The first Wal-Mart store opened in Rogers, Arkansas, in 1962.38 At first, Wal-Marts founder, Sam Walton, expanded by opening Wal-Mart stores throughout rural Arkansas in towns with fewer than 25,000 people, believing that small, rural towns were an overlooked and fertile ground for discounters.39 Walton did not open a store outside of Arkansas until six years after founding the company.40 A year later, Wal-Mart incorporated as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., and a year after that, the company established its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, where it remains today.41 By 1979, only seventeen years after opening, Wal-Mart operated 276 stores in eleven states and reached $1 billion in salesthe first company to reach this total in such a short time period.42
Wal-Mart has been the largest retailer in the United States since 1990 and is currently also the countrys largest seller of groceries.43 Roughly 127 million shoppers reportedly visit Wal-Mart every week in the United States,and in a letter to Human Rights Watch, Wal-Mart noted that every year more than 84 percent of Americans shop at our stores, according to a recent Pew Research Center poll.44
Since 1997, Wal-Mart has also been the largest private sector employer in the United States and since 1999, the largest private sector employer in the world.45 Wal-Mart currently employs approximately 1.8 million workers, called associates, worldwide, 1.3 million of whom work in the United States.46 Approximately 176 million customers reportedly shop at Wal-Mart around the world every week.47
Wal-Marts total revenues of $315.65 billion for the fiscal year ending January 31, 2006, would rank it as the twenty-first wealthiest country in the world, according to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), just below Sweden and just above Saudi Arabia.48 Wal-Mart total sales are also over three times that of the worlds second largest retailer, Carrefour, and almost four times that of the second largest retailer in the United States, Home Depot.49 Wal-Marts net annual income is over five times that of Carrefour and roughly twice that of Home Depot, and Wal-Mart employs over twice as many workers worldwide as Carrefour and Home Depot combined.50
Wal-Mart opens an average of roughly 250 new stores a year worldwide.51 From 2002 through 2005, the company topped the Fortune 500 listing of corporations ranked by revenues; it fell to second in 2006 behind Exxon Mobil and was back on top in 2007.52 Wal-Marts annual global sales are expected to double by 2010, reaching $500 billion.53
Wal-Mart asserts that its primary goal is to grow by improving the standard of living for . . . customers throughout the world by providing cheaper household goods. It refers to this approach as Every Day Low Prices (EDLP). The company states, EDLP is our pricing philosophy under which we price items at a low price every day so that our customers trust that our prices will not change erratically under frequent promotional activity.54
To achieve EDLP, Wal-Mart has made efficiency a primary tenet of its business philosophy. The company has developed a technologically advanced system for manufacturing, inventory, and distribution.55 For example, all products at Wal-Mart are computerized on an international network via barcode that allows the company to track product sales. When an item is sold at a store in the United States, a supplier across the world is automatically notified through the network of the need for an additional unit.56 Wal-Mart also recently began requiring suppliers to provide microchips for radio frequency identification (RFID). An RFID tag contains a unique string of numbers identifying the item to which it is attached that is far more detailed than a bar code.57 The opening remarks at a 2004 University of California (UC) Santa Barbara conference on Wal-Mart explained, Wal-Mart is noted for its low-price, low-wage, globally-sourced business model, a strategy that has achieved precision control of manufacturing, inventory, and distribution by taking full advantage of the worlds new telecommunications infrastructure.58
Wal-Mart operates four types of retail stores, all based on EDLP: the Wal-Mart conventional discount store, the companys flagship facility; the Wal-Mart Supercenter, the companys largest store; the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market, the companys smallest store; and Sams Club, Wal-Marts wholesale club. Unless otherwise specified, this report uses Wal-Mart to refer collectively to these four operations.
Wal-Marts discount stores offer thirty-six departments, including apparel, electronics, toys, jewelry, and other household items.59 There are currently 1,075 conventional discount stores in the United States and 1,431 abroad, employing, on average, 225 workers.60 First opened in 1988 in Missouri, the larger Supercenters feature all of the departments of the discount stores plus grocery departments and, in most cases, specialty shops, such as vision centers, the Tire and Lube Express (TLE), and one-hour photo centers, among others.61 Supercenters average 185,000 square feet and typically employ 350 or more workers per store.62 Wal-Mart operates 2,256 Supercenters in the United States and 416 internationally.63 The Neighborhood Markets, first opened in 1998 in Arkansas, are generally located in areas that already have Supercenters, but these smaller stores specialize in groceries, pharmaceuticals, and other general merchandise.64 Neighborhood Markets average only 41,000 square feet and ninety-five employees each.65 There are 113 Neighborhood Markets in the United States and 335 abroad.66 Wal-Marts wholesale club, Sams Club, first opened in Oklahoma in 1983 and is currently the second largest wholesale club in the United States, behind Costco.67 Access to Sams Club is based on an annual membership fee, and although Sams Club accepts individual members, its main focus is on providing wholesale goods to specific business segments.68 Sams Clubs employ an average of between 160 and 175 workers per store.69 Through its 569 stores in the United States and 103 abroad, Sams Club has roughly $39.8 billion in annual sales, accounting for 12.7 percent of Wal-Marts total sales.70
Wal-Mart operates approximately 2,770 stores in thirteen markets outside the United States, including Puerto Rico, employs over 500,000 workers abroad, is the largest retailer in both Canada and Mexico, and is the largest private employer in Mexico.71 The company opened its first discount store abroad in Mexico in 1991, followed by Puerto Rico in 1992, Canada in 1994, Hong Kong in 1994, Argentina and Brazil in 1995, China in 1996, Germany and South Korea in 1998, the United Kingdom in 1999, Japan in 2002, and Central America in 2005.72 Over three quarters of Wal-Marts international operations are concentrated in five countries: Mexico, Japan, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and Canada. There are roughly 896 Wal-Mart stores in Mexico, 392 in Japan, 336 in the United Kingdom, 299 in Brazil, and 298 in Canada.73
Despite the companys intense opposition to union formation, Wal-Mart has recognized unions at some of its international operations, including in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, England, Japan, and most recently in China, where a company spokeswoman told reporters that their new openness to Chinese unions, "does not signal a change in our strategy in the U.S. . . . China's labor laws and its only union are much different than what you find in the U.S.74 In most cases, Wal-Mart has inherited the foreign unions from the companies whose operations it purchased. In others, most notably in Canada where workers at only a few stores have successfully organized, Wal-Mart has vigorously attempted to thwart union formation efforts but at times has failed.
Interviews with Wal-Mart workers and managers, legal filings, and other relevant documents make clear that concerns over working conditions at Wal-Mart are wide ranging. They include not only the systemic hostility to worker organizing detailed in this report, but also wage and hour violations, illegal sex and disability discrimination, claims of inadequate healthcare coverage and wages, and the perceived elimination of long-term workers.
Wage and Hour Violations: Class Action Lawsuits
As of early 2006, Wal-Mart faced fifty-seven class action lawsuits in forty-one states alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, state laws governing wages and hours of employment, and the wage and hour provisions in Wal-Marts employee handbook.77 All but three of the cases were filed between 2000 and 2006, and in most, courts have not yet addressed the merits because class certification is still pending.78
The class action lawsuits accuse the company of unlawfully forcing hourly employees to work without pay, known as working off the clock, failing to pay employees legally required overtime rates, and denying or shortening meal and rest breaks promised in their employee handbooks and, in some cases, required by state law.79 Specifically, the cases claim that before the company established a corporate compliance team in 2004 to improve compliance with US wage and hour laws, in the wake of the proliferation of lawsuits:
Current and former workers echoed the allegations, describing to Human Rights Watch working conditions at the company before the 2004 policy changes.
Workers recounted missing their lunch and break periods for which they received no compensation or credit. Pat Quinn, an Aiken, South Carolina, worker speaking on condition of anonymity, explained:
John Weston, an hourly manager at the Kingman, Arizona, Wal-Mart Tire and Lube Express, told Human Rights Watch, I had fifty to fifty-one days when I worked without a lunch break. If I walk away and leave a customer, Id be fired. Ive called and said I need lunch, but they say we dont have enough peopleno lunch.83 Norine Sorensen, a worker at the South Rainbow Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada, Wal-Mart from 1999 through 2001, concluded, There were times when I didnt get breaks. . . . Its standard Wal-Mart procedure.84
Workers also described working off the clock prior to the 2004 policy changes to finish their assigned duties, including moving freight off the store floor and cleaning their assigned areas before locking the store for the night. Liz Boyd, a department manager at the Aiken, South Carolina, Wal-Mart, explained, Youd be given something to do that was impossible to finish on time. A lot of people would clock out and then finish. . . . They dont ask you to work off the clock, but they give you these impossible tasks to finish.85 A former assistant store manager at Wal-Marts Kingman, Arizona, store between 1999 and early 2002 further noted that at his store, workers were never asked to work off the clock, but if the store manager says you need to get x amount done and you cant get it done, what choice do you have? . . . If you dont do it, youre in trouble.86
Workers claim that the overtime ban was so strictly enforced that managers would modify workers time sheets to avoid going over forty hours a week. For example, Julie Rebai, a former department manager at Wal-Marts Kingman, Arizona, store, explained to Human Rights Watch that managers would take thirty minutes off my sheet [even] when I hadnt taken lunch.87 In a lawsuit involving an Iowa Wal-Mart facility, one worker claimed that there were no time clocks available when her store first opened in 2001 and that she was instructed to sign in at 8:00 a.m. and out at 5:00 p.m., regardless of her actual arrival and departure times. When she informed a manager that her time sheet needed to be adjusted to reflect her true work hours, she was reportedly told that she should be a team player and that it wont hurt you to give a little.88 She claimed she was never paid for the additional work.89
Lawsuits charge that workers who recorded paid overtime to finish their work were often disciplined and, in some cases, even fired.90 According to current and former workers, the ban on overtime and the consequences for violating it exacerbated the pressure to work off the clock to finish their jobs. Rebai explained that working off the clock was just a normal thing because if you dont get this done by such and such a time, youll get written up, but you cant have overtime. Just get it done.91 Vicki Wood, Rebais co-worker, likewise told Human Rights Watch, You either work it [a break] or take it, but you had to have freight off the floor. . . . You had to be out on time, but no one would come help you get out on time. . . . [Theyd] expect us to get through impossible things.92
According to the legal claims against the company and current and former Wal-Mart workers who spoke to Human Rights Watch, pre-2004 corporate policies fostered wage and hour violations. Such policies included deliberate and systematic understaffing of stores; pressure on store managers to keep labor costs below the annual labor budget proposed for their stores by headquarters; expectations that store managers increase sales each year while reducing labor costs from the year before; and the general ban on overtime. In addition, store managers reportedly had financial incentives to keep store expenses low. Managers were reportedly not disciplined for permitting or even encouraging workers to miss or shorten breaks and work off the clock. Instead, Wal-Mart allegedly based performance incentives, such as bonuses and raises, on individual store profit; whether the profit targets were met in part due to wage and hour violations that helped keep payroll costs low did not appear to be a relevant factor.
