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Fuzzy Math that Would Make Enron Execs Blush

Who would you say is the most repugnant corporation in American corporate history?  Is it Enron, who gave record amounts to the Bush-Cheney machine and bankrupt millions of investors?  Halliburton, the shameless war profiteer?  Or Wal-Mart, the company that has done more than any other to drive down wages in America and has set a new low for how it treats its employees?

It’s a tough choice.  The competition is fierce.  But lately I think Wal-Mart has been giving the others a run for their money, especially when it comes to cooking the books, deceiving the public with smoke-and-mirror statistics, and generally screwing over citizens and taxpayers.  It’s no secret that Wal-Mart treats its employees horribly, but Progress Ohio has uncovered troublesome data showing that the retailer is costing the Buckeye State taxpayers tens of millions on health care and welfare.  

You see, Wal-Mart claims that only 2.6% of their workforce and their dependents rely on Medicaid – that appears to be a flat-out lie. If Wal-Mart’s figure is correct, we would expect only 1,385 Ohio employees to be on Medicaid.  However, more than 15,000 of Wal-Mart’s Ohio employees and their dependents are on the program.  Unless Wal-Mart’s Medicaid enrollees have 10 dependents each, Wal-Mart’s official number is suspect beyond reasonable doubt.

That’s a lot of dough in a state that is under a lot of economic stress.  Wal-Mart makes billions each year and Ohio is suffering mightily, yet Wal-Mart would rather enrich executives (4 out of 10 of the richest Americans are Waltons) and send billions to China rather than provide decent benefits to hard working Americans in Ohio.  What is wrong with this picture?

If this concerns you as much as it does me, please join me at WakeUpWalmart.com  to help get our priorities straight in Ohio and America once again.  

The Ohio Benefits Report has been altered from the original publication. Appropriate changes were made to this diary to reflect those changes on Oct. 6, 2009.

Wilderness Walmart Fight Rages On

Here’s an idea: Let’s build a shopping mall on the National Mal in Washington, or even better, how about a McDonalds on Half Dome in Yosemite Park? Don’t these sound like good ideas? Well if you’re saying NO, then you probably agree that they make about as much sense as the proposal to build a Wal-Mart Supercenter on the grounds of the Wilderness Civil War Battlefield.  Robert Duvall agrees also and spoke out earlier this year:

Just last week, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, and six nearby residents filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Orange County. The suit challenges the August 2009 approval of Walmart's proposal to plant a massive super center unacceptably close to the historic battlefield.

Video is via the Civil War Preservation Trust, and there is more after the fold:

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Help Needed Defeating Wal-Mart on Battlefield

Last week Virginia's Orange County Board of Supervisors vote to approve the building of a new Wal-Mart Supercenter within the historic boundaries of the
Wilderness Battlefield – and one of the most significant battlefields of the Civil War.  The Civil War Preservation Trust has been fighting Wal-Mart on this location for over a year – seeking an alternative location and compromoise – and after last week they desperately need everyones help to stop Wal-Mart from moving forward and opening the door to further destructive development.  

Even State Senator Creigh Deeds, the Democratic candidate for Virginia Governor, has written a letter to the president and CEO of Wal-Mart pleading with him to move the location off the historic battlefield.  Wake-Up Wal-Mart is helping in this fight and you can too by also writing a letter on the Civil War Preservation Trust's website and also help spread the word yourself.

More from Blue Virginia and the Washington Post below:

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The Steroids Era and Wal-Mart

When we look back on The Steroids Era in baseball, we’re going to see a bunch of players who broke the rules and grew to an unnatural behemoth size, and how the people who were supposed to provide oversight either turned a blind eye or even encouraged it.

Well, if you think about it, wasn’t our economy in sort of a similar Steroids Era?  Real estate prices were pushed to unsustainable levels, Wall Street raked in unhealthy and astronomical profits, and our SUV’s looked like they had a case of elephantitis. 

The poster child for the Excess Economy was Wal-Mart, the king of suburbia that built Big Box Supercenters anywhere it could find cheap land, introduced oversize shopping carts for its Canyero-driving customers, bought cheap goods in bulk from China, and was the darling of Wall Street.

Like in MLB, the oversight into Wal-Mart’s unprecedented behavior didn’t exist.  Bush was Bud Selig.  So while Wal-Mart may have broken records, it left an ugly legacy on the American economy by destroying small towns, short-changing workers, and selling out American vendors in favor of China.

I’ve had enough with The Steroids Era, and so that’s why I’m doing some work with Wake Up Wal-Mart this summer.  Like in baseball, it’s time to reform the system and restore American tradition in our economy.  Join us if you’re sick and tired another so-called “record breaker” juicing the system. 

Labor Violations, Bogus Standards in WalMarts Chinese Supplier Factories - via China Labor Watch

In a new investigation from the China Labor Watch (CLW), “Wal-Mart's Road to Sustainability: Paved with False Promises?”, the CLW reports on the Wal-Mart's extreme exploitation of foreign factory workers – amongst many other egregious acts they've detailed.  

The CLW has found, as a result of investigations from April to June of this year, that violations at one of Wal-Mart's suppliers, the Huasheng Packaging Factory, include:

• Elaborate system to cheat Wal-Mart audits.

