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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2010
1:47 PM

CONTACT: Wake-Up Wal-Mart

Jill Cashen, UFCW (202) 728-4797 or press@ufcw.org

Walmart's Sick Leave Policy Leaves Workers, Customers and the Public at Risk

WakeUpWalmart.com and Activists Demand Walmart Change its Sick Day Policy

WASHINGTON - February 24 - WakeUpWalmart.com and a coalition of supporters today launched a national week of action against Walmart's irresponsible sick leave policy. WakeUpWalmart.com will hold events at 50 Walmart stores across the country to deliver ‘demerits' and a letter to local store managers calling on Walmart to change its unfair and harmful sick day policy.

Last fall the New York Times article Lack of Sick Days May Worsen Flu Pandemic, exposed Walmart's track record of giving employees "demerits" that can lead to termination when they call in sick. A number of workers across the country reported retaliation and termination from Walmart due to illness.

Beatrice Parker, a former greeter at Walmart # 3371 in Charlotte, N.C., felt forced to resign due to Walmart's sick leave policy after suffering from a bladder infection caused by not being given bathroom breaks on the job.

In a new video released today, Parker describes abuse and age discrimination and asks Walmart CEO Mike Duke, "If you don't have any or can't have any concern for the way I was treated in this Walmart, please have some for the people who work there, especially the older people."

Walmart's policies and actions create a working environment where employees feel they are faced with a choice between spreading the flu and keeping their job. Walmart deserves public demerits for sick leave policies that put the public at risk and make its employees sicker.

The Demerit Walmart program is supported by leading advocacy groups such as the MomsRising.org and the Labor Partnership for Working Families.

"MomsRising is extremely concerned by news reports that Walmart associates risk receiving demerits (which can lead to termination) for taking earned paid sick days," said MomsRising Executive Director Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. "Such a practice is a public health hazard and a threat to the economic security of Walmart associates and their families. We call on Walmart to publicly respond to these charges and immediately end any ongoing practice of issuing demerits ."

Walmart is America's largest private employer and sets the standard for workplaces in the retail industry. Walmart associates should not be afraid of losing their jobs simply because they are too sick to help customers. Walmart can and should live up to the highest possible workplace standards.

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WakeUpWalMart.com is about Americans joining together in common purpose to change Wal-Mart. There is only one force powerful enough to change the #1 Fortune 500 company in the world – the American people. WakeUpWalMart.com is about giving Americans the tools to empower themselves to change the world’s largest employer. We are Wal-Mart’s customers and we have the power to make Wal-Mart live up to its responsibility to its employees, our families, our communities and the nation.



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