Carol Anderson, who worked at Wal-Marts Kingman, Arizona, store from November 2000 through January 2003, told Human Rights Watch, As customer service managers, we were instructed to ask cashiers to . . . skip breaks because there were not enough cashiers to keep lines down. . . . Higher managers would suggest having associates skip breaks. . . . We were so busy and understaffed.93 Angie Griego, a Las Vegas, Nevada, Wal-Mart worker between 1999 and early 2001, explained, There were times when they didnt give us breaks or meals. You had to get approval from the department manager, and if there was too much work, you just didnt get it. That happened often, especially since [I was a] cashier at the pharmacy. There was no one to cover for me, no break, lunch. I was it.94
In the three class action lawsuits against Wal-Mart alleging wage and hour law violations that have gone to jury trials since 2000, juries have ruled against the company. In December 2002, a jury issued a unanimous verdict finding that Wal-Mart engaged in a pattern or practice of suffering or permitting its employees to work off-the-clock without compensation in eighteen Wal-Mart stores in Oregon . . . [and] acted willfully with respect to the pattern and practice.95 The court denied Wal-Marts post-trial motion challenging the verdict, and eighty-three workers were awarded roughly $210,700 in total damages, $1,718,000 in attorney fees, and $208,300 in costs.96 In December 2005, a California jury awarded a class of nearly 116,000 hourly workers $172.2 million in damages in a case alleging that Wal-Mart engaged in a systematic scheme of wage abuse against their hourly paid employees in California by failing to provide meal and rest breaks in violation of California law.97 Wal-Mart has stated that it intends to challenge the verdict in post-trial motions and, if necessary, on appeal.98 In October 2006, a Pennsylvania jury also found in a case involving almost 187,000 current and former Pennsylvania Wal-Mart workers that the company failed to pay employees for off-the-clock work and for promised paid rest breaks. The second phase of the trial to determine a damage award is pending. The company has stated that it disagrees with the findings and plans to appeal.99
In addition, in July 2000, Wal-Marts Inventory Audit group visited Wal-Mart stores to determine if the stores were adhering to company policies and government regulations with the scheduling and staffing of associates.100 In 127 stores reviewed over a one-week period, the Inventory Audit group found 76,472 examples in which the facilities were not in compliance with company and state regulations concerning the allotment of breaks and meals.101
Wal-Mart denies that it committed wage and hour law violations or ran afoul of state regulations. The company calls charges that it routinely forced its employees to work off the clock nonsensical and characterizes as absurd and illogical claims that the companys desire to control payroll and overtime costs led to understaffing and off-the-clock work.102
Wal-Mart points to its company policy, in effect currently and during the periods covered by the lawsuits, prohibiting off-the-clock work, requiring workers to take unpaid meal and paid rest breaks, and mandating payment for all time worked and overtime. Wal-Mart notes that its employee handbook explains that working off the clock is against Wal-Mart policy and that workers should immediately notify their supervisors if they do so in order that pay records can be adjusted.103 Therefore, according to Wal-Mart, any possible wage and hour violations found are the result of workers, without their managers knowledge, voluntarily working off the clock or skipping or shortening breaks; specific managers deviating from company policy and acting without authorization; or isolated incidents that arose out of unusual circumstances.104
Wal-Mart also has downplayed the significance of the findings of its Inventory Audit group, insisting that the companys policy is to comply with the law and that the audit could simply reflect employees forgetting to clock in and out for meals and breaks or choosing to miss their breaks in order to leave early, rather than violations. Mona Williams, vice president for communications, reportedly stated, Our view is that the audit really means nothing when you understand Wal-Mart's timekeeping system.105 She added that company auditors more senior than the reports author criticized the studys methodology, and she concluded, The audit is so flawed and invalid that we did not respond to it in any way internally.106
Although Wal-Mart has denied the allegations of wage and hour violations, the company announced at its 2004 annual meeting that it had established a Corporate Compliance team to oversee Wal-Marts compliance in a number of areas, including the companys obligations to associates in terms of pay, working hours and time for breaks.107 Wal-Mart explained that it was piloting changes to company systems to facilitate corporate compliance, including an alert that notifies cashiers of break and meal times and automatic cash register shut down if the cashiers fail to respond; and notification of workers whenever managers adjust their time records, allowing them to verify that the changes are correct.108
Several workers explained to Human Rights Watch that they also perceived changes in company policy regarding off-the-clock work and shortened or skipped breaks in the wake of the lawsuits and, in particular, after the 2004 annual meeting.109 Aiken, South Carolina, Wal-Mart worker Kathleen MacDonald elaborated, In the old days, sometimes cashiers didnt get breaks or lunchup until the lawsuit[s]. . . . Now were required to take them. If we dont take lunch, we get called into the office and asked why. She added, Now, we get written up if we dont take lunch.110 Liz Boyd, a department manager and MacDonalds co-worker, concurred, noting, When the lines were backed up at the cash registers, such as at Christmas, cashiers sometimes did not get breaks or lunch, but they have gotten better with that now.111 Stan Turner (a pseudonym), a New Castle, Pennsylvania, Wal-Mart worker speaking on condition of anonymity, added, They make a big thing about working off the clock. Theyll fire people for working off the clock, and if you do, youre supposed to fill out time adjustments to get compensated.112 Spring Mountain Road, Las Vegas, Nevada, Sams Club worker Marsha Wardingly explained:
Nevertheless, despite the changes, three Greeley, Colorado, Wal-Mart workersJared West, Angela Steinbrecher, and Christine Stroupexplained to Human Rights Watch that at their store, the excessive workload and understaffing remain such serious problems that they are still unable both to take breaks and complete their work. Steinbrecher told Human Rights Watch, They dont ask you to skip, . . . [but] I usually dont take afternoon breaks. Afternoons we get really busy, and its hard to take breaks. . . . A lot of times were real short-handed. We dont have people to cover.114 Stroup added, My breaks, I usually dont take because Im the only one back there. Its a losing battle because Ill take it but then get paged back.115
On June 19, 2001, six current and former female Wal-Mart workers filed a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of all female workers employed by Wal-Mart since December 26, 1998over 1.5 million women.117 The suit charges that Wal-Mart discriminated against its female employees in promotions, pay, job assignments, and training and by retaliating against those who oppose its unlawful practices.118 Specifically, according to Richard Drogin, an expert statistician hired by plaintiffs to assess Wal-Mart payroll and personnel data, women at Wal-Mart worked disproportionately in the lower paying hourly jobs; earned less money than men holding the same jobs; received fewer promotions to management; and when promoted, were advanced later and more slowly than their male counterparts.119 Addressing Drogins findings, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found that a federal district court reasonably concluded that Dr. Drogins analysis was probative and based on well-established scientific principles and that Wal-Mart provided little or no proper legal or factual challenges to it.120
The lawsuit further alleges that conditions for women at Wal-Mart were the result of an on-going and continuous pattern and practice of intentional sex discrimination . . . and reliance on policies and practices that have an adverse impact on female employees.121 Among the allegedly discriminatory policies and practices, plaintiffs list: failure to consistently post job and promotion announcements so that all employees have equal opportunity to apply; favoring pre-selected or groomed men for promotions or favorable assignments, while discouraging women from seeking them, including by disproportionately requiring female management candidates to be willing to relocate; and inconsistent application of objective criteria and use of subjective criteria, including gender stereotypes, in decisions regarding job assignments, training, pay, and other matters.122
Plaintiffs also claim that Wal-Mart managers referred to female employees as little Janie Qs and required female managers to attend office outings at Hooters sports bars, where scantily clad female wait staff serve customers, and even at strip clubs.123 Sworn declarations from roughly 110 current and former Wal-Mart female employees also recount discriminatory remarks from managers, including statements from a Utah store manager that retail is tough and may not be appropriate for women, from a store manager in Texas that women have to be bitches to survive in Wal-Mart management, from a California Sams Club general manager that a female receiving dock worker should doll-up and blow the cobwebs off her make-up, from a male South Carolina department manager that women will never make as much money as men because God made Adam first, so women would always be second to men, and from a Florida store manager that men are paid more because men are here to make a career and women arent. Retail is for housewives who just need to earn extra money.124
On June 16, 2004, a US federal district court granted class certification to the six individual plaintiffs, authorizing them to represent the over 1.5 million current and former female Wal-Mart employees.125 Wal-Mart appealed the certification to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.126 On February 6, 2007, the court of appeals upheld class certification.127 As a result, Wal-Mart is now facing the largest employment sex discrimination lawsuit in US history.128 Wal-Mart has said it plans to appeal.129
Because the question of class certification was just recently resolved, no court has ruled on the merits of plaintiffs allegations of sex discrimination in this case. In upholding class certification, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit emphasized that the findings relate only to class action procedural questions. Nonetheless, the court of appeals also observed:
Mona Williams, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman, has reportedly asserted that the lawsuit represents only isolated complaints against the company:
Wal-Mart has also rejected workers allegations that its female employees were discriminated against in pay and promotion and that its managers made discriminatory remarks, and the company has challenged and criticized the findings of plaintiffs experts studies through hired experts of its own.132
Although Wal-Mart has denied the allegations in this case, the company has reportedly taken a number of steps to address sex discrimination-related issues since the case was filed. For example, in November 2003, Wal-Mart established the office of diversity to make sure that the percentage of qualified minorities and women we promote is equal to the percentage who apply.133 At its annual meeting in June 2004, Wal-Mart announced that the company had modified the compensation program for officer-level management so that, according to CEO H. Lee Scott, [i]f we do not meet our individual diversity goals for the year, our incentive compensation will be reduced as much as 7.5 percent. Beginning next fiscal year, that penalty will increase to 15 percent.134 In June 2004, Wal-Mart also reportedly began implementing a new job classification and pay structure for hourly associates to ensure internal equity and external competitiveness.135 In addition, at the June 2004 meeting, Wal-Mart announced that later that year, the company would implement a new career preference system under which employees could indicate their interest in specific positions in management or in other locations and be automatically notified when those positions became available.136 Wal-Mart also claims that it has eliminated any relocation requirement for management positions.137
Disability Discrimination: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Cases138
By the end of June 2001, the EEOC had filed sixteen suits against Wal-Mart for violating Title I of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the most against any company since the law went into effect in July 1992.139 By September 2005, that number had risen to nineteen.140 The EEOC cases against Wal-Mart have charged the company with discriminating against qualified disabled workers and job applicants with cerebral palsy, diabetes, hearing loss and deafness, partial paralysis, renal failure, and other disabilities by, among other allegations, firing them for disability-related reasons, failing to ensure that reasonable accommodations were made for their disabilities, refusing to hire them also for disability-related reasons, and unlawfully requesting disability-related information through a pre-employment questionnaire entitled Matrix of Essential Job Functions.141
Three of the EEOC cases against Wal-Mart under the ADA ended with verdicts against the company, all of which were upheld on appeal; one case was dismissed; fourteen were resolved through court-sanctioned consent decrees, one decree covering one case and another covering the remaining thirteen; and one case is still pending. Through the two consent decrees, reached in January 2000 and December 2001, Wal-Mart has repeatedly pledged to adopt various measures to prevent disability discrimination at its stores and to compensate those individuals negatively affected by its past practices.
