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Wal-Mart's Treatment of Its Employees

May 02, 2003

I am concerned about negative stories, such as Patt Morrison's April 29 column, that do not accurately reflect the Wal-Mart culture. A small group of women has claimed that the company did not treat them fairly on the basis of their gender. This is absolutely not the Wal-Mart I have known and worked for over the last 12 years. One of the claimants (and only one that I know of) said she was forced by a male superior to visit Hooters and attend a strip club. I am confident that had she made a formal complaint with the company, the offending supervisor would have been terminated. If I became aware of such unethical behavior I would not hesitate to report the offender and proceed with disciplinary action that could, depending on the circumstances, include firing him.

Wal-Mart promotes opportunity for both women and men. With the support of my supervisors, I have been promoted repeatedly, from hourly associate to assistant manager to store manager to district manager. At no time did I feel that men in our stores received preferential treatment. I have helped many other women (as well as men) along the same path. Wal-Mart encourages managers to become mentors and to help those with the talent, desire and energy to succeed. At Wal-Mart, if you work hard and believe in yourself, your dreams can come true -- no matter what your gender.

Cathy Bishop

Wal-Mart District Manager

Inland Empire, Rialto

*

Morrison's column poses the question: "Wal-Mart may value families, but women?" The truth is that Wal-Mart values neither. Wal-Mart executives value customers, not families ... and certainly not women. Newspapers are beginning to shine the light on Wal-Mart, and the yellow happy face is beginning to frown. Lawsuits against the company for discrimination, harassment and forcing employees to work without pay. Fines for illegally manufacturing clothing in Cuba. No wonder Fortune magazine pulled Wal-Mart off its "100 best companies to work for" list.

Rick Icaza

President, United Food

and Commercial Workers

Local 770, Los Angeles

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