Contact: Janna Pea

September 14, 2011
Walmart’s Business Practices Cause Systematic Economic Harm to Women in the U.S. and Worldwide
Latest PR Gambit Can’t Cover Up the Truth
WASHINGTON (September 14, 2011) – Making Change at Walmart Spokeswoman Jennifer Stapleton issued the following statement today in response to the Walmart announcement about women-owned businesses:

“Walmart’s latest PR gambit is trying to cover up decades of unjust treatment of women, but women know better. Walmart causes systematic economic harm to women in the U.S. and around the world, and that is precisely why Walmart is trying to sell us on a new image. Walmart keeps millions of women in the U.S. and around the world in poverty, fails to protect women from unacceptable sexual and other forms of workplace harassment and works many women to the bone in sweatshop conditions around the globe. And, according to the women in the Dukes v. Wal-Mart gender discrimination law suit, Walmart pays women less than men.

“The women who work at Walmart and for Walmart’s suppliers know better than to believe the company’s propaganda. In July, Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) released what is believed to be the first-ever nationwide poll results exclusively of current Walmart employees. The poll, conducted among 501 “Associates,” as Walmart non-salaried employees are known, shows that by nearly every measure, women fare worse at Walmart —whether it’s pay, respect, retirement benefits, training for promotions, job security or fair procedures for disciplining, firing or laying off workers.”

The July 2011 survey of Walmart Associates sponsored by Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) included the following findings:

  • 65 percent of men said their take home pay is poor or fair, while 75 percent of women responded similarly.
  • 48 percent of men said Walmart does a poor or just fair job of providing the training and mentoring that allows them to earn promotions, while 59 percent of women responded similarly.
  • The company rates poor or just fair on a number of questions relating to workplace experiences: listening to workers (61 percent of women, 51 percent of men), giving them respect for the work they do (56 percent of women, 50 percent of men), having fair procedures for discipline (57 percent of women, 48 percent of men), fair procedures for termination (56 percent of women, 48 percent of men) and providing dependable work schedules (48 percent of women, 42 percent of men) and sufficient hours (57 percent of women, 53 percent of men).
  • Associates say Walmart’s staffing problems are hurting customers as well; 72 percent of both men and women say they are certain or somewhat certain understaffing has created problems such as messy stores or poor customer service.

“Listening to the debate around the Dukes court case, it can sound like he said-she said. But with this poll, Associates have our strongest voice ever, and what we’re saying points to a company that is broken and that we aim to fix,” said Maggie Van Ness, a Walmart employee in Lancaster, Calif., and a member of OUR Walmart. “If what’s going on at Walmart happened at a small company, it would be bad enough. But because Walmart’s the nation’s largest employer and sets standards for our communities and other companies, this is a full-scale epidemic. The data show widespread problems that are especially bad for women, who need these jobs.”

“I’ve worked at Walmart for more than five years,” said Barbara Collins of Placerville, CA, and member of OUR Walmart. “The job is tough for all of us, but especially women trying to raise families. The pay, the schedule, the treatment–none of this works for women.”

The survey, which was designed by Lake Research Partners and conducted by telephone from May 24 to June 8, predating the Supreme Court’s Dukes ruling. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percent.

Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) is a growing nationwide movement of hourly employees from DC to Seattle and Sacramento to Miami. It is the largest-ever movement of Walmart’s U.S. Associates to seek improvement in their workplace.


UFCW News Service