The January 2000 consent decree settled a case filed in June 1998 that charged the company with violating the ADA by failing to hire two qualified deaf applicants at an Arizona Wal-Mart store.142 Under the decree, Wal-Mart agreed to hire the applicants and pay them monetary compensation, including back wages and damages, and provide reasonable accommodations for their deafness.143 Wal-Mart also committed to take additional steps to prevent future discrimination against deaf applicants and workers, including by creating alternative formats for its nationwide employee orientation and training programs to accommodate deaf employees and by training managers in select Arizona stores on the ADA, with a focus on deaf workers, and requiring them to meet with job placement agencies for the deaf and hearing impaired to discuss hiring and openings.144
In June 2001, however, a federal district court in Arizona held Wal-Mart in contempt and sanctioned the company for violating the decree. In addition to requiring compliance with the original decree, the court ordered Wal-Mart to produce and air television advertisements stating that the company had violated the ADA and referring people who believed they were victims of disability discrimination to the EEOC or the Arizona Center for Disability Law (ACDL).145
When filing the contempt motion, C. Emanuel Smith, the acting regional attorney for the EEOC in Phoenix at the time, noted:
Then EEOC chairwoman Ida Castro said about the court decision and the companys conduct, It is extremely troubling that one of the nation's largest employers continues to show a reckless disregard for the statutory rights of individuals with disabilities. . . . These far-reaching court sanctions should put Wal-Mart on notice to invest its vast resources in rooting out discrimination at their stores rather than stringing along plaintiffs with agreements they do not intend to fulfill.147
In September 2001, a federal district court in Arizona approved an amended consent decree in the case.148 The decree included additional commitments, such as requiring Wal-Mart to pay $427,500 to ACDL, hire at least five other qualified deaf applicants at its Arizona stores, and amend its employment practices and policies to prevent future discrimination.149
A second consent decree reached in December 2001 resolved the thirteen EEOC cases filed against Wal-Mart across the country between November 1998 and September 2001 for allegedly violating the ADA. The decree required that $6.8 million be paid in damages to disabled workers and job applicants whose rights Wal-Mart allegedly violated and divided the money into two funds: a roughly $3.8 million fund for alleged victims of discrimination identified in the settled cases and a roughly $3 million fund for yet-to-be-identified individuals harmed by Wal-Marts alleged ADA violations.150 In addition, the decree committed Wal-Mart, among other measures, to stop any disability discrimination, refrain from retaliating against individuals exercising their ADA rights, pay damages to those adversely affected by disability-related pre-employment questions, eliminate the Matrix of Essential Job Functions questionnaire, institute new disability policies, create an ADA coordinator position, provide ADA management training, include ADA compliance in management performance evaluations and among the issues covered in company audits, and make annual reports to the EEOC on ADA and consent decree compliance.151 Many of the thirteen cases also included case-specific consent decree provisions, including individual damage awards and pledges to hire, re-hire, or reasonably accommodate workers and applicants identified in the cases.152 The EEOCs chief negotiator of the consent decree praised Wal-Mart, stating Wal-Mart's willingness to enter into this global settlement, which includes significant nationwide training on the ADA and job offers, clearly demonstrates Wal-Mart's commitment to the ADA.153
In January 2004, however, the EEOC filed another case against Wal-Mart under the ADA alleging that the company again unlawfully failed to hire an applicant at one of its Missouri stores because of his cerebral palsy.154 That case is still pending in federal court. In addition, federal juries in two different states ruled against Wal-Mart in ADA cases filed after the consent decrees were reached. In February 2005, a jury in a federal district court in New York issued a $7.5 million verdict against Wal-Mart for discriminating against Patrick Brady, another worker with cerebral palsy, both during his job application process in July 2002 and after he was hired in August 2002. The jury found that Wal-Mart discriminated by transferring Brady from a pharmacy department position to one pushing carts, creating a hostile work environment, and including a prohibited inquiry in its job description form.155 The judge subsequently reduced the judgment to $2.8 million to conform with the statutory cap on ADA damage awards.156 Wal-Mart moved to have the award overturned, but the judge denied the motion and instead reduced the award to $1.54 million.157 Similarly, in March 2005, a federal district court judge in Delaware denied Wal-Marts motion to overrule a jurys finding that the company had created a hostile work environment for a worker by harassing her because of her deafness. The court upheld the jurys award of $12,000 for emotional distress.158
Wal-Mart claimed in a letter to Human Rights Watch that one of the reasons that people want to work at Wal-Mart is because the company offers affordable health benefits.160 Current and former Wal-Mart workers, however, repeatedly told Human Rights Watch that they were not insured through the company because they could not afford coverage.161 Joshua Streckeisen, a former worker at the New Castle, Pennsylvania, Wal-Mart who was uninsured when he worked at the company, told Human Rights Watch, I couldnt afford it with the money I was making. I couldnt have paid the bills.162 Similarly, Alicia Sylvia, a full-time worker at the Loveland, Colorado, Wal-Mart, told Human Rights Watch, I dont have their health insurance because I cant afford it. . . . My kids are on CHP+ Colorado. . . . Its like Medicaid, but for children only.163 Bridgid Carpenter, a Greeley, Colorado, Wal-Mart worker speaking to Human Rights Watch on condition of anonymity, also told Human Rights Watch that she was covered by her mothers health insurance and her infant son was on Medicaid.164 A former Las Vegas, Nevada, Wal-Mart worker, Valerie González, likewise explained,I was not on their health insurance plan. It was too expensive. . . . We cant with five kids. We just didnt have insurance. The kids didnt have insurance.165
As of the fall of 2006, only roughly 62 percent of Wal-Mart workers who were eligible to enroll in Wal-Marts Associates Medical Plan (AMP) chose to do so.166 Two of those who enrolled told Human Rights Watch that one of the key reasons they stayed with Wal-Mart was because I need the insurance.167 This take-up rate, however, was well below the national retail industry average of 75 percent that year and the national average of 80 percent for employers with over 5,000 workers.168
According to US federal tax filings, Wal-Marts spending on worker benefits plans generally falls short of that of other US retailers . US tax law does not require employers to report specific spending on individual benefits plans, such as healthcare, but mandates disclosure of overall employer spending on worker benefits. Using these tax forms, Human Rights Watch compared Wal-Marts total benefits plan contributions to those of some of the companys key US competitors and other US retailers with 5,000 or more workers,169 finding that the company ranked above only Kmart, which declared bankruptcy in January 2002.170 The specific results are detailed in the chart below.
Employer Contributions to Benefits Programs
In 2002, US retailers spent an average of $4,834 per covered employee on health benefits alone.177 In 2005, Wal-Mart spent, an estimated average of, at most, $3,620 per covered employee on all worker benefits plans combined, including health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, long-term disability benefits, temporary disability benefits, and death benefits.178 No precise spending figure is available, however, because Wal-Mart has not publicly disclosed the total number of workers enrolled in its benefits plans. In our calculations, we divided Wal-Marts total benefits spending only by the number of workers enrolled in the AMP, though this number is likely far lower than the total covered by at least one benefits plan. Moreover, while Wal-Mart paid roughly 64 percent of the premiums for its employees health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, long-term disability benefits, temporary disability benefits, and death benefits in 2005, retail firms nationwide in 2005 reportedly averaged 77 percent of the healthcare premiums for single coverage and 70 percent for family coverage and, in 2006, 80 percent for single coverage and 68 percent for family coverage.179
Wal-Mart wrote to Human Rights Watch that [u]nlike other retail employees, every Wal-Mart Associate, both full and part-time, can become eligible for health coverage.180 Sixty-three percent of all US companies with 5,000 or more workers also offer health benefits to their part-time employees.181
Full-time hourly Wal-Mart workers are eligible for coverage only after 180 days of employment, while part-time hourly employees must wait one year before becoming eligible, down from the waiting period of roughly two years that was in effect until May 2006.182 These waiting periods far exceed the 2006 retail industry average of 2.7 months for all eligible workers and the average of two months for firms nationwide employing over two hundred workers.183
A late 2005 internal company memo suggested that the company might wish to increase the percentage of part-time workers, likely lowering the companys healthcare costs even more. The memo explained that current initiatives to improve labor productivity, including increasing the percentage of part-time Associates in stores,were a major cost-savings opportunity with relatively little impact on existing Associates but that [t]he most significant challenge here is that the shift to more part-time Associates will lower Wal-Marts healthcare enrollment . . . , which could have an impact on public reputation.184 Largely due to the long waiting period for part-time workers and the companys annual turnover rate of approximately 44 percent, roughly consistent with the US retail industry average, many part-time workers leave before even qualifying for Wal-Marts healthcare coverage.185 Store managers and investment analysts told reporters in October 2006 that Wal-Mart executives want to increase the percentage of part-time workers to 40 percent, up from the current rate of 25 percent.186 Wal-Mart has reportedly denied the goal.187
Wal-Mart's healthcare plans focus on protecting employees and their families from catastrophic loss,188 rather than on preventive coverage. For example, certain frequently incurred expenses are excluded from coverage, including adult wellness exams and immunizations. Immunizations for children are only fully covered until children turn six, and there is a $1,000 total lifetime cap on coverage for childrens immunizations and their routine checkups.189 In contrast, the AMP will generally cover unforeseen traumas or major surgeries, such as transplants, though in most cases the insurance will not pay more than $25,000 in covered expenses during a workers first year of coverage.190 Angela Steinbrecher, a worker at Wal-Mart's Greeley, Colorado, store, described to Human Rights Watch how this first-year coverage cap affected a co-worker, whose medical expenses during her first year with Wal-Mart reportedly exceeded $25,000 due to chronic kidney stones. Steinbrecher explained that the co-worker told her that Wal-Mart was deducting from her wages to pay the outstanding medical bills.191
Larry Allen, a former Las Vegas, Nevada, Wal-Mart worker, described the coverage as, catastrophic insurance. . . . General maintenance for the body wasnt covered.192 A Sams Club worker also from Las Vegas added, Wal-Mart says insurance [is] for major, life threatening [situations], . . . not for prevention or wellness, . . . for major catastrophes.193 Jared West, a Greeley, Colorado, Wal-Mart worker, recounted to Human Rights Watch the explanation of Wal-Mart's health insurance that a company representative reportedly gave during a July 2005 meeting with workers at the store:
Wal-Mart recently redoubled its focus on catastrophic coverage. For most workers, this proves more costly than an emphasis on preventive care and minor illnesses because few ever suffer expensive, life-altering health catastrophes. In September 2006, the company announced that workers hired after January 1, 2007, will only be eligible for the companys high-deductible, low-premium plans: the Value/Value Performance Plan and the Freedom/Freedom Performance Plan.195 They will be ineligible for the other two main healthcare plan options, which offer lower deductibles and higher premiums: the Standard Plan and the Network Saver/Network Saver Performance Plan.196
In a letter to Human Rights Watch, Wal-Mart noted that health coverage is available for just $23 per month anywhere in the country, and only $11 per month in some areas.197 But this only considers workers monthly premiums. It fails to recognize that Wal-Mart workers enrolled in one of the companys health insurance plans still incur a substantial portion of their healthcare costs, as set forth in detail in the chart in Appendix I of this report. It also does not include the $75 biweekly spousal surcharge, which workers must pay if their spouses reject coverage offered by their own employers and enroll instead in the AMP.198
Under the AMP, workers are generally required to pay for any medical expenses they incur until they reach a specific amount, known as an annual medical deductible, which ranges from $350 to $3,000 for individual coverage and $1,050 to $6,000 for family coverage, depending on the plan.199 In most cases, each time workers pay costs associated with their medical treatment, most of the money spent is applied toward these annual deductibles.
