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8/12/2005

US teachers ask parents not to shop at Wal-Mart

Source: UNI

Parents should not buy back-to-school-supplies at Wal-Mart. This is the message of America's teachers when the new school year is approaching. The call to parents was launched at thirty press conferences yesterday, held in twenty US States. It is
WakeUpWalMart.com that is behind this campaign, together with the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, and of course UNI Commerce affiliate UFCW.

The two US teachers' unions represent 4 million educators.

Also political and community leaders join in the call to send Wal-Mart back to school, to learn decent habits and social responsibility. US Senator Jon Corzine as well as several US Representatives back up the action, which also includes a call to parents to sign up in a pledge campaign at the WakeUpWalMart.com website.

''We're not asking for much," said US Representative Michael E. Capuano, a Somerville Democrat at a press conference in Boston, Massachusetts. ''We're simply asking that human beings be treated as human beings and that Americans be treated as Americans," he said, according to the
Boston Globe.

The same newspaper reports that HollyAnna DePina, a senior at Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Dorchester, who spoke at the press conference, said she plans to tell friends not to shop at Wal-Mart.

''A company known as a family corporation should not be abusing these families by violating child labor laws and hurting these children," DePina said.

"We all shop for bargains," said Jim Dougherty, president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers and an AFT Executive Council member at a press conference in Chicago, Illinois. But he said it should not be "at the expense of working families," according to the
Chicago Sun-Times.

He encouraged consumers to shop at employers like unionized Jewel-Osco, where he said workers receive decent pay and benefits.

Every day Wal-Mart's so-called 'low prices' comes with too high a cost for our families and our children. Starting today, Americans will have the opportunity to teach Wal-Mart a lesson that corporations have a responsibility to do the right thing," said Paul Blank, WakeUpWalMart.com Campaign Director.

As part of the press conferences, local teachers released the "Wal-Mart Report Card" - a 3-foot-by-5-foot replica of an actual report card that displays Wal-Mart's failing grades and shows how Wal-Mart has repeatedly failed American families and children by offering poverty level wages and poor benefits, by abusing taxpayers, by having discriminated against 2 million women, and by breaking child labor laws.

"Wal-Mart has failed America for too long. This Back-to-School season, all Americans can help send Wal-Mart this message - our children are not a commodity to be exploited. Clearly, our children deserve better than Wal-Mart," added Paul Blank.

At the press conference, speakers also released a letter sent to Lee Scott, CEO, of Wal-Mart. In the letter, Scott was asked to adopt a nation-wide "zero tolerance policy" and promise the American people, and his shareholders, that he would resign if Wal-Mart were found guilty - again - of breaking child labor laws. The letter will be posted on WakeUpWalMart.com.

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