build 40 supercenters in California. Those aggressive plans have been met with fierce opposition.

Source: "Wal-Mart CEO Takes His Case to California," Los Angeles Times, Feb 24, 2005.

"Dude! It's only retail!"

Feb 25, 2005 — Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott Jr. made a speech that was apparently intended to (a) convince Wal-Mart critics that its employment policies aren't that bad and (b) convince Wall Street that its employment policies aren't that good. Scott said Wal-Mart's average wage is $10 per hour, but failed to mention that his 2003 compensation was $29 million and that the average pay for a Wal-Mart sales clerk is $8.50 per hour, which puts a family of three below the poverty line.

"The Wal-Mart Manifesto: The retail giant's CEO says his company pays workers handsomely. He doesn't want you to believe him." Slate Magazine, Feb 24, 2005.

Wal-Mart introduces a new credit card

Feb 22, 2005 — Wal-Mart has introduced a Discover card that offers a discount on gasoline and a "low" interest rate of 9.87 percent.

Source: "Some credit card debt holders are seeking financial relief through a higher power," Marketplace, Feb 22, 2005.

Wal-Mart upgrades its in-store television network

Feb 21, 2005 — The Wal-Mart TV network is the nation's fifth largest television network, after NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox. In addition to showing a steady stream of advertisements, the network broadcasts Wal-Mart corporate messages, including messages that Wal-Mart hopes will "improve its battered public image."

Source: "Wal-Mart Is Upgrading Its Vast In-Store Television Network," The New York Times, Feb 21, 2005.

Wal-Mart fined for violating child labor laws (again)

Feb 21, 2005 — Wal-Mart has been fined $135,540 in a "sweetheart deal" by the U.S. Department of Labor that gives Wal-Mart a 15 day advance notice of future investigations. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has called for nationwide investigations, stating

"We're contacting other states and seeking to enlist them because there is no reason to think these violations are confined to Connecticut."

Blumenthal is probably correct. Wal-Mart paid a fine of $205,650 for 1,436 labor violations in 20 stores in Maine in 2000.

Source: "Blumenthal Takes Aim At Wal-Mart," Hartford Courant, Feb 17, 2005. "Labor Dept. To Investigate Its Treatment Of Wal-Mart, " The New York Times, Feb 21, 2005.

Wal-Mart closes its first unionized store in Canada

Feb 10, 2005 — Wal-Mart Canada announced that it will close its first unionized store in Jonquiere, Quebec. Andrew Pelletier, a spokesman for Wal-Mart Canada said that the store would be closed in May because it had failed to meet undisclosed financial goals.

Source: "Wal-Mart To Close Store In Canada With a Union", The New York Times, February 10, 2005.

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