• Some workers make only $0.51/hour, 60% of the minimum wage.

• Poor working conditions: workers inhale large amounts of paper particles and other debris.

• Twelve workers live together in cramped dorms

• Workers not paid overtime wages.

• During busy period, workday is 11 hours or 77 hours per week, and overtime is mandatory

Please help us by taking action and voicing your concern about Wal-Mart, and please continue reading for more from CLW's press release.

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Will Walmart live up to their PR on Health Care this time?

There has been a lot of talk this week about the surprising move by Walmart to publically support President Obama’s health care reform plan, supposedly positioning themselves as a

leader in the fight to bring health care to all Americans. As we mentioned in a post on our blog

yesterday, this might be easier to swallow if Walmart had any history of leading by example. Instead, they usually do just the opposite.


Walmart’s long record of trying to build a positive

reputation on ineffective work-arounds to health care coverage

for employee, the recent revelations about sacrificing quality for cheap perescription drugs, and their deceptive PR campaign that severely overstated their workers’ health

care coverage, it’s not hard to understand our skepticism. [get the details in the extended entry]

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Walmart's $4 Drugs Coming From Indian Company Whose Products Have Been Banned In US and Canada

Walmart, in one of their worst ways of prioritizing prices above qualities to date, turns to a foreign drug supplier, Ranbaxy Laboratories, LTD, who has repeatedly been investigated by the FDA and the DoJ for “inadequate” safeguards against contamination, falsification of records and submitting false information to the FDA.  

On top of that, just eight months before the FDA inspected Ranbaxy's Paonta Sahib plant and found significant violations, Walmart awarded the company a “Supplier Award” for improving shipping times and performance.

In a new report on our website, we detail their multi-year spanning violations, DoJ investigation, Congressional Investigation, and list out all of the drugs made at the facility in questions.  Additionally, we detail their recent violations below.

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The Wake Up Wal-Mart Holiday Campaign: Ad #2

This December, Wake Up Wal-Mart is going all out with our annual Holiday Campaign to awaken America’s largest retailer to its responsibilities. Here is a peek at our second TV ad for 2008's holiday season:



Titled Wal-Mart: America Just Can't Afford It Any Longer, the ad focuses on the hidden costs of shopping at Wal-Mart:

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Thinking of shopping at Wal-Mart this Holiday Season?

If you are, I'm sure the Chinese will be psyched.

Wake Up Walmart, who I'm working with, has a great new video up highlighting the perils of supporting the Bentonville behemoth.

In their quest to cut costs, Walmort outsources more and more jobs overseas. It's come to the point where 70% of Walmart products are now made in communist China. “In the race to the bottom, Walmart gets ahead and the middle class falls behind,” the ad warns.

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Walmart's Faux Greening = McCain's Faux Change

If Walmart is a green company then John McCain is a candidate of change. Both are ridiculous suggestions, and both are being propagated by these two antiquated refuges of Republican America.

McCain, for his part, is suddenly casting himself as an agent of change after spending the last two years cozying up and currying favors from the Bush-Rove-Falwell axis.

And Walmart?  Well, the world’s largest retailer has launched a much-ballyhooed greening initiative that has won acclaim from everyone from the Wall Street Journal to Bill Clinton.

Just to be fair, let’s take them at their word for second – Maybe McCain and Walmart read some polls and learned that, wow, people want change and want to go green.  

But even if that’s the case, it doesn’t make them the gold standard.  They’ve still got a lot of atoning to do.

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WakeUpWalmart.com Skewers McCain in New Ad

McCain probably thought that by choosing Sarah Palin as a running mate he could mask his record on women’s issues – or to borrow a timely phrase, put lipstick on the pig that is his platform.

But WakeUpWalmart.com is going to make sure he doesn’t get away with it.

In a new ad, WakeUpWalmart.com highlights what is one of the most egregious examples of his standing in the way of progressive reforms like fair pay for women. 

Women working at Walmart make notoriously less than their male counterparts (it’s the Walmart way).  That’s why WakeUp Walmart joined together with other groups to form the largest discrimination class action in history. 

This was a chance for Big Mac to prove those reform credentials he likes to talk about, but instead he case a big, fat, regressive “NO” to fair pay.


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Wal-Mart's Latest Victim is the New York Times

Yesterday's New York Times posted a misleading article that uses the relationship between SEIU President Andy Stern and Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott as evidence of a “slowing down” of the Wal-Mart campaigns. NYT registration required– it's also re-posted at HuffPo.)


While we cannot speak for Wal-Mart Watch, everyone should know WakeUpWalMart.com has NO intention of letting Wal-Mart off the hook.  None. Zero. Zilch.


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Wake Up Walmart Starts 2008 Campaign

Wake Up Walmart has released its first video of 2008.  Walmart is a key issue for progressives to focus on- because of their awful health care benefits, Iowa citizens are estimated to be paying $10,059,698 a year in taxes to cover poor Walmart employees and their families with health care- while Walmart is making huge profits.

Please check out this video, and let your friends know why we need to “Wake Up Walmart”.

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