Walmart Unleashes Wrath of Multi-Million Dollar PR Team on… a College Kid

According to Working America’s piece on Daily Kos yesterday afternoon, “Walmart, the country’s largest private employer and huge wielder of political influence, is taking on their greatest challenge yet: A college junior writing an op-ed in her student newspaper.

In Walmart’s tireless effort to convince (or some might say coerce) Washington DC’s Mayor Vincent Gray into vetoing the recently passed living wage bill, Walmart has turned its typical bullying tactics on Georgetown student Erin Riordan for her piece in the school’s paper. The company unleashed none other than that Senior Director of Communications Steve Restivo to take on the challenge. Restivo drafted his own op-ed in response.

This is just the latest tactic of Walmart’s dirty attempts to bully DC out of the living wage.  In March, Walmart started organizing and leafleting under the guise of a broader coalition called “Don’t Block DC Progress.” One interesting fact about the coalition is that apparently Walmart is the only self-identified public member.

Tell Mayor Gray to support a living wage.

69 thoughts on “Walmart Unleashes Wrath of Multi-Million Dollar PR Team on… a College Kid

  1. It is time for Walmart join the United Food and Commercial Workers Union for
    all Walmart Cashier Workers and for all Walmart Produce Workers and for all
    Walmart Deli Department Workers and for all Walmart Bakery Department Workers
    and for all Walmart Clothing Department Workers and for all Walmart Pharmacy Workers.
    It is time for Walmart join the Teamster Union for all Walmart Truck Drivers
    Workers and all Sam’s Club Truck Driver Workers and for all Sam’s Club Forklift
    Driver@Stock Person Workers and for all Walmart Stock Person Workers and for
    all Walmart Gardening Department Workers and for all Walmart Hardware
    Department Workers and for all Walmart Customer Services Desk Workers and for
    all Courtesy Association Workers and for all Maintenance Workers and for all
    Sam’s Club Meat Cutter@Meat Wrapper Workers and for all Sam’s Club Cashier
    Workers and for all Sam’s Club Produce Workers and for all Sam’s Club Sam Café
    Workers and for all Sam’s Club Bakery Department Workers and for all Sam’s
    Membership Desk Workers and for all Sam’s Club Cart Attendance Workers for all
    Sam’s Club Maintenance Workers and for all Sam’s Club Pharmacy Workers. It is
    time for Walmart join Communication of America Workers for all Walmart
    Electronic Workers and all Sam Club Electronic Workers. It is time for Walmart
    join the United Auto Workers Union for all Walmart Tire@Lube Express Workers
    and for all Sam’s Club Tire@Car Battery Installment Workers right of away and
    right now please by make Walmart give all Walmart Workers a Living Wage With
    Affordable Health Care and all Sam’s Club Workers a Living Wage with Affordable
    Healthcare right of away and right now please without close down all the
    Walmart Store and without close down all the Sam’s Wholesale Club.

    Thank You Very Much

    From Tom P

  2. Oh how horrible it would be to pay workers a decent living wage…who the hell do these people think they are ? They expect corporations not only to give them a job…but also pay them well too ! Shame on the greedy working class !!!

    • I agree totally. They get a job and then expect to be paid enough to buy food, clothes, shelter and pay their utility bills! Some people.

    • It’s not so much greed as it is economics. There’s a market which tends to set pay scales and prices – and does it more efficiently than the governments have done. The larger problem isn’t that WalMart isn’t paying manufacturing wages, it’s that policies – government and businesses – have driven those other jobs away. Automation has also played a part. An economy depending upon a discount retailer for “really good jobs” is doomed. 3/4 of the jobs created so far this year – during the Obama recovery – are part-time. That’s not WalMart’s fault. Why are businesses creating such jobs? Because the economy is very weak. The only reason the unemployment rate is going down is that more people each month give up their job search and quit looking – that’s also not WalMart’s fault. WalMart has a lot for which to answer, but focusing on them while ignoring what both parties in DC are doing is a mistake. The Democrats are looking for dependent voters and the Republicans are looking for cheap labor. Why the anger at WalMart while giving the DC people a pass? You’re shooting at the wrong target.

      • You have to realize that this isn’t about the worker, but about the union due that are being missed because they can’t unionize Wal-Mart. They really don’t care too much for the workers, but the union bosses really care about the millions a week that could come from the union dues. They have lost hundreds of thousands of dues paying members as Wal-Mart has taken over 25% of the retail grocery industry. Much of the losses came at the expense of the small and medium companies that were unionized. The workers are just the pawn being played.

      • That is nice to know. Learning how to use a computer would be a valuable job enhancement skill for you to learn.

      • I just go by what I see. You forgot the email not me. Owning up to mistakes and correcting them is a sign of the type of personality that succeeds. Not admitting mistakes leads to certain failure.

      • No, you’re not in the real world, you’re in the one where everyone is out to get you. Actually, I feel sorry for people like you. Gotta be pretty lonely there all by yourself. You come across like a little leprechaun sitting on his pot of gold scared to death every minute someone will come along and take it from him. Plenty of people solve their own problems. But the smart ones learn early on that working together solves them faster. It’s people like you who have destroyed this country and turned it into a third world nation. And that is pretty much what it has become. And this country is on its way down. When one percent of the population controls ninety percent of the wealth, nothing good will follow.

        Sent from Windows Mail

      • You can control anything you work for. Success comes from working hard and working smart. Relying on others or a union for your success dooms you and your children to certain failure. To succeed, you have to make yourself better. Employer reward people who excel with good work habits and good work ethic. Watching American Idol will not help you get ahead, Obtaining a new skill and applying it will get you ahead, As an employer, I can tell you that we never and I mean never advance whiners. They infect a workplace and are gotten rid of. If you apply yourselves, learn and apply it, you and your kids can reach anything you wish, Don’t sell yourself short. Set a goal an go after it.

        Not sent from Windows Mail

      • who says they are getting a pass, this particular area is about Walmart, and yes you are right, they are not the only ones to blame for the mess.

  3. Speaking as a former employee who Walmart fired over a facebook comment and then was willing to spend thousands of dollars to keep from rehiring, I am not surprised at anything Walmart does.

    • Since most store management started on the floor – a fact – what’s keeping you from joining them in the bonus pool by working for your promotion to management?

      • Whiners are not promoted and a bad attitude will not get you far. Employers are screaming for folks with a good work ethic. Many companies and communities offer low cost or free self improvement programs. Taking the initiative to better one’s self is the first step to better worth to any employer. Showing up and working smart and hard puts an employee way ahead in the game. Not doing so dooms their family to the lower rungs of the economic ladder,

      • Nope, great minds think alike. Most people think about the same. The takers of society like you are still in the minority. Go get a job. You know like Uncle Joe says a three letter word J O B S.

      • Doesn’t everyone who goes along with your norrow minded conservative viewpoint have a great mind?

      • You wouldn’t know a great mind if you saw one. Now go get a job and stop being a leach.

      • Maybe I can find an employer like Walmart that will encourage me to apply for food stamps and medicaid!

      • Anything you can do to ease the burden on the achievers of the country will help. Better to be a partial leech than a whole leach like today. You could start in the garden department. All employers are screaming for good employees with good work ethic. Maybe you can fake it by showing up on time and look like you actual care.

      • Achievers like the Koch brothers who are helping the Republicans wage war against the middle class and overturn any laws that might keep them from making an extra penny? Are those the achievers you speak of?

        Or are talking about achiever Alice Walton whose worth is $21 billion dollar? She’s an ‘achiever’ and American tax payers are expected to make up what she would have paid in taxes because she’s a “Job Creator” American tax payers are also expected to pay for her Employee’s Food Stamps and health care because the jobs she and her company creates don’t pay enough.

        Or are we talking about those ‘achievers’ at McDonald’s are so generous, they help their employees create a budget that shows them how easy it is to live on 6 minimum wage jobs?