Once annual medical deductibles are met and full coverage finally begins, employees will have to pay a $20 co-pay for an outpatient doctors office visit.200 They are also still responsible for at least 20 percent of expenses for in-network doctors and 50 percent for out-of-network doctors, until they meet a cap which also varies by plan.201 Only 1 percent of workers nationwide insured through their employers must pay both a co-pay and a percentage of medical expenses incurred; most pay one or the other.202 Wal-Mart workers must also pay in full any medical expenses not covered under the AMP.203 In addition, if workers use out-of-network providers and exceed what Wal-Mart deems reasonable and allowable expenses, they may also be required to pay the difference between the providers actual charges and what Wal-Mart decides is reasonable and allowable.204 Furthermore, regardless of whether the annual medical deductibles have been met, workers must also pay any pre-determined per event deductibles, which range from $100 to $1,000 and vary by plan, each time certain medical events occur, such as ambulance transportation, emergency room visits, inpatient hospital stays, or outpatient surgery.205
These healthcare costs are likely unaffordable for a full-time Wal-Mart worker, whose average gross annual income as of early 2007 likely ranges from $18,582 to $21,861 and average monthly income likely ranges from $1,549 to $1,822, depending on weekly hours, particularly if the Wal-Mart worker is the family's sole wage earner.206
Even under Wal-Mart's Value Plan that was introduced in October 2005 and specifically designed to provide more affordable access to health care coverage, the costs quickly become prohibitive.207 After the first three in-network doctors office visits for which a covered individual pays only a $20 co-pay per visit, a worker enrolled in the Value Plan must pay, in addition to $22.81 monthly premiums, a minimum of $1,000 before receiving most additional medical coverage and at least $6,000 before receiving full benefits.208 The costs for a family under the Value Plan are even higher. With the exception of each members first three in-network doctors office visits, families must pay, in addition to monthly premiums and a possible spousal surcharge, a minimum of $3,000 before receiving most additional medical coverage and $13,000 before enjoying full coverage.
In late 2005, Wal-Mart announced that the company would offer a variation on the Value Plan that will provide health care coverage in some markets for as little as $11 per month and 30 cents more per day for children, no matter how many children.209 In April 2006, the company added that it planned to [e]xpand the availability of the . . . option . . . to nearly half of all associates by the end of the year.210 These figures, however, only include monthly premiums, which are a small fraction of the total healthcare costs borne by workers enrolled in the companys healthcare plans. This new optionthe Value Performance Plandiffers from the Value Plan described above in that it has lower monthly premiums in exchange for requiring workers to use a smaller, tighter [High Performance] Network of doctors and hospitals for all medical services to receive full benefits.211
State legislatures have begun to introduce Pay or Play bills which would require large businesses to spend a certain percentage of their payrolls on healthcare or pay to the states the difference between that percentage and their actual contributions. The bills are often dubbed Wal-Mart legislation,212 a reference to the below-average contributions to employee health benefits by Wal-Mart, the nations largest private employer, and related allegations that taxpayers have to subsidize Wal-Mart workers healthcare because they do not receive company benefits or cannot afford them. At least twenty-four studies in twenty-three states have found that significant numbers of Wal-Mart workers rely on state taxpayer-funded healthcare, like Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program; Wal-Mart topped the list in all but two studies.213 Wal-Mart denies that its workers are overrepresented in these programs,214 and the company opposes these Pay or Play laws.215 As of March 2007, bills directly or indirectly addressing Pay or Play had been introduced in thirty-one states, though only in Massachusetts has such a bill passed and entered into force.216
Complaints about wages were one of the primary reasons cited by Wal-Mart workers for attempting to exercise their right to organize. Current and former Wal-Mart workers with whom Human Rights Watch spoke described the difficulties they face living on their Wal-Mart earnings. For example, Rebecca Stewart (a pseudonym), a full-time worker in her mid-twenties at the Aiken, South Carolina, Wal-Mart speaking on condition of anonymity, explained, Its just hard to get by, I tell you.218 Stewart has two children and works two jobs because, she says, I barely bring home $425 for two weeks at Wal-Mart.219 As of June 2005, Stewart made $7.67 an hour. She listed her monthly expenses for Human Rights Watch, excluding food, other groceries, clothing, and incidentals, and they totaled $1,160over $300 more than her monthly Wal-Mart salary. Stewart added that although she has health insurance through the company, her partner is uninsured and her children are on Medicaid. She explained, Right now, with the amount I make, I really couldnt afford to have much more taken out.220 Similarly, Alicia Sylvia, a full-time worker in the Loveland, Colorado, Wal-Mart Tire and Lube Express and single mother of two, told Human Rights Watch, Right now, Im so poor because I work at Wal-Mart. I can barely pay my rent.221
It is very difficult to determine average wages for Wal-Mart employees and virtually impossible to compare them with industry-wide averages. In a letter to Human Rights Watch, Wal-Mart listed the companys competitive wages among the reasons that people want to work at Wal-Mart.222 The letter asserted, Our average, full-time hourly wage is nearly double the federal minimum. In urban areas where the cost of living is higher, our wages are higher too.223 A few workers with whom Human Rights Watch met agreed that Wal-Mart wages were competitive. Stan Turner, a worker at Wal-Marts New Castle, Pennsylvania, store speaking on condition of anonymity, told Human Rights Watch that for this area, Wal-Mart is probably one of the top contenders for benefits and pay.224
According to the company, as of early 2007, the average, full-time hourly wage is $10.51.225 However, this average wage for all full-time hourly workers does not represent the average hourly wage of non-managerial employees at Wal-Mart, such as Stewart and Sylvia. Instead, the figure also includes the wages of all full-time hourly managers,226 whose wages likely exceed those of non-managerial employees, and excludes the wages of part-time workers, who constitute roughly 25 percent of Wal-Marts hourly workforce and whose wages are likely below those of their full-time counterparts.227 As a result, the average hourly wage for all Wal-Marts non-supervisory workers, like Stewart and Sylvia, is likely well below $10.51.
In addition, Wal-Mart did not elaborate on the specifics of a plan, announced on August 7, 2006, to raise the starting rate in more than 1,200 stores across the country and institute pay increases for those associates displaying excellent annual performance and customer service, while simultaneously installing pay caps for each position at its stores.228 Wal-Mart has reportedly stated that additional details would help competitors.229 Without additional details, however, the net impact of the announced changes is unclear.
Human Rights Watch made seven unsuccessful calls to Wal-Mart headquarters seeking more specific wage information. In addition to being transferred to departments unable to assist us and leaving a message requesting a return call to which no one responded, Human Rights Watch was told by Michelle Walker, an employee in the priority assistance department, that Walmartfacts.com, a company web page providing the facts and latest news about Wal-Mart from Wal-Mart, is the only source of public information on this issue.230 The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), a faith-based non-profit organization that presses companies to be socially responsible, also submitted a formal request to Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott and four other company representatives on February 11, 2005, asking Wal-Mart to choose fifty stores at random, one in each state, a mix of urban and rural stores, and provide data for a typical week including job category, wage rates, hours worked per week, health care and other deductions for any week.231 In an April 20, 2005, letter to ICCR, Scott declined.232
Thus, current, specific, reliable, and comprehensive information on Wal-Mart workers wages is unavailable.233 Despite the inadequacy and limitations of Wal-Marts reported average full-time hourly wage, Human Rights Watch has had no choice but to use that figure to draw comparisons between Wal-Mart workers earnings and those of their counterparts throughout the industry. Using Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, Human Rights Watch has compared the average wage of full-time hourly workers at Wal-Mart, including hourly managers, to non-supervisory workers, including part-time employees, throughout the sector. Because the relevant BLS data for early 2007 were unavailable at the time of this reports publication, we used BLS figures through late 2006, as well as Wal-Marts reported 2006 average full-time hourly wage of $10.11.234 The comparison is imperfect and likely unfairly skewed in favor of Wal-Mart because part-time workers wages included in the BLS calculations drive down the BLS averages, while the supervisory positions included in Wal-Marts calculation drive up the Wal-Mart average.235
While Wal-Mart cited its average 2006 hourly full-time wage as $10.11, the BLS reports cited average 2006 hourly wages of $10.24 at discount department stores, $10.55 at warehouse clubs and supercenters, and $11.12 at supermarkets and other grocery stores.236 To compute minimum gross annual earnings, Human Rights Watch multiplied these wages by thirty-four, the number of hours a Wal-Mart employee must work per week to be considered full time by the company, and again by fifty-two, the number of weeks per year.237 Using this formula, Human Rights Watch calculated the average minimum gross annual earnings for full-time hourly Wal-Mart workers in 2006, exclusive of benefits or bonuses, as roughly $17,875; for non-supervisory discount department store workers as roughly $18,104; for non-supervisory warehouse club and supercenter workers as roughly $18,652, and for non-supervisory supermarket and other grocery store workers as roughly $19,660.
Wal-Mart workers who spoke to Human Rights Watch, a leaked internal company memo, and news reports suggest that Wal-Mart may have adopted a strategy of eliminating long-time employees, both young and old, whose wages are higher than recently hired workers, in order to reduce payroll costs even further. Kathleen MacDonald, who started with Wal-Mart in 1990 and as of June 2005 made $12.50 an hour, explained, We feel like theyd love to get rid of us [because] they can hire two people [for the cost of one of us] and pay less benefits.239
Wal-Mart denies it has such a policy. But an internal memo to Wal-Marts board of directors, written in fall 2005 by Susan Chambers, then executive vice president of benefits, shows, at a minimum, that the cost of long-term workers was a focus of high-level concern within Wal-Mart. The memo was ultimately leaked to the press. It states, in relevant part:
Ellen Frank (a pseudonym), a newly appointed Wal-Mart department manager speaking on condition of anonymity, thought of Chambers memo when Wal-Mart announced pay caps on each of the seven job classifications at Wal-Mart stores on August 7, 2006. She commented to Human Rights Watch, I keep going back to that memo. Our long-term associates are costing us more . . . than the ones were hiring in. . . . We just keep remembering the memo. Theyre trying to get rid of long-term associates.241
As discussed, Wal-Mart announced on August 7, 2006, that it will implement new pay ranges, establishing a floor and a ceiling for each job classification at its facilities.242 Frank told Human Rights Watch that her store manager explained the caps as an incentive for workers to go to the next level, and a Wal-Mart spokesperson reportedly denied any connection between Chambers memo and the new caps, stating, To think we would get rid of long-term associates is ridiculous.243
Workers at the Spring Mountain Road, Las Vegas, Nevada, Sams Club, however, recounted to Human Rights Watch another tactic that they believe Wal-Mart uses to reduce the numbers of long-term workers in its stores: increasing productivity quotas for the long-term workers in the demo department. Workers in Sams Clubs demo department provide free product samples to customers to entice them to purchase the sampled product, and Sams Club sets daily quotas for the amount of product each demo worker must sell.
