Leave it to Wal-Mart: When a crowd of 125 protesters showed up in front of its store here Thursday to demand that the retail giant change its business practices, the store sent out a greeter in a blue vest blazoned with that phrase to meet them.
According to his name tag, the retail Goliath’s emissary’s name was David.
The man, who didn’t give his last name, agreed to meet with the leaders of a crowd of labor activists, including Doug Dority, president of the United Food & Commercial Workers union, which has been trying to organize the workers at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for a few years.
The Springfield demonstration was just one of about 100 around the country, conducted at stores from Alabama to Washington State, as part of what activists called a "National Day of Action" against the company.
"We can’t allow the largest employer in the U.S. to pay poverty wages and exploit its workers and claim it has a decent reputation," said Bill Lucy, secretary/treasurer of the American Federation of State, Country and Municipal Employees union, an AFL-CIO affiliate, who attended the rally.
The protesters were members of the ad-hoc People’s Campaign for Justice at Wal-Mart, which Thursday presented a six-point platform of demands that the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer change business practices they claim are endangering the future of the American middle class.
They’re singling out the chain in part because of its size. With over 1 million U.S. workers, Wal-Mart is the second-largest domestic employer, after the federal government. The activists argue that Wal-Mart’s proven ability to dominate most categories of retail it tries forces competitors to cut wages and take other steps dangerous to workers and customers to compete with the chain.
The coalition of 38 groups is spearheaded by the AFL-CIO, including the member organization UFCW, which has been working unsuccessfully to organize workers at Wal-Mart stores.
A Wal-Mart spokeswoman argued that the firm treats its workers fairly and pays them well.
"We do a lot to lower prices for people around the world and we are pretty comfortable that our customers and associates will see through this activity and keep it in perspective," she said.Dority, along with Jim Lowthers, head of the local UFCW, spoke briefly with the greeter and presented him with an oversized card bearing the code of conduct. They asked him to sign the card.
While the two union executives spoke with him, members of the Fairfax County police department herded the rest of the loud crowd back from the store’s front door, across the parking lot and to a sidewalk about 50 yards from the entrance.
When Dority returned to the crowd, he said the greeter had not signed the code, but had agreed to bring it back to Bentonville. Dority expressed little hope that would mean much, saying: "They probably won’t sign."
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty