Saturday, December 17, 2005

WakeUpWalMart.com vs. walmartfacts.com. Who is lying?

The following is a press release that was sent out today by wakeupwalmart.com. Following it is a response from walmartfacts.com. Read them both and decide for yourself who is credible and who is lying.
Witnesses Respond to Wal-Mart's Lies - Florida Incident; Statement by Paul Blank, WakeUpWalMart.com Campaign Director, on Incident at N. Lauderdale Wal-Mart
12/16/2005 6:43:00 PM

To: National and State Desk
Contact: Chris Kofinis, 202-486-6422; Paul Blank, 202-466-1503
NORTH LAUDERDALE, Fla., Dec. 16 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is a statement by Paul Blank, WakeUpWalMart.com campaign director, on incident at N. Lauderdale Wal-Mart:
"WakeUpWalMart.com has sponsored thousands of peaceful events across the country to raise public awareness about the terrible effects Wal-Mart has on America. This is the first time Wal-Mart decided to cause an unnecessary incident and then target two African-Americans for arrest who were not even in the store, let alone did anything wrong.
Statements from four witnesses at the event, including a Reverend and Professor, confirm what actually occurred and are included below.
Here are the facts.
The group was at the Wal-Mart store as part of a nationwide campaign - "All I Want For Christmas Is Health Care For My Mommy" - to highlight the fact that 46 percent of children of Wal-Mart workers have no health care or are forced to rely on a public program.
Contrary to the myths put out by Bob McAdam, a former Tobacco spokesman, what actually occurred, based on over 10 witnesses in and out of the store, was that four of our supporters, one of whom was a 13 year-old child dressed in an elf costume, entered the Wal-Mart to make the manager aware of Wal-Mart's terrible health care record.
According to all who entered the Wal-Mart store, at no time did a single customer react negatively to our group, nor did any child cry. Wal-Mart statements to the contrary are false and manufactured lies. At all times, our supporters were respectful and polite to all. In fact, the truth is that many customers were shocked to learn about Wal-Mart's poor health care record.
The manager then said he did not care about our health care concerns and asked the group to leave. The group said to the manager they would leave immediately - and did.
As the four supporters exited the Wal-Mart, the manager and his security personnel became hostile to the outside group and then pushed two of our supporters. In fact, contrary to misstatements by Wal-Mart's Bob McAdam, our supporters were peaceful and respectful inside and outside the store. In contrast, the Wal-Mart manager and security personnel not only unfairly targeted two of the group, but the manager became hostile, aggressive, and Wal-Mart personnel actually were the ones to push and shove the two African-American supporters.
Again, all who witnessed the event, including a Reverend and professor, state the event and actions by our supporters were peaceful - both inside and outside the store.
We wonder why Wal-Mart's personnel would accost and single out two peaceful African-Americans (only 2 of the 15 people at the event were detained). Wal-Mart owes our supporters, the American people, and the two African Americans who had to spend a needless night in jail, a profound apology for its misstatements and lies.
Above all, it seems that Wal-Mart will say and do anything because it is afraid the American people will learn the truth that over six hundred thousand Wal-Mart workers and their families will face another holiday season without affordable health care.
One can only hope CEO Lee Scott will personally apologize for the misdeeds of another Wal-Mart manager in Florida. It's time for Wal-Mart to finally wake up and realize the power they have to make the lives of millions of hard-working Wal-Mart workers better, instead of thinking about new ways to use a former Tobacco spokesman who only specializes in misleading the American people.
Statements from WakeUpWalMart.com supporters at the event.
Statement from Alyce Gowdy-Wright, Campaign Director, South Florida Jobs with Justice
"I proudly took part in an effort to inform the American people about the terrible price we all pay because Wal-Mart fails to provide health care to its workers. We were all peaceful and respectful to everyone.
The real facts are these - I did not at anytime push or shove anyone. A Wal-Mart security guard grabbed my right arm and pushed me. When the police officers arrived after the security personnel pushed me, my question was 'why are you not arresting this Wal-Mart security guard?' If anyone did anything unlawful in this case, it was Wal-Mart and the Wal-Mart security personnel.
Wal-Mart owes me and the American people an explanation as to why I was charged for doing nothing wrong but trying to make Wal- Mart a better company."
Professor Bruce Nissen, Florida International University
"We were peacefully handing out literature to customers. There was not one displeased customer, not one angry customer. There was absolutely no violence, no pushing, no shoving, from any of us who were there to talk with customers about Wal-Mart's health care crisis. The only violent actions came from Wal-Mart management. They were cursing at us inappropriately. Wal-Mart should apologize for treating peaceful citizens in this way. The simple fact remains that Wal-Mart does not provide health care for one out of every two children of their employees. Customers have the right to know that reality."
Alex Lopera, senior student at Miami-Dade College
"Four of us went inside the store to present the manager with our flyer representing the health care that employees and their children will not receive this Holiday. There were no angry customers in the store. No one was crying. We spoke with the manager and presented him with a box and flyer. He refused and told us to leave. When he asked us to leave, we did so immediately. There was no argument. Outside, the store, the Wal-Mart management unfairly targeted two African Americans who were not even in the store. It is outrageous that they would make up these lies and then go to the extent of arresting peaceful protestors."
Reverend Dr. Lucy Hitchcock Seck, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Miami
"A group of us were taking part in WakeUpWalMart.com's 'All I Want for Christmas is Health Care for Mommy' campaign. We were peacefully informing local citizens and shoppers about Wal-Mart's failure to provide company health care to its workers. We were peaceful and singing Christmas songs.
We were leaving the Wal-Mart when two African Americans among our group were targeted by Wal-Mart personnel. Rather than allow customers to know the truth, Wal-Mart falsely created an incident. The two peaceful citizens were taken away by police even though they did nothing - nothing wrong at all.
Wal-Mart must explain why they targeted two African Americans out of a group of fifteen of us - it is morally outrageous. I can only hope Wal-Mart will acknowledge its profound mistake and explain why two citizens were apparently racially profiled by Wal-Mart."

Statement on Union Leader Santa and Elf Demonstration at Florida Wal-Mart Store

Union Leader Santa and Elf Demonstration at Florida Wal-Mart Store
“Unfortunately, this union leader campaign stunt went too far,” said Bob McAdam, vice president for corporate communications at Wal-Mart. “Union demonstrators dressed as Santa and his elves entered a Wal-Mart and began presenting some of the children in the store with wrapped boxes. The children became excited and started saying things like, ‘Let me have the big one.’ But when the children opened the boxes, they found that the boxes were empty. Needless to say, the children were upset and some began crying.
“When asked to leave, the demonstrators became argumentative. They claimed that they had permission from the Wal-Mart home office to demonstrate, but, in fact, they did not. Soon the demonstrators began pushing and shoving Wal-Mart associates. The Broward County Sheriff’s office was alerted and deputies arrested two demonstrators for battery and gave fifteen other demonstrators trespassing warnings.
“This just goes to show that the union leadership will stop at nothing – even upsetting children with fake Christmas gifts and resorting to physical confrontation with our associates. We have tolerated numerous union demonstrations and disruptions in our stores, but we cannot tolerate attacks that become physical. We ask for the union leadership to publicly apologize to our associates, these children, their parents and the customers who were in our store and pledge that any future demonstrations will be peaceful and non-violent.
“The Washington, D.C.-union leader campaign is failing. With sales up 4.3% last month and 10 million people visiting our stores in just the first six hours of Black Friday, the union leadership is resorting to desperate and divisive attacks. The American people are becoming increasingly incensed by the nature of this campaign and are still wondering why the union leadership is obsessed with attacking a company that creates jobs and provides affordable health insurance to working families.”

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