Fran Gempler (a pseudonym), a Spring Mountain Road Sams Club demo department worker speaking on condition of anonymity, explained that when the supervisor for the department sets the daily production quotas, the ones getting more money get higher goals. . . . Its not uniform. . . . Its the new people who get the low goals.244 Gemplers co-worker in the demo department, Shirley Wardingly, explained, The new ones get . . . low quotas. . . . They want to get rid of old people whove been there a long time.245 When Human Rights Watch spoke to Shirley Wardingly in March 2005, she had been with Sams Club for thirteen years and made $11.75 per hour.246
Although it may be reasonable to expect higher-paid, long-term workers to sell more product, Marsha Wardingly, Shirleys daughter and also a worker at the Spring Mountain Road Sams Club, characterized the goals set as largely unreachable because of the volume of sales demanded and the products selected for demo. She explained, Theyll give you frozen strawberries when theyre doing a fresh strawberry special. You will have frozen shrimp when theres a seafood special.247 Dina Eldridge, another Spring Mountain Road Sams Club worker speaking on condition of anonymity, elaborated, One of the ladies, a few weeks ago, her demo was fifty-one bags of frozen strawberries. That week, we had just brought in fresh berries from California. She went up and asked how to sell [frozen] berries when there were fresh ones. They said not to complain.248 In addition, according to Gempler, in some cases, quotas for the long-term demo workers exceed the amount of product in stock at the time: They give you a product but dont give you enough to make your goal. . . . If you dont make your goal, its held against you, even if its because there was no product.249 As an example, she recalled being assigned a goal of selling seventy-five containers of yogurt, though there were only eighteen containers in the store.250
Describing the reaction of the long-term demo workers, many of whom are reportedly in their seventies and eighties, to the high and virtually unattainable productivity quotas, Marsha Wardingly commented, Theyre all in tears.251
Although many of Wal-Marts long-term workers are covered by US anti-age-discrimination laws, Wal-Marts alleged efforts to force them out may pass legal muster. Older workers who believe that they are disparately impacted by neutral company policies, like Wal-Marts demo quotas, can only prevail against their employers in lawsuits alleging age discrimination if they show both that the policies disproportionately impact them as compared to other workers and that the policies are unreasonable means of achieving legitimate business goalsa very difficult burden to meet.252
When the Norwegian government decided in June 2006 to exclude investments in Wal-Mart from the Norwegian Government Pension Fund-Global based in large part on allegations of workers rights violations at the company, it considered many workplace issues concerning Wal-Mart workers, including reports that workers are pressured into working overtime without compensation and that the company systematically discriminates against women in pay.253 In recommending the exclusion of Wal-Mart, the funds Council on Ethics found:
After hearing workers concerns about terms and conditions of employment at Wal-Mart and reviewing numerous claims of US employment law violations against the company, Human Rights Watch asked workers why they remain with the company. Many responded that they fear they would be unable to find jobs elsewhere. Pat Quinn, an Aiken, South Carolina, Wal-Mart worker speaking on condition of anonymity, explained, Truthfully, [I stay] because of my age. Ive been with them for ten years. Aint nobody else going to hire me.255 Dina Eldridge, a Las Vegas, Nevada, Sams Club worker also speaking on condition of anonymity, told Human Rights Watch, Im only there because Im sixty and I intend to retire in two years. If I were in my thirties or forties, Id never be there, ever. . . . Its hard to get jobs once you hit fifty.256 Quinns co-worker at the Aiken, South Carolina, store, Rebecca Stewart, also speaking anonymously, added, Its a mess over there. You just hate going into work. . . . I have to work here because I have to have a job, but if something else came along and I knew I could do it, Id go for it.257
Others explained that they stay because they believe that Wal-Mart is a good company that has gone astray, and they hope to be a part of its transformation into a better place to work. John Weston, an hourly TLE manager at the Kingman, Arizona, Wal-Mart, told Human Rights Watch:
Kathleen MacDonald, a worker at the Aiken, South Carolina, Wal-Mart, similarly explained:
As discussed in depth in the following section, Wal-Mart workers are impeded from utilizing an important tool available to them to push for improvements in their workplaces: the right to form and join trade unions.260 The Norwegian Ministry of Finance cited among the reasons for excluding Wal-Mart from its Pension Fund-Global that [a]ll attempts to unionise by the companys employees are stopped at its US operations.261 Through its well-developed strategy to derail workers efforts to organize, Wal-Mart violates workers right to freedom of association, preventing them from organizing for change.
38 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Timeline, undated, http://www.walmartfacts.com/content/default.aspx?id=3 (accessed August 29, 2006).
39 Bob Ortega, In Sam We Trust: The Untold Story of Sam Walton and How Wal-Mart is Devouring America (New York, NY: Times Books, 1998), p. 59. Bob Ortega is a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal who covered Wal-Mart for the paper for five years.
40 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Timeline, undated.
43 Hoovers, The Kroger Co., 2006, http://www.hoovers.com/kroger/--ID__10864--/free-co-factsheet.xhtml (accessed August 29, 2006); Dictionary of Labor Law Talk, Wal-Mart, undated, http://encyclopedia.laborlawtalk.com/Wal-Mart (accessed June 2, 2005).
44 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Wal-Marts International Division: Global Strategy, Local Focus, undated, http://www.walmartfacts.com/FactSheets/8252006_International_Operations.pdf (accessed August 29, 2006); Letter from Tovar, October 5, 2006.
45 Dictionary of Labor Law Talk, Wal-Mart, undated.
46 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., The Wal-Mart Story, August 24, 2006, http://www.walmartfacts.com/content/default.aspx?id=1 (accessed August 28, 2006); Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Diversity is a Way of Life at Wal-Mart, undated, http://www.walmartfacts.com/FactSheets/8252006_Employment_and_Diversity.pdf (accessed August 28, 2006); Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Form 10-K, filed with the US SEC, March 29, 2006, for period ending January 31, 2006, http://investor.walmartstores.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=112761&p=irol-sec (accessed August 24, 2006), p. 12.
47 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Wal-Marts International Division: Global Strategy, Local Focus, undated.
48 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2006 Annual Report: Building Smiles, 2006, http://walmartstores.com/Files/2006_annual_report.pdf (accessed August 28, 2006), pp. 14, 30; The World Bank, Total GDP 2005, July 1, 2006.
49 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Corporate Facts, 2006, http://www.walmartfacts.com/FactSheets/7262006_Corporate_Facts.pdf (accessed August 29, 2006); Hoovers, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2006, http://www.hoovers.com/wal-mart/--ID__11600--/free-co-factsheet.xhtml (accessed August 29, 2006); Hoovers, Carrefour SA, 2006, http://www.hoovers.com/carrefour/--ID__40719--/free-co-factsheet.xhtml (accessed August 29, 2006); Hoovers, The Home Depot, Inc., 2006, http://www.hoovers.com/home-depot/--ID__11470--/free-co-factsheet.xhtml (accessed August 29, 2006).
51 Steven Greenhouse, Foiled Once in City, Wal-Mart Turns On the Charm for S.I., The New York Times, August 22, 2005.
52 Andy Serwer, Wal-Marts Rise on the Fortune 500, undated, http://www.fortune.com/fortune/subs/article/0,15114,735330,00.html (accessed June 22, 2005); CNN Money.com, Fortune 500 2007: Our annual ranking of Americas largest corporations, 2007.
53 Wal-Marts Sales to Double by 2010 as Big Stores Grow, Dow Jones & Reuters, June 6, 2005.
54 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Form 10-K, filed with the US SEC, March 29, 2006, for period ending January 31, 2006, p. 3.
55 Ortega, In Sam We Trust, pp. 128-133.
56 Beth Lewallen, Public Broadcasting System (PBS), Frontline, Wal-Mart & The Bar Code, undated, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/walmart/secrets/barcode.html (accessed August 29, 2006).
59 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Wal-Mart Stores, undated, http://walmartstores.com/GlobalWMStoresWeb/navigate.do?catg=504&contId=44 (accessed August 29, 2006).
60 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2006 Annual Report: Building Smiles, 2006, p. 51; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Our Retail Division, July 13, 2006, http://www.walmartfacts.com/articles/2502.aspx (accessed August 28, 2006); Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Corporate Profile, March 2007, http://investor.walmartstores.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=112761&p=irol-irhome (accessed March 16, 2007).
61 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Timeline, undated; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Supercenters, undated, http://walmartstores.com/GlobalWMStoresWeb/navigate.do?catg=504&contId=45 (accessed August 29, 2006).
62 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Our Retail Division, July 13, 2006.
63 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2006 Annual Report: Building Smiles, 2006, p. 51; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Corporate Profile, March 2007.
64 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Timeline, undated; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Our Retail Division, July 13, 2006.
65 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Our Retail Division, July 13, 2006.
66 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2006 Annual Report: Building Smiles, 2006, p. 51; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Corporate Profile, March 2007.
67 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Our Retail Division, July 13, 2006; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Timeline, undated; Hoovers, Costco Wholesale Corporation, 2006, http://www.hoovers.com/costco-wholesale/--ID__17060--/free-co-factsheet.xhtml (accessed August 29, 2006).
68 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Sams Clubs, undated, http://walmartstores.com/GlobalWMStoresWeb/navigate.do?catg=504&contId=46 (accessed August 29, 2006).
69 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Our Retail Division, July 13, 2006.
70 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2006 Annual Report: Building Smiles, 2006, pp. 21, 22, 51; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Corporate Profile, March 2007.
71 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., International Operations Data Sheet-August 2006, August 3, 2006, http://www.walmartfacts.com/_resources/ArticleToolBar/printerfriendly.aspx?id=4378 (accessed August 28, 2006); Hoovers, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2006; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Corporate Facts, 2006; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Corporate Profile, March 2007.
72 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., International Operations Data Sheet-August 2006, August 3, 2006. In September 2005, Wal-Mart opened stores in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Ibid.
73 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Corporate Profile, March 2007.
74 See, e.g., David Lague, Unions Triumphant at Wal-Mart in China, International Herald Tribune, October 12, 2006; Abigail Goldman and Don Lee, No Labor Shift Seen at Wal-Mart; Activists and the retailer itself downplay the move to allow Chinese workers to unionize, The Los Angeles Times, August 11, 2006. Independent trade unions are prohibited in China, and the unions at Chinese Wal-Marts are affiliated with the government-backed, Communist Party-sanctioned All China Confederation of Trade Unions (AFCTU), which has historically eschewed confrontation with employers and been accused by international labor activists of failing to advocate forcefully on behalf of workers rights. Nonetheless, Wal-Mart reportedly initially opposed union formation at its Chinese stores and only after workers at several facilities successfully organized, reached an agreement with the ACFTU to allow the union in the companys roughly sixty Chinese stores. Ibid.; see also, Anita Chan, Organizing Wal-Mart: The Chinese Trade Union at a Crossroads, Japan Focus, September 8, 2006.
