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."
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast