Wednesday, December 16, 2009


"Wal-Mart fired my husband for being sick."

I hear good and bad things about Walmart these days, but this one really sucks if true.
So I did an about face and wrote the following to the preceding URL:
If you don't serve humanity then I will shop at a store that's better for my nation and my world. People get sick, you have the power to take care of them. I hear that Target is good for employees and communities, I will do my next shopping there instead. -- Carl Schroeder

----- Original Message -----
From: Katie,
Sent: Wednesday, December 16, 2009 6:07 PM
Subject: Wal-Mart fired my husband for being sick.

"My husband just got fired" -- for demerits resulting from taking needed sick days.

Give Wal-Mart a Demerit of its own today!

Take Action

Dear Carl,

This holiday season, millions of Wal-Mart employees are living in fear of getting demerits, losing pay, or being fired simply because they take sick days [1]. It happened to this family:

"My husband just got fired for missing sick days. He missed 5 1/2 days in 6 months." This MomsRising member reports that these were days when her husband had legitimate doctor's notes or when her husband's manager sent him home because of flu symptoms. He received "demerits" when he took this needed sick time, and "The day after Black Friday… they called him in and fired him for missing too many days in 6 months. He did not take off 'weekends, sunny days, or go fishing'…he was sick. This is just wrong."

Wal-Mart's policy is not just unhealthy and unfair for employees, it also could harm customers and the general public. With about 1.4 million employees in the U.S. [2] -- that's a lot of people who could be coming to work sick, and unwittingly exposing their coworkers and customers to contagious diseases such as the flu--putting us all at risk.

Together, we can take on this mega corporation and help millions of families stay healthy and keep needed jobs. It's Wal-Mart the company, not it's employees, that really deserves the demerits - for their unhealthy and unfair policy that's bad for employees and customers.

Give Wal-Mart a Demerit Badge of its own today by clicking here:

With your demerit badge, you'll be telling Wal-Mart to stop punishing employees for taking sick days.

Now's the time to take action!
This week is the last full week of holiday shopping before Christmas. That means now, more than ever, Wal-Mart wants nothing but good press to drive shoppers to their stores. By sending your demerit badge today, and sharing this message with your friends by forwarding this email now, we can make sure Wal-Mart gets the message at a time when they can't ignore it.

Help us reach our goal! We're so close that your action now can take us over the top. Our goal is to send 40,000 Demerit Badges to Wal-Mart. We're up to 35,000. Help millions of families and safeguard the public's health by sending your Demerit Badge today. Together we can gather enough Demerit Badges to earn media coverage to shame Wal-Mart into changing its policies.

Why is Wal-Mart's sick days policy important for all of us?
* Wal-Mart's sick days policy is bad for women and families. Women comprise 72 percent of Wal-Mart's workforce [3]. As Gloria Steinem said earlier this year: "The fact is that women need [access to paid sick days] more than anyone else. Women still have so much more family responsibility than men…" [4] The increased responsibilities for caregiving that women carry mean that women are more likely to be at risk for punishment and termination under bad policies.

* Wal-Mart's sick days policy has public health implications for us all. Wal-Mart employs about 1.4 million people in the U.S. [5] - that's a lot of people who come to work sick, and expose their coworkers and customers to potential illness.

* When Wal-Mart changes its policies, other companies take notice. Wal-Mart is one of the largest private employers in the country [6]. Therefore Wal-Mart frequently sets the standard (or at least the floor) for many of the policies that other companies put in place. We've heard from dozens of MomsRising members who say that the company they work for has sick days policies which are similar to the policies at Wal-Mart. By focusing our efforts on Wal-Mart now, we can set an example for other companies and propel them to change their practices as well.

What does Wal-Mart have to say for itself?
MomsRising and the New York Times exposed Wal-Mart's sick leave policies in early November of this year [6]. Soon after, the company commented with ABC News reporting that Wal-Mart will be issuing a memo to "to human resource managers at stores across the country saying, 'We must be clear that no one will lose their job if they get H1N1.'" [7] This answer is full of more spin than a spider convention.

It sounds like Wal-Mart answered, but if you think about it, this answer doesn't address the problem at all. First of all, in most cases when people have flu symptoms, doctors aren't doing lab tests to check for the H1N1 virus, so there's no way for Wal-Mart to know if an employee has H1N1, the seasonal flu, or any other illness. Second, Wal-Mart didn't address whether sick employees would continue to receive demerits, as is their usual practice. And third, our colleagues at the National Labor Committee have spoken to workers at several Wal-Mart stores who all say they haven't been told of any changes to Wal-Mart's sick days policy. [8]

In the past two weeks, MomsRising has asked Wal-Mart to clarify their sick days policy, but so far we've received no response.

Give Wal-Mart a demerit badge today - in the height of the shopping season - and tell them to stop punishing employees for taking sick days.

Nobody wants to shop at Wal-Mart and end up bringing home more than just a bag of presents. And nobody wants to live in fear of losing their job simply because they caught the flu.

Thank you,
--Katie, Mary, Kristin, Joan, Julia, Anita, and the Team

P.S. MomsRising and our partners insist that no retaliation be taken by Wal-Mart management against any worker who speaks the truth about Wal-Mart's punitive sick leave policies. We will be watching this very closely.

1. The New York Times:
5. (Employment and Diversity Fact Sheet)
6. The New York Times:
7. ABC News: and
Also see:
- ABC News:
- Washington Post:

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