The anti-Walmart protests today organized by the United Food and Commercial Workers union are the clearest evidence yet that the company's campaign of appeasement of left-wing activist groups is failing. Indeed, it appears the policy has invited more defamation and harassment. We told you so.
NLPC documented the emergence of this policy in a Special Report titled Wal-Mart Embraces Controversial Causes: Bid to Appease Liberal Interest Groups Will Likely Fail, Hurt Business. Written by John Carlisle, it was published in 2006 and updated in 2008. Click here to download the 24-page pdf version.
The move preceded Friday’s annual shareholder meeting, in which executives emphasized their commitment to principles of integrity. That came into question especially since April, when the New York Times revealed that company officials authorized millions of dollars in bribes in order to expedite building permits and other favors in Mexico.
No matter how much Walmart officials pander to liberals and their institutions, or how much they implement alternative energy gimmicks, or how much they earn fawning media attention for “corporate responsibility” and “sustainability” gestures, a giant segment of the political Left will still resent the retail giant.
Recently a guy who is trying to sell a book about Wal-Mart’s supposed “Green” heroism, Edward Humes, has written in various places about the giant retailer’s eco-friendly innovations and efficiencies. The tone has been, “Hey, believe it or not, this mass merchant practices sustainability!”
Suddenly at odds with public opinion on Barack Obama’s proposals on health care and global warming, Wal-Mart is seeking to exclude from its proxy our shareholder proposal that asks for a report on the company’s lobbying priorities. As we noted in the supporting statement, Wal-Mart favors these proposals that will dramatically raise the cost of living for its customers, at the same time it has taken a lower profile on issues like tort reform that would benefit its customers, not to mention the company and its shareholders.
In a June 30 letter to the White House, Wal-Mart endorsed Obama's health care plan. The letter was jointly signed by Andrew Stern, boss of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and John Podesta, who led the Obama transition team and is chief executive of the Soros-funded Center for American Progress.
Although the move was unexpected to some, it was no surprise to NLPC. In a Special Report published in 2006 and updated in 2008, I chronicled the company's move to the Left in a futile campaign to placate liberal critics like Wal-Mart Watch, funded by SEIU. On major issues except for "card check," Wal-Mart has become a powerful tool of liberal activist groups.
The Report details Wal-Mart’s journey from a company that embodied Sam Walton’s bedrock values to a powerful instrument of the political Left. The premise of the Report, that Wal-Mart cannot successfully satisfy anti-business activists, has been confirmed during the current fight over the so-called Employee Free Choice Act. Union-funded activists continue to harass and smear the company for its opposition to “card check.”