NOW Protests Wal-Mart Workplace Abuses
Statement of NOW President Kim Gandy
September 28, 2002
Wal-Mart employs more women than any company in the United Statesand now it's won an award from NOW's Women-Friendly Workplace Campaign.
But this award doesn't come with praise. On June 22, 2002, the National Organization for Women declared Wal-Mart a "Merchant of Shame" ... and today NOW activists across the country are raising their voices, along with our allies, in a National Day of Action.
We come together with one message, with one goalto let consumers know what Wal-Mart, the most-sued company in America, is really hiding behind all those smiley faces.
This is a company with a brain, but no heart and no conscience. And they need to hear that continuing their greedy, abusive ways will cost them the business of thinking consumers.
There are over 3,200 Wal-Marts just like this one in the United States. Behind walls like these, there are over 900,000 employees. Nationwide, two-thirds of the low-paid "sales associates" are women, while two-thirds of the management employees are men, and not surprisingly, 90% of the store managers are men as well. The average "sales associate" makes an average of $6.10 per hour with a "full time" work week of only 28 hourstotaling less than $9,000 per year. So low that some families receive food stamps to get by.
Behind those walls are women who, out of their measly wages, have to pay for birth control pills because their already-expensive insurance plan doesn't cover them;
Behind those walls are pharmacies that won't carry PREVEN, the morning-after pill. Try explaining that to a rape victim when Wal-Mart's pharmacy is the only one in town.
Behind those walls are workers who want to join a union to improve their working conditionsworkers who will get fired if they're caught talking about a union.
We aren't targeting Wal-Mart for being a model of corporate success. We are targeting them for being a model of corporate greed.
The National Organization for Women stands here today in solidarity with Wal-Mart employees to demand changes, to demand that workers, most of them women, get a fair wage for their work, the overtime pay they've earned, promotions based on performance and not on gender, a fair and affordable health care plan, and the dignity they deserve as human beings. And we demand that Wal-Mart put an end to the exploitive sweatshops that make their goods around the world.
This fight is for fairness, this fight is for justice, and this fight is for equality...The National Organization for Women has been and will continue to be at the forefront of the struggle for equality. We stand in solidarity with union members and leaders who are here today, because this fight will be long, it will take many, many of us to press for change ...
Our message to Wal-Mart is this: A Women-Friendly workplace is good business, and good for business.
We will be relentless, we will persevereuntil Wal-Mart gives justice to women!
###For Immediate Release
Contact: Press Office 202-628-8669, ext. 116, mobile 301-537-7429
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