Jim Bill Lynn
Wal-Mart Global Services Operations Manager
In his own words, if you cut Jim Bill Lynn, he would have bled Wal-Mart blue blood. He grew up in the company and was loyal to the corporation and the culture through and through. His job entailed oversight of all factory certifications for Mexico, Central and South America. It was his responsibility to make sure that each Wal-Mart factory provided clean, safe and human working conditions for its employees.
Over the course of his inspections, he saw female workers subjected to mandatory pregnancy testing, padlocked fire doors, a lack of available drinking water, workers that were locked in factory compounds until released by management, and other shocking conditions. He also observed threats by management against employees for revealing these conditions. After his first factory inspection, he went home to his hotel room, phoned his wife and wept.
Jim Bill took comfort in thinking that Wal-Mart, when made aware of the violations, would do the right thing. Under his watch, conditions could and would be improved. Jim Bill recalls, "When I went in and started reporting factory violations, during the certification process, I didnít know that we werenít going to make it the goal to correct the violations."
And so, when Mike Duke, Executive Vice President and President and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Division (USA) questioned him directly about the conditions he had seen, Jim Bill told the truth. "I didnít think that any retaliation would be brought against me for doing my job. Now I realize that I was pretty naÔve. But, it didnít occur to me that Wal-Mart wouldnít do anything except the right thing once they were faced with the truth." Jim Bill was wrong.
See Also: Harold Meyerson's profile of Jim Bill Lynn in the American Prospect.