Check out Progressive Caucus members weighing in on recent allegations of widespread corruption at Walmart in Mexico and calling for a thorough, independent investigation of the company. We support a Walmart Free NYC!
For Immediate Release: April 24, 2012
Contact: Raymond Rodriguez,
WALMART TOLD TO TAKE A HIKE
ELECTED OFFICIALS & ADVOCATES DEMAND WALMART WITHDRAW PLANS FOR NYC MARKET; CALL ON BOARD CHAIR AND CEO TO RESIGN
MOMENTUM AGAINST WALMART MOUNTS AS GROUP CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION INTO RETAILER’S NYC BUSINESS PRACTICES, BOARD MEMBERS, & EXPANSION PLANS
New York, NY- Following reports of the Justice Department’s inquiry into Walmart’s bribery scandal, city officials today joined with members of Walmart Free NYC to demand that mega-retailer Walmart halt its expansion plans into New York City until an independent investigation is performed and adequate steps are taken to ensure the retailer doesn’t engage in any illegal activity.
This weekend’s New York Times story revealed that Walmart de Mexico paid tens of millions of dollars in bribes to curry favor with Mexican officials expedite new store growth. When the issue was brought to the attention of the company’s senior leaders, they covered it up and hit it from the authorities.
“Wal-Mart has once again revealed its true colors. The corporation’s tactics of bribery, scheming and corruption are the latest in a litany of despicable business practices including discrimination, worker mistreatment and predatory pricing. This is precisely the type of business we do not want in our communities and I remain committed to fighting against Wal-Mart’s corporate poison from entering the five boroughs. Wal-Mart’s actions in Mexico should be investigated and they must be held fully accountable for any laws, American or Mexican, that were broken,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
“New York City cannot open its doors to a company that relies on bribery and cover-ups as part of its business model,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. “Walmart has a long history of breaking laws and promises to pad its profits, but these new revelations show just how far Walmart will go for its own bottom line. New Yorkers should be put on notice: there is no tactic too underhanded for Walmart to try in order to open in our City, and anyone who thinks the jury is still out simply hasn’t been paying attention. All of our City’s leaders—especially the Mayor—should know by now that a Wal-Mart in New York would destroy jobs, squeeze out hundreds of small businesses and depress retail wages. None of us should support that.”
“The New York Times’ expose of WalMart’s consistent pattern of bribery demonstrates that they cannot be trusted to play by the rules,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Bronx). “Instead, they do whatever it takes to squeeze out every dollar they can from the communities in which they operate. They keep wages down and bust unions, destroying jobs. They abuse civil rights by paying women less than men and don’t accept food stamps. They’re a multinational corporation that doesn’t pay its fair share of taxes. They are definitely not welcome and have no place in New York City.”
“Any company that tries to bribe elected officials does not deserve to operate in New York City or anywhere else in the country,” said NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Queens). “Walmart has a proven track record of these types of violations and a history of paying poverty wages, offering little to no health insurance and mistreating women. Their obsession with corporate growth and reckless disregard for communities across America is deeply troubling.”
“I cannot in good conscience support a multinational corporation like Walmart that relies on bribery and shady tactics to make a buck, all while crushing our true community partners,” said NYC Council Member Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn). “Corporate greed run amok presents a serious danger to the future of small business in this city. As chair of the Oversight and Investigations Committee, I stand ready to be a part of any probe into Walmart’s political activities in New York, to ensure this does not become another Mexico-type scandal.”
“Walmart is a company built on unfair labor practices. We don’t want to invite companies like Walmart into New York City to undermine the worker friendly policies we have been fighting for over many years,” said NYC Council Member Stephen Levin (D-Brooklyn). “Further complicating Walmart’s attempt to gain a foothold in NYC is that we are a city of small villages and each of our communities has their own grocers, butchers and pharmacies. We are not interested in losing our identity at the hands of Walmart.”
Advocates urged the City Council to investigate Walmart’s New York City business practices.
“More and more New Yorkers are growing skeptical of Walmart’s plans and promises for our city—and for good reason,” said Matt Ryan, Executive Director at ALIGN. “Armed with the latest news about Walmart de Mexico’s illegal practices, the City must investigate Walmart’s recent dealings with public officials and developers in its bid to move to New York City.”
“We now have evidence of what we have been saying all along: that this company will stop at nothing to increase their bottom line. New York will not stand for a company as duplicitous as Walmart coming into our city, said Walmart Free NYC spokeswoman Stephanie Yazgi. “Its actions in Mexico prove that Walmart refuses to play by the rules, and communities pay the price. Its recent behavior means that we must be hyper vigilant about any potential deals or developments involving Walmart and that they and their intermediaries be held to the highest levels of scrutiny possible.”
The group also said Walmart NYC Board members Michele Burns and Christopher Williams- both of whom were on Walmart’s audit committee at the time of the alleged bribery and cover-up- must explain what they knew and when they knew it. It vowed to keep the pressure on until they come clean. Walmart Free NYC also called on the Walmart Board of Directors to appoint an independent, respected expert from outside the company to conduct a thorough and independent investigation of the corruption scandal and cover-up.
Walmart Free NYC also called for the resignation of top executives, Walmart Board Chairman Rob Walton and CEO Mike Duke.
Today’s actions come amidst a global inquiry into the company’s illegal practices.