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Mole's Progressive Democrat

The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

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I am a research biologist in NYC. Married with two kids living in Brooklyn.

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  • Sunday, December 19, 2010

    NYC FOCUS: NOW Statement on WalMart Sexual Discrimination Suit and WalMart in NYC

    Remember that Mike Bloomberg keeps pushing for a WalMart in NYC...and community after community has fought back. Even Staten Island. The fact that WalMart destroys local businesses like the Borg destroying a Starfleet armada is one of the main reasons even Staten Island fought back against the Bloomberg/WalMart push.

    But I think in many communities the fact that they lost one of the biggest sexual discrimination suits is another factor. That court decision is under appeal in the Supreme Court, and WalMart's case isn't that they didn't discriminate. It is simply that they are "too big to fail."

    From the National Organization of Women:

    On Dec. 6, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would hear retail giant Wal-Mart's challenge to a class-action lawsuit against the company involving more than 1.5 million women. Wal-Mart did not ask the high court to review the actual charges that the company routinely discriminated against its women employees. Instead, the challenge seeks to halt the largest-ever discrimination case in the country before it even gets to trial.

    The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld certification of the class-action suit three times, most recently in April 2010. But Wal-Mart argues that each employee should be forced to file their complaints on an individual basis because a suit this size is too unwieldy and potentially costly.

    "First we have banks that are 'too big to fail' -- now Wal-Mart's lawyers are claiming that the company is too big to sue!" exclaims NOW President Terry O'Neill. "Well, guess what? When you're the biggest employer in the nation and the richest company in the world, and you get that way by paying unfair wages, you should expect to find yourself on the wrong end of a massive lawsuit one day. It comes with the territory, so Wal-Mart should stop trying to con its way out of court."

    NOW has a history of taking on Wal-Mart. In 2002, the organization named Wal-Mart a "Merchant of Shame" for its notorious employment practices and workplace environment. Chapter activists held educational pickets outside Wal-Mart stores nationwide, handing out fliers explaining the facts about Wal-Mart's discriminatory ways.

    Those shameful facts include: women earning nearly a quarter less, on average, than men, despite greater average seniority and higher performance ratings; women concentrated in lower-paying hourly jobs and being paid less even when they held the same jobs as men; women receiving raises at a slower rate than men, thus expanding the pay gap; women waiting longer for promotions and serving in management in proportions dramatically lower than the retailer's competitors.

    In addition, Wal-Mart was criticized for excluding contraceptive coverage in insurance plans, violating child labor laws and the Americans with Disabilities Act, and discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. Cases have also been filed regarding firing pro-union workers, eliminating jobs once workers joined unions, and discouraging workers from unionizing.

    "For years, the Wal-Mart empire has been built upon miserly wages that consistently were even more pitiful for women," says O'Neill. "The Wal-Mart executives who have profited from these practices should have the guts to face in court the women they cheated. I hope the Supreme Court will set aside its usual pro-business stance to grant these women the day in court they so richly deserve."

    The court will hear the Wal-Mart v. Dukes case in the spring, with a decision to be announced by the end of June 2011.

    Read more about NOW's work on Wal-Mart


    First the horrible predatory lenders like Wells Fargo, Citibank and Bank of America are too big to fail so taxpayers have to bail them out so they can go ahead and foreclose on as many people as they can. Now WalMart wants to get away with sexual discrimination in the workplace because they think they are too big to fail. Well personally I think WalMart does NOT belong in NYC if that's how they behave. If you agree that we do not want Bloomberg to shove "too big to be responsible" WalMart down our throats, please check out these sites:

    New York City: Wal-Mart Free NYC
    New York City: Neighborhood Retail Alliance


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