75 Human Rights Watch interview with Jared West, Wal-Mart worker, Greeley, Colorado, July 17, 2005.
76 Human Rights Watch interview with Diana Angie Griego, former Wal-Mart worker, Las Vegas, Nevada, March 21, 2005.
77 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Form 10-K, filed with the US SEC, March 29, 2006, for period ending January 31, 2006, p. 17. Wal-Mart settled an additional Fair Labor Standards Act case with the US Department of Labor after the company reported to DOL that an internal audit raised concerns regarding overtime computations, specifically with respect to the treatment of incentives and other premium payments and overtime payments to certain interns, manager trainees, and programmer trainees. Wal-Mart explained, After we discovered these issues, we did the right thing, and the right thing to do in this case was to report the details of what we found to the United States Department of Labor. Under the terms of the settlement with DOL, Wal-Mart has agreed to pay $33 million in back wages, plus interest, to 86,680 employees working for the company between February 2002 and January 2007. The settlement does not affect the class action lawsuits discussed in this section. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., DOL Settlement, January 25, 2007, http://www.dol.settlement.wal-mart.com (accessed January 25, 2007); Wal-Mart Workers to Receive More Than $33 Million in Back Wages, US DOL press release, January 25, 2007, http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/esa/ESA20070110.htm (accessed January 25, 2007).
78 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Form 10-K, filed with the US SEC, March 29, 2006, for period ending January 31, 2006, pp. 17, 43. Class certification has been denied or overturned in cases pending in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Some or all of the requested classes have been certified in cases pending in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington. Ibid., p. 43.
79 Human Rights Watch has obtained copies of key legal documents in the majority of the class action lawsuits against Wal-Mart alleging wage and hour law violations, and the discussion of plaintiffs allegations and Wal-Marts responses is based on our extensive review of these documents.
80 See, e.g., Amended Class Action Complaint, Armijo v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Case No. D-0117-CV-200002211 (1st Jud. Dist., Rio Arriba County, N.M. March 27, 2002); Order Certifying Class Action, Braun v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (1st Jud. Dist., Dakota County, Minn., November 3, 2003); Second Amended Class Action Complaint, Braun v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Case No. 3127 (Ct. of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Penn. May 28, 2002); Second Amended Class Action Complaint, Brown v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Case No. 01 L 85 (14th Jud. Cir., Rock Island County, Ill. November 4, 2002); First Amended Class Action Complaint, Gamble v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Case No. 7121-01 (Sup. Ct., County of Albany, N.Y. August 20, 2004); Amended Class Action Complaint, Iliadis v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Case No. MID-L-5498-02 (Super. Ct., Middlesex County, N.J. March 21, 2003).
82 Human Rights Watch interview with Pat Quinn, June 13, 2005.
83 Human Rights Watch interview with John Weston, hourly Wal-Mart TLE manager, Kingman, Arizona, March 17, 2005.
84 Human Rights Watch interview with Norine Sorensen, former Wal-Mart worker, Las Vegas, Nevada, March 25, 2005.
85 Human Rights Watch interview with Liz Boyd, Wal-Mart department manager, Aiken, South Carolina, June 15, 2005.
86 Human Rights Watch interview with Tony Kuc, former Wal-Mart assistant store manager, Kingman, Arizona, March 16, 2005.
87 Human Rights Watch interview with Julie Rebai, former Wal-Mart lawn and garden department manager, Kingman, Arizona, March 15, 2005.
88 Class Action Petition, Mussmann v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Case No. LA27486 (Dist. Ct., Clinton County, Iowa June 5, 2001), para. 2.
90 See, e.g., Amended Class Action Complaint, Armijo v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Case No. D-0117-CV-200002211 (1st Jud. Dist., Rio Arriba County, N.M. March 27, 2002), para. 22; Second Amended Class Action Complaint, Brown v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Case No. 01 L 85 (14th Jud. Cir., Rock Island County, Ill. November 4, 2002), para. 23; Amended Class Action Complaint, Iliadis v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Case No. MID-L-5498-02 (Super. Ct., Middlesex County, N.J. March 21, 2003), para. 32.
91 Human Rights Watch interview with Julie Rebai, March 15, 2005.
92 Human Rights Watch interview with Vicki Wood, former Wal-Mart worker, Kingman, Arizona, March 16, 2005.
93 Human Rights Watch interview with Carol Anderson, former Wal-Mart customer service manager, Kingman, Arizona, March 16, 2005.
94 Human Rights Watch interview with Angie Griego, March 21, 2005.
95 Thiebes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (D. Or. July 26, 2004).
96 Ibid.; Thiebes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (D. Or., January 18, 2005). Wal-Mart was also awarded roughly $13,100 in costs. Thiebes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (D. Or., January 18, 2005).
97 Second Amended Class Action Complaint, Savaglio v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Case No. C-835687-7 (Super. Ct., Alameda County, Cal. December 2001), para. 1; Lisa Alcalay Klug, Jury Rules Wal-Mart Must Pay $172 Million Over Meal Breaks, The New York Times, December 23, 2005. The jury awarded $115 million in punitive damages and roughly $57.2 million in statutory penalties. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Form 10-K, filed with the US SEC, March 29, 2006, for period ending January 31, 2006, p. 43.
98 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Form 10-K, filed with the US SEC, March 29, 2006, for period ending January 31, 2006, p. 43.
99 Sophia Pearson and Margaret Cronin Fisk, Wal-Mart Loses Pennsylvania Suit Over Missed Breaks, Bloomberg News, October 12, 2006; Steven Greenhouse, Wal-Mart Told to Pay $78 Million, The New York Times, October 14, 2006; Jane M. Von Bergen, Jury finds Wal-Mart owes pay to workers, The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 13, 2006. The jury ruled, however, that Wal-Mart did provide promised unpaid meal breaks. Ibid.
100 Memorandum from Bret Shipley and Alison Brewer, Wal-Mart Internal Audit Services, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., to Don Harris, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Wal-Mart Stores Division, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., July 17, 2000.
102See, e.g., Opposition to Motion to Certify Collective Action, Basco v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Case No. 00-3184 (E.D. La. February 17, 2004); Answer to Fifth Amended Complaint, Basco v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (E.D. La. February 2, 2004). Wal-Mart also has provided various arguments against class certification, including that: plaintiffs cannot satisfy FLSA class action certification requirements, evidence is so highly individualized that class actions are not appropriate or feasible, no question of law or fact is common to the class members, the class is overly broad and includes workers not exposed to the alleged violations, and named plaintiffs do not fairly and adequately protect class members interests.
103 See, e.g., Brief of Defendants-Appellees, Harrison v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Case No. COA04-989 (Ct. App., N.C. December 15, 2004).
104 See, e.g., Opposition to Motion to Certify Collective Action, Basco v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., (E.D. La. February 17, 2004).
105 Steven Greenhouse, In-House Audit Says Wal-Mart Violated Labor Laws, The New York Times, January 13, 2004.
107 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Wal-Mart Details Progress Toward Becoming a Leader in Employment Practices, June 4, 2004, http://www.walmartstores.com/wmstore/wmstores/mainnews.jsp (accessed September 6, 2006).
109 See, e.g., Human Rights Watch interview with Rebecca Stewart (a pseudonym), Wal-Mart worker speaking on condition of anonymity, Aiken, South Carolina, June 14, 2005.
110 Human Rights Watch interview with Kathleen MacDonald, Wal-Mart worker, Aiken, South Carolina, June 12, 2005.
111 Human Rights Watch interview with Liz Boyd, June 15, 2005.
112 Human Rights Watch interview with Stan Turner, Wal-Mart TLE worker speaking on condition of anonymity, New Castle, Pennsylvania, August 11, 2005.
113 Human Rights Watch interview with Marsha Wardingly, Sams Club worker, Las Vegas, Nevada, March 23, 2005.
114 Human Rights Watch interview with Angela Steinbrecher, July 17, 2005.
115 Human Rights Watch interview with Christine Stroup, Wal-Mart worker, Greeley, Colorado, July 18, 2005.
116 The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) establishes that states shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. The United States ratified the ICCPR on June 8, 1992. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) further clarifies that employment discrimination against women is a prohibited form of sex discrimination, and the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee), charged with interpreting CEDAW, has defined such discrimination as including sexual harassment. The United States signed CEDAW in July 1980 but has not yet ratified the convention. Nonetheless, the United States is obligated by international law to uphold the ban on sex discrimination in employment. For example, the UN Human Rights Committee, charged with interpreting the ICCPR, has interpreted the covenants sex discrimination prohibition by referencing CEDAWs language. In addition, the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (ILO Declaration) has recognized the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation as one of the fundamental rights, which all ILO members have an obligation to respect, to promote and to realize even if, like the United States, the member has failed to ratify the core ILO conventions governing those rights. ICCPR, adopted December 16, 1966, G.A. Res. 2200A (XXI), 21 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 16) at 52, U.N. Doc. A/6316, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, entered into force January 3, 1976, art. 26; CEDAW, adopted December 18, 1979, G.A. Res. 34/180, 34 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 46) at 193, U.N. Doc. A/34/46, entered into force September 3, 1981, art. 11; CEDAW Committee, General Recommendation No. 19: Violence against Women, January 29, 1992, paras. 17, 18; UN Human Rights Committee, General Recommendation No. 18: Non-discrimination, November 10, 1989, para. 6; International Labour Conference, ILO Declaration, 86th Session, Geneva, June 18, 1998.
117 Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld, & Toll, P.L.L.C., General Information, undated, http://www.cmht.com/cases_walmart.php (accessed May 25, 2005); see also, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Form 10-K, filed with the US SEC, March 29, 2006, for period ending January 31, 2006, p. 16.
118 Plaintiffs Third Amended Complaint, Dukes, et al., v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Case No. C-01-2252 MJJ(N.D. Cal. September 12, 2002), para. 2.
120 Dukes, et al., v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Case Nos. 04-16688, 04-16720 (9th Cir. 2007).
121 Plaintiffs Third Amended Complaint, Dukes, et al., v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., para. 29.
122 Ibid., para. 29(b)-(e), (k); Plaintiffs Responses and Objections to Defendants Third Set of Interrogatories, Dukes, et al., v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (N.D. Cal. November 19, 2002). For example, plaintiffs also allege that Wal-Mart maintains largely sex-segregated job categories and departments. Plaintiffs Third Amended Complaint, Dukes, et al., v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., para. 29(b)-(e).
123 Plaintiffs Class Certification Brief, Dukes, et al., v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (N.D. Cal. April 28, 2003), p. 13.
