Wake Up Wal-Mart is back. The grassroots union-backed organization that rallied alongside Democratic candidates this fall will hold a press conference in Hartford Thursday to highlight the retail giant’s record on gender discrimination, access to affordable health care, and anti-family policies. As shoppers consider their holiday purchases, Wake Up Wal-Mart supporters will distribute pink greeting cards that say, “Women and Families Deserve Better Than Wal-Mart” Keri Hoehne, spokesman for the organization said Wednesday. Wake Up Wal-Mart supporters, Working Families Party members, and state officials will gather Thursday afternoon at the Flatbush Avenue Wal-Mart store in Hartford to give the retailer a “Holiday wake-up call.” The group will call on Wal-Mart’s CEO Lee Scott to end the company’s anti-family policies by Christmas Day and will launch its newest holiday television ad entitled “1000 Years.” The ad will be available Thursday afternoon on its web site. To see its previous ad campaigns, click here.
Already organizations attack on Wal-Mart seems to be working. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. reported its November same-store sales dipped 0.1 percent, marking the third consecutive month of disappointing results, according to Tuesday’s Associated Press article. The Associated Press reported that “those weak sales came despite Wal-Mart’s price cuts on toys, electronics and other items in an attempt to draw shoppers. For the heart of the holiday season, Wal-Mart is expecting December same-store sales to be flat to no more than 1 percent higher than a year earlier. The company blamed weak sales of apparel and a slump in its home furnishings business.“But while its sales slumped for the first time in a decade, it’s still one of the most profitable companies in the world, in addition to being the largest private employer of women. Wal-Mart is being sued for discriminating against 2 million current and former female employees – the largest gender discrimination lawsuit in US history. The suit charges that female workers with comparable performance evaluations were both paid and promoted less than their male counterparts for the same jobs. In a 2006 SEC filing Wal-Mart detailed 57 active lawsuits for wage and hour violations.Just two days ago a Wal-Mart employee from the Newington store filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. for violations of the workers compensation statutes. According to the lawsuit filed by employee, Jose Tejada, he had injured his back in October of 2004 while unloading heavy merchandise from a tractor-trailer. In November 2004 when he returned to work light duty he was told by the defendant company that “he needed to get healthy quickly and return to his position as a receiver full duty or he will be fired.” The lawsuit claims Wal-Mart denied Tejada an opportunity to obtain medical treatment with an orthopedic specialist and diagnostic tests even though it was recommended. In December 2004 Tejada was fired for “lack of work.” Then over the next two years Wal-Mart continued to contest his need for medical treatment. Tejada is represented by Emanuele Cicchiello. The press conference begins at 1 p.m. Thursday and will be held at the Wal-Mart on Flatbush Avenue in Hartford.