By Alexandra Tursi | Published: December 5, 2006
So Wal-Mart is attempting to reinvent its public image in the wake of public demonstrations by workers and lagging economic performance. How? Through the creation of employee outreach programs, described in company documents as a way for Wal-Mart to show workers “that we do appreciate you and that we have an ongoing commitment to listening to and addressing your concerns.” But is it enough, is it sincere? “When you look at the list of best employers,” said Richard W. Hurd, Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, “you will find programs that look something like this,” but, he continued, the question “is how sincere the effort is and how much change you see in workers’ lives.” Perks like a ten percent holiday discount and a shirt for long-time workers, are “a very token, modest form of appreciation. It is not sufficient”(NYTimes). You can read more about the “Wake Up Wal-Mart” campaign, a group funded by the United Food and Commercial Workers union, here and more about Wal-Mart and unionization (in the wake of the new Democratic Congress) here.