124 Declaration of Diane Durfey in Support of Plaintiffs Motion for Class Certification, Dukes, et al., v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (N.D. Cal. 2003), para. 10; Declaration of Irma Mathis in Support of Plaintiffs Motion for Class Certification, Dukes, et al., v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (N.D. Cal. 2003), para. 12; Declaration of Christine Kwapnoski in Support of Plaintiffs Motion for Class Certification, Dukes, et al., v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (N.D. Cal. April 2003), para. 16; Declaration of Kathleen Macdonald in Support of Plaintiffs Motion for Class Certification, Dukes, et al., v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (N.D. Cal. 2003), para. 7; Declaration of Ramona Scott in Support of Plaintiffs Motion for Class Certification, Dukes, et al., v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (N.D. Cal. 2003), para. 8.
125 Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Motion for Class Certification, Dukes, et al., v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (N.D. Cal. June 16, 2004).
126 Principal Brief for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Dukes, et al., v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Case Nos. 04-16688, 04-16720 (9th Cir. November 29, 2004), p. 2. Wal-Mart presented two principal arguments against class certification: that class representatives do not possess the same interests and alleged injuries as all other potential class members, as required by federal civil procedure rules; and that class certification violates the companys due process rights by denying it the opportunity to challenge findings of discrimination on a case by case basis. Ibid.
127 Dukes, et al., v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Case Nos. 04-16688, 04-16720 (9th Cir. 2007).
128 Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld, & Toll, P.L.L.C., General Information, undated. The US law known as Title VII prohibits employment discrimination, including sex discrimination, and makes it illegal to fire, refuse to hire, or otherwise discriminate against workers with respect to their compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment based on sex or to limit, segregate, or classify workers or job applicants in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee based on sex. The US Supreme Court and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have also interpreted Title VII as prohibiting workplace sexual harassment, defined to include [u]nwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. 42 USC, sec. 2000e-2(a); 29 CFR 1604.11(a); Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57 (1986), quoting 29 CFR, sec. 1604.11(a)(3). The EEOC is the executive branch agency charged with enforcing US laws banning workplace discrimination on prohibited grounds, including age, disability, national origin, race, religion, and sex. EEOC, General Information, undated, http://www.eeoc.gov/abouteeo/overview_laws.html (accessed May 4, 2004).
129 See, e.g., Amy Joyce, Wal-Mart Loses Bid to Block Group Bias Suit, The Washington Post, February 7, 2007; Steven Greenhouse, Court Approves Class-Action Suit Against Wal-Mart, The New York Times, February 7, 2007. Wal-Mart has said that it will first ask the three-judge court of appeals panel that heard the case to reconsider and, if unsuccessful, will request that the full fifteen-judge panel consider the case. If the decision is upheld, the company plans to appeal to the US Supreme Court. Ibid.
130 Dukes, et al., v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Case Nos. 04-16688, 04-16720 (9th Cir. 2007).
131 CBS Evening News, Angry Workers Up the Ante at Wal-Mart, April 29, 2003, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/04/29/eveningnews/main551418.shtml (accessed May 31, 2005).
132 Defendant Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.s, Answer and Affirmative Defenses to Plaintiffs Second Amended Complaint, Dukes, et al., v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (N.D. Cal. January 31, 2002), paras. 2-68; Defendant Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.s, Answer and Affirmative Defenses to Plaintiffs Third Amended Complaint, Dukes, et al., v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (N.D. Cal. November 25, 2002), paras. 2-122.
133 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Wal-Mart Details Progress Toward Becoming a Leader in Employment Practices, June 4, 2004.
137 Oral Argument Transcript of Proceedings, Dukes, et al., v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (N.D. Cal. September 24, 2003), pp. 106-107.
138 As noted, the ICCPR, to which the United States is party, establishes a general prohibition of discrimination on any ground, setting forth a non-exhaustive list of grounds that includes other status. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), which the United States signed in October 1977 but has failed to ratify, similarly provides that states must guarantee that the rights set forth in the convention will be exercised without discrimination of any kind based on a list of prohibited grounds or on other status. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), charged with interpreting the ICESCR, has stated that this guarantee clearly applies to discrimination on the grounds of disability and to disabled persons ability to exercise their rights relating to work. In support, the CESCR cites the UN Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, which provides, States should recognize the principle that persons with disabilities must be empowered to exercise their human rights, particularly in the field of employment. ICESCR, adopted December 16, 1966, G.A. Res. 2200A (XXI), 21 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 16) at 49, U.N. Doc. A/6316, 993 U.N.T.S. 3, entered into force January 3, 1976, art. 2(2); CESCR, General Comment No. 5: Persons with Disabilities, December 9, 1994, paras. 5, 22; UN Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, G.A. Res. 48/96, annex (XVIII), December 20, 1993, rule 7.
139 Transnational Corporations Observatory, Comprehensive Anti-Wal-Mart Info. Digest, undated, http://www.mcspotlight.org/beyond/companies/antiwalmart.html (accessed June 2, 2005); Letter from Stephanie D. Garner, assistant legal counsel/FOIA, EEOC, to Human Rights Watch, September 9, 2005. Title I of the ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms and conditions of employment and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for disabled workers unless doing so would cause undue hardship. 42 USC, sec. 12112(a), (b)(5)(A).
140 EEOC, Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions Docket of Active and Resolved ADA Cases, February 28, 2005 (on file with Human Rights Watch); Letter from Garner, September 9, 2005.
141 EEOC, Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions Docket of Active and Resolved ADA Cases, February 28, 2005.
142 Consent Decree, EEOC v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Civil Action No. 98-0276 TUC WDB(D. Ariz. 2000).
143 Ibid., paras. 3, 8, 11-15, 17.
144 Ibid., paras. 17, 24-26.
145 EEOC v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 147 F. Supp. 2d 980 (D. Ariz. 2001).
147 Judge SlapsWal-Mart with Major Sanctions for Violating Court Order in EEOC Disability Bias Case, EEOC press release, June 14, 2001, http://www.eeoc.gov/press/6-14-01.html (accessed May 27, 2005).
148 Amended Consent Decree, EEOC v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Civil Action No. 98-0276 TUC WDB (D. Ariz. 2001).
149 Ibid., secs. 2(a), 4, 5, 8.
150 EEOC, Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions Docket of Active and Resolved ADA Cases, February 28, 2005.
151 Consent Decree, EEOC v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Civil Action No. S99-0414 GEB DAD (E.D. Cal. 2001), paras. 7, 40-44, 56.
152 EEOC, Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions Docket of Active and Resolved ADA Cases, February 28, 2005.
154 Complaint and Jury Trial Demand, EEOC v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Civil Action No. 04-0076-CV-W-gaf (W.D. Mo January 20, 2004).
155 Brady v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 16 A.D. Cases 1672 (E.D.N.Y. June 21, 2005); Susan J. McGolrick, Wal-Mart Hit with $7.5 Million Verdict in ADA Case by Worker with Cerebral Palsy, BNA Labor Relations Reporter,February 25, 2005; Brady v. Wal-Mart Stores In. Court Notes $300,000 Punitive Damages Maximum in Reducing ADA Damages Award Against Wal-Mart, New York Law Journal, June 28, 2005, p. 17.
157 Margaret Cronin Fisk, Wal-Mart Loses Bid to Overturn Disabilities Verdict, Bloomberg News,October 2, 2006.
158 Spencer v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 16 A.D. Cases 1010 (D. Del. March 11, 2005). The judge granted Wal-Marts motion to overturn the jurys award of $15,000 in lost wages. Ibid.
159 Human Rights Watch interview with Jared West, July 17, 2005. As discussed above, Wal-Marts annual profits for the fiscal year ending January 31, 2006, were $11.2 billion.
160 Letter from Tovar, October 5, 2006.
161 See, e.g., Human Rights Watch interview with Joshua Streckeisen, former Wal-Mart TLE worker, New Castle, Pennsylvania, August 9, 2005; Human Rights Watch interview with Stan Turner, August 11, 2005; Human Rights Watch interview with Alicia Sylvia, Wal-Mart TLE worker, Loveland, CO, July 15, 2005.
162 Human Rights Watch interview with Joshua Streckeisen, August 9, 2005.
163 Human Rights Watch interview with Alicia Sylvia, July 15, 2005.
164 Human Rights Watch interview with Bridgid Carpenter, July 18, 2005.
165 Human Rights Watch interview with Valerie González, former Wal-Mart worker, Las Vegas, Nevada, March 21, 2005.
166 Wal-Mart asserts that in the fall of 2006, 1,024,894 of its workers, roughly 76 percent, were eligible for its health benefits plans and that 636,391 of its workers, roughly 47 percent of the overall workforce, had enrolled. To determine the percentage of eligible workers who enrolled in Wal-Marts health benefits plans, Human Rights Watch divided the reported number of enrolled workers by the number of eligible workers. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Wal-Mart Releases Open Enrollment Data; Survey Indicates 90.4 Percent of Associates Have Health Coverage Through Wal-Mart or Another Source, January 11, 2007, http://www.walmartfacts.com/articles/4694.aspx (accessed January 12, 2007).
167 Human Rights Watch interview with Liz Boyd, June 15, 2005; Human Rights Watch interview with Chris Davis, June 15, 2005.
168 Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET), Employer Health Benefits: 2006 Annual Survey, September 26, 2006, http://www.kff.org/insurance/7527/upload/7527.pdf (accessed January 12, 2007), p. 43. All figures cited from this study only consider those employers that offer health benefits to their workers.
169 Although Kroger and Sears are two of Wal-Marts key US competitors, Human Rights Watch was unable to include them in this analysis because the companies do not file the employers tax Form 5500, Schedule H, from which Human Rights Watch obtained the figures used in this comparison.
170 Human Rights Watch calculated the percentage of the total benefits program cost paid by each employer using the figures reported on the employer's Form 5500, Schedule H, filed with the US DOL, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA), and the US Department of the Treasury (DOT), Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Referencing the relevant entries in part II(a)(1) of Form 5500, Schedule H, Human Rights Watch divided the employer contributions by the total contributions from employers and employees, applying the following formula:[amount listed in part II (a)(1)(A)a]/ [(amount listed in part II(a)(1)(A)a) + (amount listed in part II(a)(1)(B)a)]. Nonetheless, the calculation is not exact because the employer and employee contributions listed in part II(a)(1) of Form 5500, Schedule H, only approximate the annual spending on the specified benefits plan, failing to adjust for money owed to the plan from the previous year and payments outstanding at the end of the year. In developing this methodology, Human Rights Watch consulted with employee benefits expert, Leslie Giordano, director of employee benefits at Independent Pension Services, Inc.
171 Costco Wholesale Corporation, Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, filed with the US DOL, PWBA, and the US DOT, IRS, for period August 30, 2004, through August 28, 2005, Schedule H, part II(a)(1). Costcos spending on its Employee Benefits Program covers health, dental, and life insurance and long-term disability benefits. Ibid., part II, 8(b).
172 Albertsons, Inc., Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, filed with the US DOL, PWBA, and the US DOT, IRS, for period February 1, 2004, through January 31, 2005, http://www.freeerisa.com/5500/InstantView.asp?mainID=9513928&Show=ALL (accessed August 25, 2006), Schedule H, part II(a)(1). Albertsons spending on its Employees Health and Welfare Plan covers health, dental, vision, and life insurance and temporary disability, long-term disability, and death benefits. Ibid., part II, 8(b). Albertsons became a part of SUPERVALU, Inc., on June 2, 2006. Albertsons, Inc., News, undated, http://www.albertsons.com/abs_news/default.asp (accessed August 24, 2006).
