NEW YORK — Union-supported Wal-Mart Watch stepped up its campaign to change working conditions at the world's largest retailer, placing a full-page ad in The New York Times Tuesday that listed seven "moral responsibilities" of the company.
The goal of the effort, dubbed "A Handshake With Sam" in reference to Sam Walton, the late founder of Wal-Mart, is to provoke dialogue with and get the company to agree to seven voluntary commitments, including a "family-sustaining wage," affordable health care and ending employment discrimination, said Andrew Grossman, executive director of Wal-Mart Watch.
The watchdog group "isn't here to give Wal-Mart a black eye," Grossman said during a conference call. "Our aim is lasting change. We will continue to embrace our responsibility for constructive suggestions for how Wal-Mart can improve its business."
Wal-Mart Watch, started last year by the Service Employees International Union, is composed of community, environment and labor groups and has upped the ante on pressuring Wal-Mart to change its policies. Another group, Wakeupwalmart.com, is funded by the United Food and Commercial Workers. Both unions have been unable to organize workers at the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer.
"We are not planning to respond," said Bob McAdam, Wal-Mart vice president of corporate affairs. "We are not planning to meet. Nothing that they have proposed in that ad has not been said before. It's the same rhetoric ... Wal-Mart has made great progress and continues to be a leader in our industry."
The company has expanded health benefits for 1.3 million U.S. workers to cover part-time employees and their children and lowered premiums and prescription co-payments. The retailer reacted to critics who allege the chain's aggressive expansion has put stores out of business and ruined downtown shopping in some areas by announcing this year that more than 50 stores will open in struggling urban neighborhoods over the next two years, creating 15,000 to 25,000 jobs. Wal-Mart also said it would offer financial incentives and programs such as producing free radio ads and coaching businesses on how they can thrive with a Wal-Mart in their community.
Wal-Mart Watch, which said it paid $150,000 for the ad, last February disclosed an internal company memo suggesting that Wal-Mart reduce health care costs by discouraging unhealthy workers from applying for jobs. The group also has opposed the retailer's efforts to create its own bank, though Wal-Mart has stressed it would use the bank only to process its credit card, debit card and electronic check transactions, and that it abandoned plans for retail banking, which could drive other banks out of business.
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion