Walmart Under Investigation for Bribery, Corruption in Mexico The New York Times broke the story this weekend that Walmart executives, including current CEO Mike Duke, were involved in a massive bribery cover-up. Yesterday, The Washington Post reported that the Department of Justice is conducting a criminal investigation into Walmart, and quoted UFCW President Joe Hansen, who said “The reported cover-up by Walmart executives at the highest levels exposes a core truth: Walmart cannot be taken at its word.” (You can read President Hansen’s full statement here http://bit.ly/Ilc96O). Making Change at Walmart & OUR Walmart are advocating for two basic demands: 1) Walmart Chairman S. Robson (Rob) Walton and CEO Mike Duke must resign immediately. Their failure to adequately respond to the alleged illegal activities in a timely and effective manner has irrevocably undermined their ability to lead the company. To restore accountability and the trust of customers, shareholders, workers and communities, they must step down. 2) The Walmart Board of Directors must appoint an independent, respected expert from outside the company to conduct a thorough and independent investigation of the corruption scandal and reported cover-up. Making Change at Walmart will continue to send updated information and resources for local unions as they become available, including items for enhanced social media outreach.
tomers, workers and shareholders. • In its drive to enrich a very few at the top, Walmart’s senior management has proven that it is willing to trample on the human rights of workers, discriminate against women, damage small businesses and the environment, and now potentially violate laws in the U.S., Mexico and other countries. • The reported cover-up by Walmart executives at the highest levels is the latest evidence that a culture of lawlessness dominates the highest levels of the company’s leadership. Walmart employees have experienced this first hand: time again workers have been forced to resort to legal action to protect themselves from discrimination, to ensure their rights are not violated, and, simply, to receive an hour’s pay for an hour worked. • The members of the billionaire Walton family who control Walmart have allowed the company to trample over the rights of workers, and the laws of the U.S. and other countries, as they have amassed more wealth than 30 percent of American families combined. This scandal is just the latest example of the super-rich 1% refusing to play by the rules that apply to the rest of us. • It is fitting that this corruption scandal has come to light just as Walmart prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary. • Walmart Associates and workers throughout Walmart’s global supply and distribution chain are forced to work on poverty wages, with fewer hours and struggle to make ends meet. • Because of Walmart, thousands of American small businesses have had to close their doors or lay off employees.
Talking Points on the Walmart Bribery and Corruption Scandal • The Walmart corruption scandal and reported cover-up exposes a core truth: Walmart’s word cannot be trusted. • Over the last several years, Walmart has spent billions to rehabilitate its image and buy the support of key allies as it sought to break into new markets, all while making promises about the benefits of its business model.
• Walmart’s low-paying jobs have driven down living standards in American communities and the global economy. • Walmart’s business practices are harming the environment. • Walmart and the super-rich Waltons force American taxpayers to pay the costs of health care and other services that many Associates rely on for their economic survival. • In short, Walmart’s unchecked power and unaccountable leadership are driving drive down labor, living and business standards in America and worldwide. OP
• The relentless strategy pursued by Walmart senior management in the U.S. and abroad of “growth at any cost” in pursuit of profits in fact comes at a great cost – to the company, cus-
April 24, 2012 Volume 14, Issue 5
UFCW Members Voice Concerns, USDA Extends Comment Period on Poultry Inspection Rule
Members from across the country contacted the USDA to voice their concerns over worker safety in poultry plants.
UFCW Sugar Worker Testifies in Hearing on Workplace Safety On April 19, workers from across the country came to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Senate HELP hearing to put a face on the impact of workplace injuries and illnesses. Participants expressed the need to move forward on needed protections and strengthen safety enforcements. While in D.C., they met with administration officials at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of Labor (DOL). Janet List, a worker in the Baltimore, Md. Domino Sugar plant and president of UFCW Local 392, joined with other workers and families who have had loved ones die on the job as the result of exposure to workplace hazards. In the meeting, List urged the government to move ahead with OSHA provisions to protect workers from exposure to explosion hazards from combustible dust.
Last week, in response to UFCW members around the country submitting their opposition to a Big Poultry-driven inspection process being considered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Secretary Tom Vilsack agreed to extend the comment period on this proposed rule by 30 days. The rule, which would increase the speed that birds are processed from 70-91 a minute to a maximum of 175 a minute, could put workers at poultry plants in increased danger. The UFCW has called on USDA to halt this rule until the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducts comprehensive studies on the impact it would have on the health and safety of workers in poultry plants. It will use this 30-day extension to work directly with NIOSH to determine a course of action to study the probable effects of increased line speeds on worker health and safety. This extension is a victory for all poultry workers who can rest assured that their safety on the job is being taken seriously. Members can continue to submit their comments online by visiting www.regulations.gov and referencing Docket No. FSIS-2011-0012 “Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection.” OP
April 24, 2012 Volume 14, Issue 5
Domino Sugar plant worker Janet List testifies on the need for new regulations and better eforcement of workplace safety.
“We reminded OMB that the delays in rules have real impacts on workers. We told them that we were frustrated by the delays in key safety and health rules and urged them to move forward on the rules without delay,” said List. Combustible dust and workplace safety made national headlines after the 2008 Imperial Sugar Plant explosion in Savannah, Ga. The explosion killed 14 people and seriously injured dozens more. After the explosion, workers demanded that the DOL take immediate steps to protect workers from the recognized danger and hazard of combustible dust in order to prevent further deaths and injuries. Workers also called on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to regulate all combustible dusts and not just sugar. OP
UFCW Members in Michigan Join Allies, Other Unions in the “Protect Our Jobs” Campaign
Members Call for Closing Tax Loophole and for Giant-Carlisle to Disclose Income Taxes Paid Members of UFCW Local 1776, along with concerned consumers and activists from the Philadelphia area, rallied on Tax Day in front the Giant Food Store in West Chester, to call on Pennsylvania’s largest supermarket chain and one of the state’s largest employers, to disclose how much they pay in state income taxes to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Doris Pierce, member of UFCW Local 876 and a worker at Kroger in Flint, signed the petition because she believes Governor Rick Snyder’s efforts are misdirected.
After seeing the attack on collective bargaining in the neighboring states of Wisconsin and Ohio, workers in Michigan have decided to go on the offensive before their own antiworker Governor and legislators strip these rights. Together in “UFCW Michigan,” UFCW Locals 876 and 951 are partnering with other unions and allies as part of the “Protect Our Jobs” campaign to guarantee collective bargaining rights through an amendment to the State Constitution. The campaign must secure 322,609 signatures by July 9 to ensure a spot on the November ballot. Collective bargaining rights helped build Michigan’s middle class. Lansing politicians have introduced 80 bills this session undermining collective bargaining. A constitutional amendment stops these politicians from attacking our fundamental rights.
The event was part of a statewide Tax Day push for tax fairness sponsored by the Coalition for Labor Engagement and Accountable Revenue (CLEAR), an alliance of labor organizations representing over 1.1 million hard working Pennsylvanians that are united to fight for essential services and critical investments in Pennsylvania’s state budget and beyond. Most of the corporations are evading some tax responsibilities by shifting income earned in Pennsylvania to tax-haven states like Delaware.
Members from UFCW Local 1776 and concerned customers rallied on Tax Day in front of the Giant Food store in West Chester, Pa.
UFCW members have been proud to join this fight. “Our efforts have been well-received by both our fellow members and citizens when introducing the petition,” James Frazier, Sr., a Kroger worker in Clinton Township said. “I don’t really have a problem convincing people it’s a good idea to protect our jobs!” “Governor Snyder needs to keep his focus on creating jobs in Michigan, not destroying them,” added Doris Pierce, from the Kroger in Flint.
In February, the non-profit Keystone Research Center sent a letter to Pennsylvania’s 1,000 largest for-profit employers asking them to disclose how much each pays in state income taxes. The ten largest multi-state corporations doing business in the state, including Giant Food Stores did not disclose their tax statements.
For more information, visit http://protectourjobs.com/ OP
Go to http://on.fb.me/IOoPol for more information on the Tax Day actions. OP
April 24, 2012 Volume 14, Issue 5