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Know Your Rights
Source: Lost in the Ozone
Subject: Workplace Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Moms Unite to Tell Wal-mart to Stay Out of NYC

On Mother’s Day, mothers from across New York came together to say ‘no’ to Wal-mart and to tell the Arkansas based giant that it can’t be trusted, and isn’t welcome in New York City. The mothers said they are unsettled by Wal-mart’s track record of putting women and children in harm’s way:

• Wal-mart is facing the largest class action lawsuit for sex discrimination in U.S. history
• Hazardous bunk beds sold at Wal-mart were recalled Thursday by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
• Wal-mart raised prices on kids’ toys during the holiday shopping season
• Largest seller of guns in the U.S.

“Having worked at Wal-mart and knowing how they treat moms I can tell you it’s never Mothers Day there,” said Zorylaine Perez, a mother of five and former Wal-mart employee who has joined Make the Road New York to stop Wal-mart from coming to the City. “Wal-mart can spend all the money they want to tell people otherwise but when it comes down to it they don’t value the ability of working moms to support their families as demonstrated by low wages I earned.”

“Mother’s Day is a day we set aside to celebrate the sacrifices and contributions our mothers have made in our lives. However there are those who choose to take advantage and misunderstand the sacrifices by paying sub-par wages that are not in line with the cost of living. Wal-mart is a company that takes advantage of our mother’s and we cannot allow them to take advantage of NYC’s mothers. This Mother’s Day I honor my mother and all the mothers by reminding Wal-mart we will not let you walk all over them in stripping our mothers dignity with subpar wages,” said New York City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras.

Minister Patricia Malcolm from CUSH said: “As women of faith and great value we are tired of being used, abused, underpaid and underserved. On this day, mother’s day we stand united to protect all that we stand for, recognizing that we are the backbones of our families and community and will no longer put up with those whose intentions are to further take advantage of us, like Wal-mart does.”

Nikeisha Sinclair, a retail worker of 3 years, Retail Action Project member and mother of a 6 year old daughter, “ Wal-mart keeps paying low wages even though the cost of everything is going up these days. New York’s moms deserve better than a retailer who is the biggest corporation in the world yet still cuts corners preventing mothers like me from providing for our families.”

Wal-mart has suffered 7 consecutive quarters of same-store sales declines in the US[1] and last year, Wal-mart Stores lost U.S. market share to its competitors for the first time in a decade.[2] To make up for falling sales, Wal-mart is looking to expand into major cities including New York.

“Wal-mart does not share mothers’ values,” said Former New York City Councilwoman Una Clarke, mother of Congresswoman Yvette Clarke. “Wal-mart raised prices on kids’ toys at Christmas. They sell bunk beds at risk of falling. They’re accused of discriminating against more than a million women- many of whom are mothers. New York’s mothers and grandmothers deserve better.”

“The world’s largest retailer – Wal-Mart — has already handed out its Mother’s Day present in the form of unfair wages, and discriminatory promotion practices according to thousands of Californian women who have brought the country’s largest class action gender discrimination lawsuit against the company. But this is “business as usual” for the retailer whose unfair labor practices in the past have ranged from such issues as breach of wage and hour laws, paying workers impoverished wages to violations of child labor laws and illegal intimidation of workers who have the right to choose a union to protect them. This abuse of workers offers the public just a small glimpse into this company’s standard operating procedures — a patriarchal culture that profits on the exploitation of vulnerable workers such as working mothers. So, this Mother’s Day, in addition to those chocolates and flowers we will invariably send our mothers, wives, sisters, girlfriends, and partners, send a special message from New Yorkers to Wal-Mart — only fair retailers need apply,” said Fran Moccio Former Director, Institute for Women and Work at Cornell University.

“Mothers on the Move is committed to fighting for economic justice for all New Yorkers—that’s why we oppose any Wal-mart stores in our neighborhoods,” said Mothers on the Move. “Wal-mart squeezes out neighborhood stores and the workers they employ. We won’t let that happen here.”

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