Anti-Wal-Mart activists take further action


Posted Tue, Mar 9, 2010

WASHINGTON- Supporters against Wal-Mart’s sick leave policy launched a national week of action last Wednesday. 

Wal-Mart discourages workers to call in sick.  Employees who call in sick receive a demerit and lose their wages for an eight-hour period.  The more days missed, the more Wal-Mart awards demerits.

In an attempt to change the policy, is holding events at 50 different Wal-Mart locations across the country and delivering “demerit badges” of their own.  The idea behind these badges are to present them to Wal-Mart and publicly represent the distribution of the store’s own demerits that the activists disagree with.

Supporters of this national week of action see Wal-Mart’s policy as a harm to workers, customers and the public.  Since employees have the risk of being terminated for calling in sick, the risk of spreading illnesses increases. 

In turn, employees are feeling forced to retaliate and resign.  Former Wal-Mart employee Beatrice Parker suffered from a bladder infection caused by not being given bathroom breaks on the job.  She felt forced to resign.  Supporting the action that is starting, she publicly asked Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke to put an end to some policies.

“If you don’t have any, or can’t have any concern for the way I was treated in this Wal-Mart, please have some for the people who work there,” Parker said.  “Especially the older people.”

United Food and Commercial Workers labor union spokeswoman Jill Cashen is another supporter of changing Wal-Mart’s “irresponsible sick leave policy.”  Due to Wal-Mart being America’s largest private employer, they set the standard for workplaces in the retail industry. 

“Wal-Mart’s policies and actions create a working environment where employees feel they are faced with a choice between spreading the flu and keeping their job,” Cashen said.  “Wal-Mart deserves public demerits for sick leave policies that put the public at risk and make its employees sicker.” 

Acknowledging the importance of Wal-Mart’s significance to America’s workplace, Cashel believes that they “can and should live up to the highest possible workplace standards.”

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One Response to “Anti-Wal-Mart activists take further action”

  1. Jonathan Ingraham Says:

    This is true about the companies policies about calling in sick. I know a few people who work at the distribution center in Loveland, CO and they are always complaining that they can never call in sick because they will lose a day of pay before they can use sick time if sick longer than two days. Also if they are sick longer than four days, they must get a doctor’s note to allow them to come back to work. Nice to see someone commenting on bad business practices, however, why do so many people still shop there?


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