For Immediate Release
Marcus Mrowka, 202-730-7759
SEIU's Mary Kay Henry: We Cannot Ignore Reality that Wal-Mart is America's Chief Corporate Poverty Creator
WASHINGTON - Statement of SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry on the White House event recognizing retailers expanding their business in underserved areas. Wal-Mart is among the attendees.
"As the nation's largest union of healthcare workers and as educators, child care providers, and social workers, we see the consequences every day of our failure to confront our country's childhood obesity crisis and provide quality food, health, and education services in underserved areas.
"It's vital that leaders like First Lady Michelle Obama continue to shine a light on this crisis and that we recognize responsible retailers like Safeway that step up their efforts to expand in underserved areas like they've done in neighborhoods in Los Angeles and Oakland. Safeway is not only bringing quality food into neighborhoods long abandoned by other grocery chains, they are also creating quality jobs in these communities.
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"But we cannot ignore the reality that Wal-Mart is America's chief corporate poverty creator. And that they are linking arms not with America's workers to create good jobs but with right-wing politicians pushing job-killing policies and massive tax breaks for CEOs and millionaires. As our country's largest employer, Wal-Mart's corporate model of low wages and no benefits leaves millions of their workers unable to purchase healthy food or provide a good life for their families. And when Wal-Mart opens in a community, it can actually drive out good jobs and responsible employers.
"Wal-Mart should not be celebrated for false contributions to our communities and glitzy public relations campaigns that disguise their destructive policies. It's time to hold America's largest employer to a higher standard and demand that they produce quality jobs and do their part to increase opportunity and prosperity in our communities."
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With 2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers—not just corporations and CEOs—benefit from today's global economy.