Wal-Mart Fighting Back

Walmart

We have even heard about Wal-Mart here in Holland.

Wal-Mart airs U.S. ads to counter attacks on its reputation
Last Updated: Monday, January 8, 2007 | 9:28 AM ET
The Canadian Press

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will run national television ads in the United States starting Monday praising its record as an employer and corporate citizen, taking its arguments straight to the public in an ongoing battle over its reputation with unions and other critics.

The world’s largest retailer, increasingly a lightning rod for politicians, labour unions and activists, cites the legacy of late founder Sam Walton in a folksy 60-second ad. A 30-second ad focuses on Wal-Mart’s health insurance plans for its more than 1.3 million U.S. employees.

“It all began with a big dream in a small town, Sam Walton’s dream,” a narrator says as one ad starts with a black-and-white photo of Sam Walton and a grainy shot of Walton’s first five-and-dime store in what is now the chain’s headquarters town of Bentonville, Ark. “Sam’s dream. Your neighbourhood Wal-Mart,” the ad ends.
Ad aimed at the public

Both ads recite key points Wal-Mart has been making to reporters for months about its record, but the ads now take the arguments straight to the public.

WakeUpWalMart.com, a union-funded campaign group, said the ad campaign proves Wal-Mart is seeing damage to its bottom line from a worsening reputation. The retailer had its worst holiday sales season in years, group spokesman Chris Kofinis said.

WakeUpWalMart.com and another union-backed group, Wal-Mart Watch, claim Wal-Mart pays poverty wages, runs small businesses out of town and pushes employees onto tax-funded public health care. The union groups have repeatedly run newspaper and television ads.

But Wal-Mart, the largest private employer in the U.S., says it creates tens of thousands of jobs a year, offers employee health plans for as little as $23 US a month, saves “the average working family” more than $2,300 US a year through its low prices and is a major contributor to local charities with donations last year totalling more than $245 million US.

In a news release about the ads, Wal-Mart said a survey of its employees across the U.S. last summer found 88 per cent believe the company is a good corporate citizen and 81 per cent would recommend a Wal-Mart job to a friend.
‘They have to get their message out there’

Company spokesman David Tovar declined to say how much Wal-Mart is spending on the ads, which were tested last summer in Tucson, Ariz., and Omaha, Neb. They will run for an undetermined period on national broadcast and cable networks as well as in a “couple of dozen” individual markets, Tovar said.

Steven Silvers, a corporate reputation management expert with Denver-based consultancy GBSM Inc., said it was strategically smart of Wal-Mart to take its case directly to the public to counter mounting attacks.

“If they’re targeted, they have to get their message out there,” Silvers said. “It’s because they have become political fodder. They have to frame the discussion.”
Legislation attempts failed

Wal-Mart was the focus of two high-profile but unsuccessful efforts in the United States last year to legislate how it treats employees:

* Maryland’s legislature passed a union-backed law that would have forced Wal-Mart to spend a fixed percentage of payroll on employee health insurance. That law was overturned by a federal court.
* Chicago city council passed an ordinance mandating higher wages at big-box retailers, but it was vetoed by Mayor Richard Daley.

Union-funded campaign groups have also recruited national Democratic figures to back their calls for higher wages and better health care at Wal-Mart, including potential 2008 presidential contender Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and declared 2008 candidate John Edwards.

In Canada, where Wal-Mart employs about 70,000 full- and part-time employees at more than 250 stores, the company closed a Quebec store in 2005 after the workers won union certification. Wal-Mart said it wasn’t profitable to stay open.
(CBC)

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7 Comments »

  1. Larry said

    Until Wal Mart starts paying decent wages and benefits to its employees (full and part time) I think they have a problem. In the state of Washington they have the most employees getting government help in the line of health and monetary benefits. All of those multi millionares and their employees can’t live on the wages paid. No a good example for America. I don’t ask what Sam would say, as he built it up doing most of the same things that are being done today.

  2. sunny said

    wal mart is a big co they will continue to do what they want to do legal are otherwise get over they have no care for there people as long as they get the work done with half the people and if anyone says anything bad about wl mart even if it is true they are fired

  3. Bonnie said

    oh what a joke they scream and yell about being a big family…hmmm most families dont cut the throats of their family members…..wake up walmart…we as the people need to take a stand and force walmart to be honest and play by the same rules everyone else is expected to play by. One might wonder why walmart can and does fire the elderly…after many years of service they treat our elderly like trash and one day poof they are tossed out like yesterdays garbage. What might be interesting is if all the old people who has been treated badly gets together and makes a commercial of their own like walmart with one exception they tell the TRUTH. So CEO’s at walmart you might wanna get off your rear end and check into these issues as people will only take so much and one day (I hope very soon) see you for what you are….money hungry. Last but not least I have never nor will I ever work at a walmart and now I will never shop there and hope the rest of the world wakes up and does the same.

  4. bj prance said

    The reason Walmart boomed last year and this year is, they didn’t stand for America and the reason they got where they were. Merry Christmas last year, and this year? Supporting Gay people with benefits like they were married. That is it………. We all stayed away . Both years. Now I am use to going else where for Christmas shopping and oh yea, grocery’s

    Sorry, God Bless America and oh yea, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

  5. THE COLONEL said

    UNIONS ONCE HAD A PURPOSE — NO MORE !!!
    THEY BUY CROOKED POLITICIANS AND HAVE HAD A 70 YEAR HISTORY
    OF FRAUD AGAINST THEIR OWN MEMBERS .
    I FOUGHT TO DEFEAT CORRUPTION IN VIET NAM , BUT CAME TO SEE GOV. KERNER RAPE ILLINOIS WITH UNION CONNIVANCE .
    I KNEW 37 YEARS AGO THE UNIONS ONLY CARED ABOUT A FEW
    MEMBERS .
    A UNION CAN NOT MAKE IT IN THE SOUTH — THE JAPANESE , GERMANS , SWEDES , KOREANS — ALL CAME SOUTH AND THE UNIONS HAVE DESTROYED THE NORTHERN AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY .
    WHEN HONEST PEOPLE UNITE — THEY GO TO WAL-MART !!!

  6. susan said

    Walmart is not the problem, its a Pay raise that is the problem, because if Americans get a decent wage they would be able to afford not to go to Walmart. lol But the average wage is still the same amount it has been sicne the 70’s. We need to increae the average pay wage and freeze the cost of things. But instead we send all our manufacturing jobs to China and other countries and pick on Walmart just because its the leading retail store? Because their prices are still lower than Target and Sears and Kmart. And were complaining about Walamrt? Why doesn’t Target, Sears and Kmart lower their prices then everyone woud be going there. Stop blaming Walmart because you cant get a decent wage, complain to the gvernment to increase the hourly wage!! Its not Walmart, its all the retail businesses, for if they increase the wage, the cost of everything will go up in America; so we have to get it else where and pay those high prices for the shipping from Japan and China. Its not Walmarts fault, its our government. But whose picketing the Whitehouse to demand a better wages and more jobs here or to reinstate manufacturing here in America?

    so people end up working for a retail store just so they want to eat!! Its not Walmarts fault, its the government and whose the government? Its you and me. WE have to make the changes, and Walmart. we have to force the gvernment to raise the hourly wage, bring back manufacturing jobs here so
    we can make a decent wage to pay high cost insurances etc. Then Walmart would be forced to contend with our wishes. And maybe lwoer their prices. Cant anyone see that? Weird that you all cant see the connections. If Walmart has to pay its workers more, the cost of everything you buy there, will also be raised!! Yo dummy!! So not everything is a win-win situation. Its becasue we do NOt see how thnings are. If Walmart pays its workers less ti can keep the price of ist goods low, but if they pay their workers mroe, then you and I will be paying for that. You will be paying it in the cost of goods at Walmart!

  7. Former Hell-mart employee said

    Worked there for almost 2 years, in tle. Made the mistake of busting my butt. Recieved 9 “good Job” pins(almost unheard of in tle), for customer service. I heard people still come looking for me. But Wal-Mart believes in the “Peter Principal”. 3 months after a garage tech got promoted, we were still fixing his mistakes, they he was promoted to assistant store/Tle manager, go figure. If you have a degree, stay away. The interviewers(assistant managers) usually don’t have degrees and are afraid to promote you. Their thinking is that one day you will be their boss(mine was in business management from UNC). After becoming a garage manager, I came up w/ some marketing flyers(was approved by store manager). I made one master copy for each store in the area. But the TLE manager didn’t get them to other stores, afraid the Tle’s would boost sales. Very “DOG EAT DOG”. This same manager got problem people out of his department by having them promoted to other stores, making sure he kept the best employees as labor.
    Wal-Mart also knows the the government assistance game VERY well. They know exactally how many hours to give someone on public assistance, so they dont lose it.
    One elderly greeter was actually told, he was too old for the job of dept. manager.
    I guess they now have hourly caps in place. They say to get more people interested in management. But in most places, this would mean up rooting families, so the majority of store management are younger people with no leadership skills. And once your over 40, forget it.
    Remember you pay for what you get. For a company to make profit in the $10 billion range, you would think they could pay a little more than they do. How many millions does upper management really need, so the bottom line is actually GREED! When is the last ime a wal-mart employee actually helped you find something you wanted? More times than not, they say over there. Times are changing. the reason the employee cant help you find something, they are over worked and under paid! They have to get their work accomplished or get the pink slip, so they really don’t have time to show you. Don’t blame the employee, blame management!!!

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