      • You always talk of the extreme examples. The vast majority if achievers are folks like me who worked hard, put themselves through college by working hard and working smart. Waited to have children until they could actually afford them. Sacrificed their own personal pleasures to save money only to invest it all with great risk to try to better themselves and their families. They may have failed several times before achieving success, but they stuck to it and succeed in life. A great reward in itself, but the better reward is seeing somebody you helped become successful also. Seeing folks like you who have been too lazy to do anything to improve themselves and are so bitter about it, they hate successful people rather than emulate them. They are not only stuck at the bottom, but they want everybody else to be down there with them. They promote the concept that the union will give you success, you don’t have to have work ethic to achieve it. Just give the union some money and they will take care of you. Ask the Detroit union workers how that is working out for them. It is really a sad state of affairs and why I still feel sorry for people like you. Mad, but not willing to do what is necessary to fix their own problems.

      • Oh, so you just think my comment has extreme examples, you don’t dispute them. Maybe there’s help for you yet.

        Some of the vast majority of achievers you speak of own small businesses and provide a decent wage and health benefits.

        Walmart employs 2.1 million workers, 2/3 in the US. 2012, revenue is 3Xs that of Apple and 15xs that of McDonald’s. Walmart pays employees on average $8.81 an hour. 4 Walmart members made $20 billion in 2012. Walmart stores in the US cost taxpayers over $1.7 million per year because they pay their employees so little they have to rely on public assistance.

      • Walmart employs 2.1 million workers

        revenue is 3Xs that of Apple and 15xs that of McDonald’s.

        Walmart pays employees on average $8.81 an hour.

        Walmart stores in the US cost taxpayers over $1.7 million per year because they pay their employees so little they have to rely on public assistance.

        Prove please

      • The availability of classes and self-improvements is a threat to Walmart. That is why the Company “schedules” people with non-repeating workshifts.

      • I wish this was true. Unfortunately Wal-Mart has no shortage of people wanting to fill the ranks of entry level positions. What they and every employer are screaming for are employees with good work ethic and a willingness to improve themselves. In the modern world they are many, many opportunities for education online without physically going to school.

      • My specific question is why do you ask other people for links, but never provide any of your own?

      • Being a former Walmart employee- I have to say not so true on the good work ethic thought. I had a fantastic work ethic-I sweated bullets trying to get the whole job done- there one and only concern was that I leave on time-if your over your scheduled hours for a week- you had to cut the amount your over by most of the times taking a longer lunch. I’ve made suggestions for smarter working- wasn’t happening. Wished I could go into further detail but I can’t. For the wage I was being paid, I should have cared less- but my conscience wouldn’t let me and ended up being let go. I keep thinking if I only could have not cared as much I possibly could still have a job. This is sad, very sad…..

      • Most of Walmart’s associates are not willing to abuse the people who work “for” the Company. Walmart is still fighting the Federal Government on allowing workers with certain chronic health conditions to eat when they need to eat, and as far as I know, they still require pregnant workers to be able to lift or push loads in excess of 90 lbs in order to keep their jobs.
        Many of Walmart’s supervisors, by the way, started their retail careers with other companies; they did not work “entry level” positions at Wallyworld.

      • From where are you getting your numbers Ric? The 90 pound thing – is that lifting OR pushing – the difference seems pretty substantial (I gather the pushing involves a pallet jack) – and are you sure, pretty sure, or just don’t know but heard about it. I’m not defending WalMart here, just wondering why you’re making allegations of which you are unsure. It’s not as though WalMart doesn’t do enough actual stupid things. What is served by your speculation? As it turns out – and you could have checked this out via Google – WalMart is involved (as are other firms) in litigation to determine whether pregnancy is covered under the disability laws. There’s some ambiguity. I agree that it’s stupid to make pregnant associates lift 90 pounds – but I am not sure that there’s an army of WalMart people being fired if they cannot. I may be wrong. I am also not sure what you are proving by the statement that many WalMart people started their careers at other companies. Many did, many didn’t. What does it prove that many did?

    • What, why do they need to pay them at all. Surely you don’t want the Waltons to end up in the poor house do you. They are barely surviving now with a wealth accumulation that equals 40% of the wealth of the population of this country combined. How would they ever survive

    • Thanks, Simon Legree
      Too bad horrid jobs at places like Walmart count in employment figures. MAyeb tehy should only count 3/5th of a job.

      • Wait until ObamaCare kicks in and most folks will be working only 29 hours a week. The socialist dream.

