Walmart Prefers Political Correctness to Profitability

Mike Duke photoLast week it was Walmart CEO Mike Duke’s duty to find an explanation for continuing declines in same store sales, as the company hosted its 20th Annual Meeting for the Investment Community on Tuesday.

Despite the fact that the most recent quarterly report ended in July and brought a surprising (to analysts) .3 percent drop for the second quarter, when a one percent gain was expected, Duke cited the two-week old government shutdown and a “tough and unpredictable global economy” as reasons for the poor performance.

“It should come as no surprise that the government shutdown is on the minds of our U.S. customers,” Duke told his audience. “As you would expect, we’re following the situation very closely.”

Of course the shutdown came long after the second quarter reports, so there had to be other explanations.

“The competition is also tough,” Duke said. “I see it when I …

Party Time for Corporations Who Love the Regulatory Favoritism Game

Obama InvescoPresident Obama’s speech last week that re-emphasized his commitment to reduce US carbon dioxide emissions brought dismay to those who appreciate affordable energy, but it sparked a celebration among corporate types who have long sought caps and taxes on CO2.

While it was still more words from the president, which don’t always match his actions, on CO2 limitation he has largely kept his promise to environmentalists. Critics slammed his plan to bypass Congress and to task the Environmental Protection Agency to curb emissions via executive order, but EPA has operated out of bounds since he was inaugurated in 2009 – especially with the “war against coal” that is now universally accepted as true.

“What has us most encouraged by the president’s speech is he is lacing up his gloves and getting ready for that fight,” said Michael Brune, executive director for the Sierra Club, in an interview …

‘Worker Centers’ Target Retail, Restaurant Sites for Organizing

Worker center demonstratorsWhen is a union not a union? Apparently, it's when members say it isn't. Yet a change in terminology can't alter reality. Over the past several years, hundreds of organizations, known as ‘worker centers,' have established a presence in the labor movement, targeting retail and restaurant chains for organizing and picketing. While they don't like being called unions, for all practical purposes they operate as such. And they have the advantage of being outside the jurisdiction of labor law. At least one is a reconstituted key affiliate of the defunct radical network, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).  Many are stalking horses for unions, especially the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). And they're getting results, at times even more than unions themselves are getting. 

The rise of worker centers is a logical response to the relative decline of union …

Walmart Black Friday Protests: We Told You So

Walkout on Walmart posterThe 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 Report details Walmart’s journey from a company that embodied Sam Walton’s bedrock values to a powerful instrument for liberal policy, culminating in Walmart’s support for ObamaCare and cap & trade legislation.

Our warnings to the company have been ignored. I took our message directly to the Walmart annual meeting in 2011. Here is a part …

Walmart Withdraws from ALEC, Wallows in Bribery Scandal

Mike Duke photoIn an unsurprising, capitulatory move last week, Walmart joined several other major companies and withdrew its membership from the American Legislative Exchange Council, which advances the principles of free markets and limited government at the state level through legislative idea exchanges.

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.

A number of investors and pension funds attempted to remove some Walmart directors from the board, including CEO Mike Duke (in picture), former CEO Lee Scott, and S. Robson “Rob” Walton, son of company founder Sam Walton. Because the family holds nearly 50 percent of stock in the company, proposals they don’t support will always …

Walmart’s Appeasement of Left Continues to Flounder

Mike Duke photoNo 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.

Still, the descendants of Sam Walton and company executives try. Last week CEO of Walmart International, Doug McMillon, made the now-familiar pitch at the liberal Brookings Institution in Washington. Not surprisingly, rather than emphasize Walmart’s historical approach to business (before 2005) – which espoused low costs due to bulk purchasing and supply chain hyper-efficiency – and how that has improved the lives of millions of people with limited incomes, McMillon instead highlighted the company’s “social impact.” His drivel was likely welcomed by the elitist Beltway audience.

Sadly, as Walmart expands globally, the Third World that hungers for freedom and economic development desperately …

Walmart-Endorsed Obamacare Can’t Save Employees from Skyrocketing Insurance Costs

Mike Duke photoWe told you so. Last week Walmart announced it will severely cut back health benefits for its employees, proving that the Obamacare law that the company endorsed will not save the day for its many low-income workers.

Under the new company policy, new part-time associates will no longer be eligible to receive health insurance. Reuters also reports that the amount Walmart puts in employee healthcare savings accounts will be cut in half.

“The current healthcare system is unsustainable for everyone and like other businesses we’ve had to make choices we wish we didn’t have to make,” said Walmart spokesman Greg Rossiter. “Our country needs to find a way to reduce the cost of healthcare, particularly in this economy.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, costs of premiums and deductibles for employees could increase by up to 40 percent. The newspaper also noted that Walmart is in the minority of …

Walmart Embraces ‘Green’ Politics; Loses Sales

Walmart/green photoRecently 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!”

For example, in an op-ed last week for the Los Angeles Times, he wrote:

This isn’t Al Gore saying green is good for the economy; it’s Wal-Mart, which puts the discussion in a very different place. Yet progressives so revile the retailer, and the idea of a greener Wal-Mart generates so much skepticism among environmentalist organizations and their donors, that they have failed to capitalize on this golden opportunity to push through a green agenda for America. They’d rather lose the battle, it seems, than say something positive about their traditional enemy, even though Wal-Mart is using its vast scale and power to

Walmart Ripped for Supporting Cap and Trade at Annual Meeting

Here are my remarks delivered today at the Walmart annual meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas in favor of our shareholder proposal that asks for a report on the business risks of climate change:

Mr. Duke, I have some good news for you. You can stop worrying about global warming. The seas are not rising. The sky is not falling. And Al Gore has found a new role – as that crazed sex poodle.

During the elections last year, the American people spoke. Voters chose economic growth over pseudo-science and environmental alarmism. As a result, cap and trade legislation supported by Walmart is dead, and may be forever.

Cap and Trade was never about global warming. Instead it’s about politicians imposing a command economy on us, and raising taxes in order to enhance their own power.

Wal-Mart supported ObamaCare, too, which was never about health care. And it is even more unpopular …

SEC Says Wal-Mart Can’t Nix NLPC Shareholder Proposal on Global Warming

Mike Duke photoThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has notified Wal-Mart that it will not allow the company to exclude from consideration our shareholder proposal that asks for a report on the business risks of climate change. Our supporting statement criticizes the company’s support for unpopular measures like Cap & Trade, and for forcing its controversial political positions on its suppliers.

On January 28, Wal-Mart challenged the proposal to prevent its inclusion in the proxy and a vote by shareholders. By doing so, Wal-Mart continues its policy of hostility toward those of us who advocate for its right to pursue its business model, while at the same time embracing and bankrolling anti-business activists.

This process began under former CEO H. Lee Scott and has accelerated under current CEO Mike Duke (in photo).  Wal-Mart’s shift to the Left was first detailed in our 2008 Special Report titled Wal-Mart Embraces Controversial Causes: Bid to