Discuss any new commercial developments coming into town.


Postby duffyhouse on Thu Oct 26, 2006 7:03 pm

Dear Friend,

Sometimes the biggest presents come in the tiniest packages.

About a year ago, a plain, unmarked envelope landed on my desk here in Washington. Inside, a confidential corporate memo from Wal-Mart HQ outlined a shocking strategy to control its employee healthcare costs.

It was immediately clear why they wanted this kept a secret. With chilling precision, then-VP of Employee Benefits Susan Chambers detailed cutthroat measures to maximize savings - at terrible costs to their front line workers.

So the next step, of course, was to get it on the front page of the New York Times.

That day millions learned just how far America's largest employer would go to pad its bottom line. Since then, we haven't let up one bit, drawing attention to the darker side of Wal-Mart - and pressuring them to improve.

When we pulled the curtain back, Wal-Mart had an opportunity to reject these measures and declare publicly - and honestly - its commitment to the principles of its founder, Sam Walton.

Here's what Wal-Mart chose to do instead:

Chambers raised the problem of wages, "which increase in lock-step with tenure and directly drive the cost of many benefits." Now, a new policy by Wal-Mart states that employees will never receive annual raises if their pay is at or above a cap, unless they move to a higher-paying job category.

She argued for increasing the percentage of part-timers. In April, Citibank analysts reported that Wal-Mart was "in the process of reducing the percent of full-time workers and increasing the percent of part-time workers." In October, the New York Times reported that part-timers now make up 25 to 30 percent of workers, up from 20 percent last October.
And she advocated several changes to discourage less-fit employees, including requiring rigorous physical demands to each job category to discourage unhealthy employees. At several stores in Florida, employees said, managers have suddenly barred older employees with back or leg problems from sitting on stools after using them for years while working as cashiers, store greeters or fitting-room attendants.

Today, we're releasing a comprehensive report to tell you how Wal-Mart is doing one year after the Chambers memo. In it you'll find statistics and analysis that paints a grim picture for Wal-Mart's employees:

That's a look at the year behind us - now let's consider the path ahead.

Imagine if this was the type of memo that outlined how no child of a Wal-Mart employee would have to suffer without health insurance, rather than coldly reporting that "46 percent of Associates' children are either on Medicaid or are uninsured."

Imagine if this was the type of memo that outlined how to address reports of discrimination against female, minority, and disabled employees, rather than waiting for lawsuits like Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. to surface.

CEO Lee Scott, Ms. Chambers and the rest of Wal-Mart's management have an opportunity that most corporate executives - and many policy makers - can only dream of. The corporation they run can be one of the greatest agents of change our country has ever known.

They have the power to raise the bar for millions of hourly employees rather than nickel and dime working families at every turn. They have the power to pursue sustainable and thoughtful environmental policies that will protect our world for generations to come, rather than sacrifice our children's future for a better stock price. And they have the power to pursue health care solutions at a massive scale, rather than offload costs onto local taxpayers.

The Wal-Mart brass would to well to listen to the father of modern management, Peter Drucker: "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things."

Thank you for your commitment to Wal-Mart Watch. Together, we will shape a better corporate America.


Andrew Grossman
Executive Director
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Postby Kat3kids on Thu Oct 26, 2006 8:09 pm

I just finished reading the Walmart-Watch document, very interesting reading. Even more reason to NOT shop at Walmart, no matter what!! I feel for the employees and their families. Maybe all the emplyees of Walmart should start leaving and getting employment with better companies.

I do wonder, though, is Walmart the only company out there treating their emplyees this way? I hope so, but I tend to doubt it.
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Postby Tewksbury1970 on Fri Oct 27, 2006 10:12 am

You know the benefits or lack thereof when you take a job.

If you don't like your job, you apply elsewhere.

Not that I'm defending Walmart, I personally hate it there and hate the whole box store concept, but their employees are not chained down. They are free to leave if they don't like it there.
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Postby ttutt on Fri Oct 27, 2006 10:26 am

Wal Mart takes advantage of thier Employees almost to a criminal level period.
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Postby Tewksbury1970 on Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:05 pm

Agreed, but again, are they forced to work there?

There are things about my job that I don't like or I don't think are fair. It's up to me to either find a new job or just take it.
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Postby S_Ringwood on Sat Aug 25, 2007 6:20 pm

Ttutt, you're right. I used to work there and there are so many horror stories I could tell you about that place and how they treat their employees.
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Postby Rippington on Sun Aug 26, 2007 9:15 am

Why not work for the town of lowell or tewksbury. I hear we give great pensions.
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Postby kinsmen on Sun Aug 26, 2007 10:16 am

You would have to be 'connected' to get a job in the town, it is the only qualification you need.
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