The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Open Letter to New Wal-Mart CEO: A New Year, A New Wal-Mart?


Last month, Wal-Mart settled more than 60 wage-and-hour lawsuits and agreed to pay as much as $640 million in back wages to workers. Today, American Rights at Work published an open letter
to new Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke, agreeing that the time is ripe for a new
Wal-Mart, and outlining further steps the world's largest retailer can
take to ensure its workers have a fair share in the company's success.

Letter Text:

Dear Mr. Duke,

Starting the New Year with a new CEO is a perfect opportunity to
change Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. into a model employer. You've already made
a good start by recently settling more than 60 wage-and-hour lawsuits
and agreeing to pay as much as $640 million in back wages to workers.

We were encouraged when your top lawyer said that the legal claims
against Wal-Mart's business practices "are not representative of the
company we are today," and that "resolving this litigation is in the
best interest of our company, our shareholders and our associates." We
fully agree that operating in the interests of all stakeholders is the
responsible course, and expect that you take the next critical steps to
ensure Wal-Mart workers have a fair share in the company's success.
They include:

  • Quickly and fairly settling with the nearly two million women
    who have sued Wal-Mart over sex discrimination in pay and promotion.
  • Keep the company's child labor law violations in the past.
  • Providing
    high quality, affordable health care to your entire workforce, so
    states will no longer carry the burden of covering billions in medical
    costs for Wal-Mart employees.
  • Ensuring workers are free to
    choose a union to improve their wages, benefits, and working conditions
    without the fear of intimidation or reprisal.
  • Demonstrating that "everyday low prices" and respecting workers' rights are not mutually exclusive.
  • Ending your opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act, commonsense legislation that will level the playing field for workers.

We want to take you at your word that the old days are gone and truly
look forward to seeing the "company you are today." The time is ripe
for a new Wal-Mart with an incoming President who has pledged to bring
change to this country, ensure a fairer economic system for workers and
business alike, reform health care, and restart our economic engine so
that it works for all Americans.
Here's to a New Year, a new Wal-Mart, and a new resolve for being part
of the positive change that's coming.


David Bonior

Chair, American Rights at Work