      • That was done by a liberal organization and unreliable. Now how do you explain how the owner of this forum and Wal-Mart’s worst enemy has come out against ObamaCare. They have been joined by many other big unions who seem pretty solidly against it. They seem to be agreeing with me, not you.,

      • A liberal organization and unreliable? Is that why you spend so much time their commenting. I know, the conservative messiah thinks he’s giving the poor people of Maine an education. Keep spreading your message of doom and gloom, and helping the Republicans continue their war against the middle class.

      • I stop reading articles as soon as I see they are slanted and trash. You are unable to discuss any facts of any subject.

      • So you make all those comments on the Bangor Daily News site without reading the articles, I’m not surprised at all.

      • I stop reading articles as soon as I see they are slanted and trash. You are unable to discuss any facts of any subject.

  4. The savings I might get shopping at Walmart aren’t worth selling my soul for in return.
    You would think they would want their employees to make enough money to turn around and spend it on some of the crap they sell, but I’m sure most Walmart employyes shope at the $1 store and Goodwill since that’s all they can afford.

      • That is what they tell them to say down at the union hall. No independent thinking allowed,.

      • Actually I have – about this and lots of other issues. I do such research because I don’t rely on being “bright” – I instead rely on information, data, history, and such. I get it wrong sometimes. I enjoy being as snarky as the next person – but the comment “why don’t you do the research…” Is that really the best ya’ got?

  5. WalMart is not allowed to respond because? Please remember that the DC City Council last month (July 2013) – with time on their hands because none of their members were being indicted that day, decided that WalMart needed to pay higher wages than (a) their competitors, and (b) the District government. Government officials spending other people’s money – it’s shocking, I know – and it’s your view that WalMart ought not respond with every tool at their disposal? Is the living wage case so weak that those who question the assumptions behind it are not allowed to speak? As to WalMart’s convincing or coercing – how does that differ from the Council’s strong-arming WalMart? What is it about the government setting wages that you believe works well? I am not trying to make or break the case against a Living Wage. People cannot live on $7.25 an hour. But the idea that higher wages have next to no effect on the business – and especially on the shoppers – is not true. WalMart has much for which to answer, but is it their fault that they charge less than nearly everyone else? Do the people who can buy better food and more of it because WalMart doesn’t support a higher cost structure better or worse off? I know that losing higher-paying jobs is not a win-win – but is WalMart at fault for being the low-cost provider? I understand that their are health costs that WalMart often moves onto others, but since someone has to pay for health care (and WalMart would have to pass the cost to shoppers) who is in the best position to pick up the cost? I am not trying to defend WalMart – I am asking from where ought the money come? Higher costs mean higher prices – period. Where’s the most effective balance?

    • This is so simple to grasp and these folks just don;t get it. Now burger flippers want $15/hour. The market sets the wage, not the employer. McDonalds starts employees at $17/hour with a sign on bonus in Northern ND where there is an energy boom going on. It is supply and demand. If you can only stock shelves and there thousands of others out there willing to do it, your value is not much. Add in a class or two or the ability to be a medical technologist and your value goes way up. Get an associate degree and you can make a lots more. Get a BA or a BS or a RN and you can be making $30/hour. The opportunity is there, but it is not going to be given to you by the union, It is up to you to go better yourself and make yourself worth more money.

  6. Is anyone really surprised by Walmart’s actions? Whenever they get bad publicity the first thing they do is throw some expensive public relations double talk at it.

  7. This doesn’t surprise me in the least – Walmart simply doesn’t take care of its employees.

    I work at a law firm, and we’ve been representing a very nice family here in Northern Virginia who had the courage to go toe to toe with Walmart and its lawyers after Walmart refused to pay for applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy for the family’s child.

    After Walmart hired multiple attorneys (all of whom said that they didn’t have a case), they finally budged and paid our client. However, Walmart also wanted to pay our client “hush money” so that they kept quiet about their case. Its quite disgusting that Walmart wouldn’t pay for necessary autism treatment for a child; especially when the treatment was promised in their contract.

    You can read more about the claim here:—what-in-the-world-is-this-company-thinking-about.cfm

  8. If a business can’t pay a living wage, then I guess its the associates fault for not being able to live off what businesses give them?
    But I say….
    If a business can’t pay a living wage, then obviously the business model is wrong.

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