Sign the petition to The Academy, Melissa McCarthy, Dee Rees, and Nancy Myers: Stand with working women and denounce Walmart:
Click here to read the full letter to Melissa McCarthy, Dee Rees, and Nancy Myers.
For Immediate Release: February 20, 2018
Contact: Amy Ritter, (202) 251-5907
UFCW Asks Leading Female Filmmakers to End Partnership with Walmart’s Oscars Campaign
UFCW publishes full page ad in Variety after sending letter to Melissa McCarthy, Dee Rees, and Nancy Meyers on Walmart’s track record with women
Washington, D.C. – In light of Walmart’s track record of mistreating its female workforce, Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) and the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Secretary-Treasurer, Esther Lopez, sent a joint letter to Melissa McCarthy, Dee Rees, and Nancy Meyers, urging them to stand up for the rights of working women and end their Oscars Awards partnership with Walmart.
The letter from MCAW was in response to the three prominent female celebrities’ partnership with Walmart to produce the company’s television commercials that will air during the Oscars Awards ceremony. As part of the effort to highlight Walmart’s track record, MCAW is also publishing a full-page ad in today’s edition of Variety magazine.
“While at face value this would seem to represent a positive campaign, we urge to you look at the facts about Walmart’s past actions that reflect on its values. Values that have had a negative impact on countless women and their families, and that send a terrible message as to what behavior is acceptable if we are serious about social equality and justice,” said Lopez in the letter to the three Hollywood filmmakers.
The Variety ad, which includes a graphic of the Oscar award hiding its face, lists several reasons and facts as to why Walmart is an unfriendly workplace for women, families, and pregnant workers, and details Walmart’s scrutiny towards some women of color shoppers and mistreatment of some LGBTQ employees.
As part of an effort to raise public awareness of Walmart’s record on women, MCAW is launching a multifaceted campaign which will include ground actions leading up to this year’s Academy awards, a targeted social media campaign, and paid media, such as this week’s Variety Ad. Additional announcements about the next phase of the campaign will be made in the coming days.
“We admire Ms. Rees, McCarthy, and Meyers for their work, and we urge them to do what is right and speak out against Walmart’s record. No actor, especially ones as talented and passionate as these, should ever allow themselves to be used by Walmart to hide the truth about how they treat women. It’s time for Walmart to change, and Ms. Rees, McCarthy, and Meyers can be a powerful voice for that change.” said Lopez.
A copy of the Variety ad and the letter sent to Ms. McCarthy, Meyers, and Rees can be viewed below and at changewalmart.org/oscars.
Walmart’s Abysmal Track Record with Working Women:
- Exploiting Female Overseas Supply Chain Workers: According to a 2016 report from the Asia Floor Wage Alliance, workers in some factories in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, and Indonesia that supply Walmart claimed that they faced sexual harassment, unsafe working conditions, low wages, denial of benefits, and forced overtime that resulted in “…mass fainting episodes resulting from over exertion, exacerbated by inadequate nutrition.”
- LGBTQ-Unfriendly Policies: Last year, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) took the unusual step of suspending Walmart’s score for LGBTQ corporate equality after two investigations by the EEOC “pointed to significant enforcement gaps in Wal-Mart’s non discrimination policy, specifically with regards to sex and gender identity…” Furthermore, some members of the Walton family, the owners of Walmart, have given extensively to anti-LGBTQ political candidates and causes. Walmart owner and Walton family member Jim Walton has, in the past, given repeatedly to Arkansas State Senator Jason Rapert. Rapert is a leading crusader against gay marriage in Arkansas. After a state judge ruled Arkansas’ bans on gay marriage unconstitutional in 2014, Rapert sponsored a resolution accusing the judge of violating his oath and calling for the creation of a judicial recall process in the state.
- Issues with Equal Pay Transparency: In 2015, Walmart successfully blocked a shareholder vote that would have required the company to disclose how many men and women were in each pay grade. And again in 2017, Walmart attempted to block a shareholder proposal requiring a report “…on the Company’s policies and goals to reduce the gender pay gap.” That proposal was eventually withdrawn amid Walmart’s opposition. At the time, Jacqui Canney, the company’s executive vice president of global people, said, “The stats don’t make you feel very good about how long it would take to reach [gender] parity.”
- Family-Unfriendly Policies: Inadequate sick day policies and irregular scheduling make Walmart a very difficult place to work and raise a family. Walmart does not guarantee paid sick days or offer holiday pay to its workers; instead the company utilizes a policy where workers must accrue paid time off based on hours worked. This means a new part-time Walmart worker must work 43.33 hours to earn just one hour of paid time off. Earning just one hour of paid time off could take a part-time worker weeks because the company’s scheduling system fails to ensure that all part-time workers have access to a fuller and more consistent schedule. Based on these policies it would be difficult for many working parents who need regular childcare to have a stable life working at Walmart.
- Extra Scrutiny for Women of Color: Walmart has been criticized for having put extra security packaging on black hair care products in some stores in Virginia, North Carolina, and California. Some of the locked-up products have cost as little as $3.94, while products used primarily by white shoppers remained unlocked in the same store.
- Denial of Maternity Leave and Health Care to Hundreds of Thousands of Workers: As of 2015, 50 percent of Walmart’s hourly workers are part-time, according to the New York Times, yet Walmart does not offer health insurance to any part-time worker who averages less than 30 hours per week. Even though Walmart recently expanded its paid parental leave program for full-time employees, Walmart excludes from paid parental leave the hundreds of thousands of employees who work part-time, including an estimated 300,000 working women.
- Mistreatment of Working Pregnant Women: After surveying more than 1,000 employees, A Better Balance (ABB) released a 2017 report alleging that Walmart is violating protections in the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by routinely disciplining employees for taking time off to care for themselves or their families. The report also claims that Walmart is violating the FMLA and ADA by disciplining workers for disability-related absences and refusing to accept doctors’ notes. In one instance, a pregnant Pennsylvania Walmart cashier, fearful of missing her shifts and losing her job, told the New York Times that she had a miscarriage while at work in a Walmart bathroom. Management had refused to excuse her previous missed shifts for doctor’s visits – even when she provided notes and hospitalization records – which caused the her to forego doctors visits and miscarry at work.
- High Female Turnover: How poor are Walmart jobs? Based on the 2016 overall retail industry turnover rate of 53 percent; an estimated 437,000 women workers leave Walmart every year.
- Support of President Trump: In February 2017, President Trump selected Walmart CEO Doug McMillon to participate in his Women in the Workforce discussion and appointed him to his now-defunct business advisory council. In August 2017, McMillon failed to resign from Trump’s business advisory council in the wake of Trump’s Charlottesville remarks. That same month, the Trump administration halted a rule that would have required large companies to report employee pay by race and gender — an Obama-era policy that aimed to close wage disparities.