Monday, January 22, 2007

Why they just don't get it

From Walmart Watch

After a rough 2006, the New Year has not been so good for our friends in Bentonville.

New executive leadership keeps pushing Wal-Mart down a reckless and unsustainable path -- and Wall Street isn't happy. Scores of consultants keep trying to spit-shine Wal-Mart's tarnished image, sinking untold millions into PR campaigns that are immediately exposed as hot air.

Why can't Wal-Mart get a break? Because they won't face reality.

Americans aren't buying the empty rhetoric coming from the store of smiling faces. They're ready for real reform and honest leadership -- and I'm hopeful that 2007 will be the year for it.

As our campaign kicks off its third year, it's clear to Wal-Mart's friends and foes alike that change is needed and long overdue. 2006 holiday sales were down, the stock is in its third year of stagnation, and corporate leadership has lost the confidence of shareholders and employees alike.

Recent news coverage tells the story better than I can:

"Wal-Mart is fighting for its image -- and for its financial future... Wal-Mart is an embattled company and is fighting wars on all sides" -- Business Week, Jan. 9, 2007

"Bad years do happen to good companies. But for Wal-Mart, 2006 was just another downer in period of decline that's lasted seven years...Wall Street is starting to lose patience" -- Fortune Magazine, Jan., 2007

Our campaign began in 2005 with modest means and big intentions. Contrary to Wal-Mart's spin about our deep pockets, we've shamed, embarrassed and bruised them for mere fractions of what they claim we've spent.

But we have magic here -- no tricks, no gimmicks. With your help, and the support of hundreds of thousands of Wal-Mart Watch supporters, we've built a nationwide campaign that continues to hold Wal-Mart accountable for the truth.

And the truth remains:

* Wal-Mart leads the list of companies with the most employees and dependents in taxpayer-funded health care programs.
* Wal-Mart faces the nation's largest class-action lawsuit from 1.6 million current and former female Wal-Mart employees for gender discrimination.
* Wal-Mart stores and parking lots already occupy roughly 75,000 acres in the U.S. -- and the company plans to nearly double its footprint over the next 10 years.

We have so much we need to fight for in 2007 -- and that fight will require fresh ideas, unprecedented energy and renewed passion. So as our campaign kicks off the new year, I'm proud to announce that I'll be handing over leadership to my friend and colleague, David Nassar.

Get ready for something special. Over the coming months, David will take this organization -- and this community -- to new heights. Help him build a strengthened Wal-Mart Watch by asking your friends and family to join our fight today:

On behalf of David and the rest of the Wal-Mart Watch staff, I thank you for your commitment to making Wal-Mart a better corporate citizen.

Andrew Grossman

On the eve of our celebration of the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, I hope you will take a few minutes to read Dr. King's "Letter From Birmingham Jail."

It is a brilliant piece of work, and inspires me.

Paid for by, a campaign of Five Stones and The Center for Community and Corporate Ethics

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