Monday, April 23, 2012

Press Release: A Call For Additional Hearings on Wal-Mart

Grocery Workers Union Calls for Additional Wal-Mart Hearings
Urges New York City Council to Continue Oversight Of "Corrupt and Predatory" Practices

In light of a New York Times special report documenting corruption at the highest levels at Walmart (Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up by Wal-Mart After Top-Level Struggle, 4/21/2012), New York State's largest Union representing grocery workers called for additional New York City Council hearings into mega-retailer, Wal-Mart's, "corrupt and predatory" business practices and the impact of those policies on New York City's small business community, working families and community organizations.  The New York City Council had previously held hearings on Wal-Mart in the winter of 2011.

United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 1500, representing 23,000 members in the metro New York area, suggested that the continued oversight of Wal-Mart's business practices is necessary so New York City residents, real estate developers and landlords, members of the business community, non-profit organizations and other entities to not only have full disclosure and better understanding of Wal-Mart's corrupt, predatory practices, but examine to what extent they want to partner with, work with and be associated with Wal-Mart in the future.

"The Saturday New York Times article documenting the culture of bribery and corruption created, fostered and then ignored by Wal-Mart, despite warnings they may be in violation of  U.S. and Mexican law, proves that when the spotlight of accountability is not on Wal-Mart, they operate in a dark, corrupt and viciously predatory manner,” said Patrick Purcell Jr. spokesperson for UFCW Local 1500.

"Our Union has been the leading organization urging that New York City, the greatest city in the world, not allow itself to be another victim on the endless list of workers, businesses, community groups and so many others across the globe that have been destroyed and victimized by the mega-retailer," Purcell continued.

"Anyone surprised by Saturday's Times article outlining yet another chapter in Wal-Mart's long history of outrageous and offensive business practices all in the name of growth and profit has either not been paying attention to the facts or has been in a deep state of denial," Purcell continued.

"If the child labor issues, gender discrimination accusations and billions of dollars wage and hour violations had not previously been convincing enough, the New York Times article should persuade even the most biased and ardent Wal-Mart supporters to abandon their position.  I cannot imagine anyone who would want to stand next to Wal-Mart at any event, public or private," Purcell concluded.

The New York Times reported this weekend that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. investigators probing its Mexican operations found a paper trail of hundreds of suspect payments worth more than $24 million made to grow its business in Mexico.  The Times said that in September 2005, a senior Wal-Mart lawyer received an e-mail from Sergio Cicero Zapata, a former executive at the company's largest foreign unit, Wal-Mart de Mexico, describing how the subsidiary had paid bribes to obtain permits to build stores in the country.  However, Wal-Mart, having dispatched officials to investigate the allegations subsequently quashed the investigation.  Wal-Mart never notified either U.S. or Mexican law enforcement officials of the suspected violations of law.


United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500 is New York's largest Grocery Workers Union, representing 23,000 workers throughout New York City and the Greater New York City region.

Press contact: Pat Purcell, joinus1500@aol.com

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