Wal-Mart's Script for Store Managers
This memo was sent to every store manager, who was instructed to recite the below script -- an attack of this film -- to all the employees at their store. See the Los Angeles Times story.
Attention: All Store Managers
From: Pat Curran - Executive VP
Date: October 31, 2005
As many of you have heard, an independent filmmaker, Robert Greenwald, has produced an anti-Wal-Mart video that is set to be released this week. The video is by Robert Greenwald, and is entitled "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices". The video is a 90-minute attack ad, and we anticipate that it will be full of numerous errors and misstatements that are a deliberate attempt to damage our reputation.
This video will receive a high level of media attention, and we know our associates will have questions about what they see and hear. It is important that our store managers share the message in the attached script with all associates in your regularly scheduled general meetings, beginning immediately and continuing through all shifts and schedules. A Q&A will be posted on the Wire on Tuesday to help answer questions associates may have on the video. After the screening of the video, we will get back to you within a few days to provide you with information on what is in the video.
Thank you for your attention to this important issue.
Today I want to briefly discuss something you may hear about in coming weeks.
Wal-Mart is aware that the unions have supported the production and distribution of an anti-Wal-Mart video entitled "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices". This video is a 90-minute attack ad on Wal-Mart and is viewed by us as propaganda. The video is produced by Robert Greenwald.
Its purpose is to attempt to damage our reputation by presenting an inaccurate view of the company. We believe they want to hurt our company's growth, sales momentum for the fourth quarter holiday season, and ultimately, each and every Associate. Based on errors in the video's trailer we have seen so far, we fully expect this video will be more of the same.
Previews of this video are scheduled to begin in New York tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov 1, and then the video will be distributed by DVD for private showings in houses, university campuses, churches and union halls across the county. [sic]
You may have also received a phone-recorded message from Andrew Stern, the president from the Service Employees International Union, asking if you'd be willing to sponsor a showing of this video in your home. I want to assure you that Wal-Mart did not provide any of these parties with your home phone numbers.
Our critics will be saying hurtful untruths directed at our company, and a natural reaction will be to become defensive and try to lash out at these attacks. In fact, according to previews, some current and former associates may be featured in the video. While Wal-Mart does not approve of the video, it is important to maintain respect for the individual.
You can hold your head high in knowing that Wal-Mart provides unrivaled value to America's working families. We place much value in our associates and serving our communities. We offer 1.3 million hard-working men and women not only jobs, but careers. We offer families the opportunities to save significantly by shopping at Wal-Mart. And, we offer our communities the charitable support they need. We can't let anyone distort the facts about our own business or the good work you do.
Additionally, many of you may have read or heard about a memo that was leaked to the media last week. A draft copy of a report to the Board of Directors was obtained by an anti-Wal-Mart organization who has used it to continue their campaign to damage our reputation. The media picked up on the story and we have seen many different interpretations of what this memo supposedly means.
In reality, it was a fact-gathering document. This was for a discussion to be held with our Board of Directors to discuss with them the benefits issues that impact the lives of our associates. These issues are not unique to Wal-Mart and are being discussed in Boardrooms across America. We realize that as the largest employer in the U.S., we have the responsibility to take a more active role in health care. That is why we are looking at these issues.
Let me reinforce our Company's position with you right now. We would like for all of our associates and customers to have access to health care and enjoy good health. Many health related issues begin in childhood and carry through to adulthood. Reports indicate that these health issues have become a national problem. We need to be concerned with how we are going to help our associates with these health concerns. Does that mean we will only hire healthy associates in the future? No. But, we do have the responsibility to provide our associates with the tools they need to live a healthy lifestyle.
Next, our critics tried to say that we were trying to get rid of long-term associates. To think that we would try to get rid of our long term service associates is ridiculous. We value our long-term service associates. They add a special depth of experience that help develop and mentor new associates, and are critical in reinforcing the culture in our Company.
We will continue to review our Benefits programs and continue offer choices in the plans we offer to our associates. We want to make health care affordable and that is why we have offered a new value plan to our associates this year. We also want to broaden our coverage. For example, we are looking at shortening the amount of time associates have to wait before they get their benefits.
Now, in all fairness, there was one thing that did take us by surprise. We found out that 46% of our associate's children are either uninsured or on Medicaid. Even though that is lower than our competitors, we think it is unacceptable. So, your company will be working hard to come up solutions-like health plans that cost less, especially if you have children.
Our critics will take everything they can and use it against us. Remember, most of the anti-Wal-Mart activities come from union sponsored groups who do not like the fact that our company does not have any unions. They would like nothing better than to convince our associates to join their unions and pay union dues to support them.
We take our reputation very seriously. I can assure you, we are working hard to ensure we respond vigorously and appropriately to this negative campaign week. We urge you that if you feel as strongly as we do about these untruths directed at our company, please ensure that your friends, family and members of the community know the truth about our company.
In closing, we have to remember that every successful company faces obstacles. The good reputation and customer trust you have gained through your hard work and high standards of integrity will prevail-despite this union's financially motivated attacks on our reputation. We should all stay focused on taking care of each other, our communities, and our customers. When we trust what we know is true about our company, our customers' trust will follow. Thank you for all you do-every day.
See Also: The Los Angeles Times covers the script.