Reading the declarations of women involved in the class action lawsuit against Walmart makes my blood boil. As I sit here seething, I am imagining a conversation a plaintiff might have with President and CEO Bill Simon to try to understand why women employees have had to suffer so much.
Clara: Mr. Simon, I noticed that Walmart was named Fortune’s Top Company in 2010. How can that be?
BS: Yes, Clara. Our profits increased 7% to $14.3 billion.
Clara: That’s what I was wondering about. You see, I only make $9/hour. The young man in my unit makes $2 more an hour than I do, and I’ve worked for Walmart six years longer.
BS: Well, Clara, you’ll have to talk to your supervisor about that
Clara: I’ve already spoken to my supervisor. He told me that since I’m not the breadwinner I don’t need any more money. But I’m a single mom with three kids.
BS: Clara, I’m sure he knows best.
Clara: I don’t believe so, Mr. Simon. My supervisor was transferred to my unit because he was making rude sex jokes to women in his former department.
BS: That’s just an individual situation.
Clara: No, it’s not. Over 100 women have signed onto our lawsuit representing more than one million women. By the way, we started the suit in 2001. It’s been a decade. Why couldn’t you just follow US laws and save the company millions of dollars in lawyer fees?
BS: It’s the principle, Clara. My buddies at Intel, Altria, Bank of America, Del Monte Foods, Fedex, Microsoft, Costco, the US Chamber of Commerce, and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association have all given testimony (amicus briefs) on our behalf. If we lose, then all the women in the country will want equal pay and promotions!
Clara: If you gave up a little of your $35 million annual compensation that might help.
BS: That would breach our mission, “Saving People Money So They Can Live Better.” The Board and I wouldn’t be able to live better.
Clara: I guess “living better” doesn’t include the millions of women who work for you then.
BS: Sacrifices must be made somewhere.
Note: The figures above are factual.
To read short summaries of the women’s complaints, click http://www.walmartclass.com/walmartclass_declarationsummaries.html
For a list of Anti-Walmart groups, click http://reclaimdemocracy.org/walmart/links.php#organizations
For the basis of the case, click http://www.msmagazine.com/sept03/walmart.asp