The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jill Cashen, UFCW (202) 728-4797 or

Walmart's Sick Leave Policy Leaves Workers, Customers and the Public at Risk and Activists Demand Walmart Change its Sick Day Policy

and a coalition of supporters today launched a national week of action
against Walmart's irresponsible sick leave policy.
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

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 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. 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. 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.