173 Target Corporation, Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, filed with the US DOL, PWBA, and the US DOT, IRS, for period February 1, 2004, through January 31, 2005, http://www.freeerisa.com/5500/InstantView.asp?mainID=9407149&Show=ALL (accessed August 25, 2006), Schedule H, part II(a)(1). Targets spending on its Comprehensive Medical Plan covers health and vision insurance. Ibid., part II, 8(b).
174 Home Depot USA, Inc., Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, filed with the US DOL, PWBA, and the US DOT, IRS, for period February 1, 2004, through January 31, 2005, http://www.freeerisa.com/5500/InstantView.asp?mainID=9406565&Show=ALL (accessed August 25, 2006), Schedule H, part II(a)(1). Home Depots spending on its Medical and Dental Plan covers health and dental insurance. Ibid., part II, 8(b)
175 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, filed with the US DOL, PWBA, and the US DOT, IRS, for period January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2005, http://www.freeerisa.com/5500/InstantView.asp?mainID=13708293&Show=ALL (accessed March 14, 2007), Schedule H, part II(a)(1).
176 Kmart Corporation, Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, filed with the US DOL, PWBA, and the USDOT, IRS, for period May 1, 2004, through April 30, 2005, http://www.freeerisa.com/5500/InstantView.asp?mainID=9663539&Show=ALL (accessed August 25, 2006), Schedule H, part II(a)(1). Kmarts spending on its Medical Benefits Plan covers health and dental insurance. Ibid., part II, 8(b).
177 Bernard Wysocki, Jr., and Ann Zimmerman, Bargain Hunter: Wal-Mart Cost-Cutting Finds a Big Target in Health Benefits, The Wall Street Journal, September 30, 2003, citing Mercer Human Resources Consulting, a unit of Marsh and McLennan Companies.
178 Wal-Marts tax filing reports total company contributions to the Associates Health and Welfare Plan, the name Wal-Mart has ascribed collectively to its benefits plans, which include health, dental, and life insurance and long-term disability, temporary disability, and death benefits. Human Rights Watch calculated Wal-Marts average spending per covered worker by multiplying the percentage of workers enrolled in the AMP times the total number of Wal-Mart workers in 2005 and dividing that product into Wal-Marts 2005 contributions to its Associates Health and Welfare Plan, as reported in part II of Wal-Marts Form 5500, Schedule H. According to Wal-Mart, 43 percent of its workers were covered by the AMP in 2005. The calculation, therefore, was $2,023,569,143/ (43 percent x 1,300,000). Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Wal-Marts Health Care Benefits are Competitive in the Retail Sector, July 7, 2006, http://www.walmartfacts.com/articles/1802.aspx (accessed July 30, 2006); Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Form 10-K, filed with the US SEC, March 29, 2006, for period ending January 31, 2006, p. 13; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, filed with the US DOL, PWBA, and the US DOT, IRS, for period January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2005, part II, 8(b), Schedule H.
It is very likely, however, that there were workers not enrolled in Wal-Marts AMP who nonetheless participated in other insurance and benefits plans covered under the Associates Health and Welfare Plan, making the total number of workers enrolled in the Associates Health and Welfare Plan larger than the total enrolled in the AMP alone. Dividing Wal-Marts total spending for the Associates Health and Welfare Plan by that larger number to calculate Wal-Marts average spending per worker on health, dental, and life insurance and long-term disability, temporary disability, and death benefits would yield a number even lower than that calculated by Human Rights Watch and included in the text above.
179 The average percentages cited are for Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans. KFF and HRET, Employer Health Benefits: 2005 Annual Survey, September 14, 2005, http://www.kff.org/insurance/7315/upload/7315.pdf (accessed August 1, 2006), p. 72; KFF and HRET, Employer Health Benefits: 2006 Annual Survey, September 26, 2006, p. 74. Wal-Marts Associates Medical Plan is a PPO plan with claims processing provided by BlueCross and BlueShield BlueCard Program. BlueCross and BlueShield Association, Company Facts, undated, http://www.bcbs.com/news/facts_bcbsa.html (accessed August 1, 2006).
180 Letter from Tovar, October 5, 2006.
181 KFF and HRET, Employer Health Benefits: 2006 Annual Survey, September 26, 2006, p. 35.
182 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Wal-Mart Announces Additional Health Benefits and Timeline, April 17, 2006, http://www.walmartfacts.com/articles/1650.aspx (accessed April 20, 2006); Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., My Benefits: Your 2007 Associate Benefits BookSummary Plan Description, January 1, 2007, p. 12.
183 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., My Benefits: Your 2007 Associate Benefits BookSummary Plan Description, January 1, 2007, p. 8; KFF and HRET, Employer Health Benefits: 2006 Annual Survey, September 26, 2006, p. 46. These average waiting period calculations consider only those firms with waiting periods for their eligible workers. KFF and HRET, Employer Health Benefits: 2006 Annual Survey, September 26, 2006, p. 46.
184 Memorandum from Susan Chambers, executive vice president of benefits, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., board of directors, Reviewing and Revising Wal-Marts Benefits Strategy, 2005, http://www.walmartfacts.com/articles/1905.aspx (accessed August 24, 2006).
185 How Big Can It Grow?, The Economist, April 15, 2004; US DOL, BLS, Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, undated, http://www.bls.gov/data/home.htm (accessed August 11, 2006); The Everyday Price Cutter, The Economist, September 9, 2004, http://www.economist.com/people/PrinterFriendly.cfm?Story_ID=3172658 (accessed August 24, 2006).
186 Steven Greenhouse and Michael Barbaro, Wal-Mart to Add More Part-Timers and Wage Caps, The New York Times, October 2, 2006; Alison Garrett, vice president of benefits for compliance and planning for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., testimony before the Washington State House of Representatives Health Care Committee, January 28, 2004, http://www.tvw.org/MediaPlayer/Archived/WME.cfm?EVNum=2004011197&TYPE=A (accessed August 7, 2006).
187 Greenhouse and Barbaro, Wal-Mart to Add More Part-Timers and Wage Caps, The New York Times.
188 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Wal-Marts Health Care Benefits are Competitive in the Retail Sector, July 7, 2006.
189 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., My Benefits: 2005 Associate Guide, January 1, 2005, p. 52; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., My Benefits: Your 2007 Associate Benefits BookSummary Plan Description, January 1, 2007 , p. 49.
190 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., My Benefits: Your 2007 Associate Benefits BookSummary Plan Description, January 1, 2007, pp. 46, 54. Nonetheless, for workers hired on or after January 1, 2004, transplant benefits are not available during the first year of coverage. During the second year of coverage, transplant benefits are paid at 80 percent for in-network providers, subject to a $100,000 maximum. During the third year of coverage, no maximum applies. The Freedom Plan, however, does not have a first-year benefit maximum. Ibid.
191 Human Rights Watch interview with Angela Steinbrecher, July 17, 2005. Human Rights Watch contacted the worker with kidney stones, but she refused to be interviewed for this report. Human Rights Watch telephone conversation with Wal-Mart worker with kidney stones, Greeley, Colorado, July 18, 2005.
192 Human Rights Watch interview with Larry Allen, former Wal-Mart worker, Las Vegas, Nevada, March 21, 2005.
193 Human Rights Watch interview with Marsha Wardingly, March 23, 2005.
194 Human Rights Watch interview with Jared West, July 17, 2005.
195 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., My Benefits: Your 2007 Associate Benefits BookSummary Plan Description, January 1, 2007, p. 13. Newly hired workers will also be eligible for a Wal-Mart-sponsored Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), where available. Ibid.; Your 2007 Associate Benefits Book: 2007 Plan Library State Summary: Value Performance Plan, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., CD-ROM, January 1, 2007.
196 Michael Barbaro, Wal-Mart to Expand Health Care for Workers, The New York Times, October 24, 2005; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Your Guide to 2007 Open Enrollment, September 2006, p. 8; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., My Benefits: Your 2007 Associate Benefits BookSummary Plan Description, January 1, 2007, p. 13. The Freedom Plan was originally known as the Health Savings Account (HSA) Qualified Plan and is offered in conjunction with an HSA, a pretax bank account for health expenses similar to a 401(k). Workers may only enroll in the Freedom Plan after participating in the AMP or a Wal-Mart-sponsored HMO for twelve consecutive months. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Summary of Material Modifications to Associates Health and Welfare Plan, September 1, 2006, p. 1.
197 Letter from Tovar, October 5, 2006.
198 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., My Benefits: Your 2007 Associate Benefits BookSummary Plan Description, January 1, 2007, p. 14. The spousal surcharge currently applies to workers hired after January 1, 1998. Beginning January 1, 2008, the spousal surcharge will also apply to employees hired before January 1, 1998. Ibid.
199 Ibid., p. 42. Some benefits, including mammograms, pap smears, and well-child visits, are covered even before the deductible is met. Ibid., p. 43.
200 Ibid., pp. 34-36.
201 The Standard Plan is the only one of the four plans under which participants pay 20 percent of covered expenses for both in- and out-of-network doctors. Ibid., pp. 34-35. In addition, Wal-Mart notes that not all medically necessary procedures are covered at the 80 percent rate and are, instead, subject to specific limitations or restrictions. Ibid., p. 45.
202 KFF and HRET, Employer Health Benefits: 2006 Annual Survey, September 26, 2006, p. 91.
203 Wal-Mart defines covered expenses as [c]harges for services and supplies that are: (1) Medically Necessary, (2) not in excess of Usual, Customary, and Reasonable and Maximum Allowable Charge, (3) not excluded under the Plan, and (4) not otherwise in excess of Plan limits. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., My Benefits: Your 2007 Associate Benefits BookSummary Plan Description, January 1, 2007, p. 30.
204 Ibid., pp. 34-36. This payment system is known as balance billing. Employees covered by the Standard Plan may also be balance billed when using in-network providers. Ibid.
205 Ibid., p. 43. The Value Plan sets a cap of three inpatient hospital or outpatient surgical per-event deductibles per family per year. Ibid.
206 According to Wal-Mart, the average wage of a full-time hourly worker is $10.51 per hour. Wal-Mart defines full-time employees as those working at least thirty-four hours per week. Human Rights Watch calculated the likely range of the average gross annual salary of a full-time hourly Wal-Mart worker by assuming an average weekly work schedule of between thirty-four and forty hours and by multiplying $10.51 by thirty-four by fifty-two, the number of weeks per year, and $10.51 by forty by fifty-two. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., My Benefits: 2006 Associate Benefits Book, January 1, 2006, p. 6; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Fast Facts for: wage, undated, http://www.walmartfacts.com/search/default.aspx?srchtxt=wage (accessed March 29, 2007).
207 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Wal-Marts Benefits are Competitive in the Retail Sector, July 7, 2006.
208 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., My Benefits: Benefits at a Glance, January 1, 2007, p. 2; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., My Benefits: Your 2007 Associate Benefits BookSummary Plan Description, January 1, 2007, p. 11. Human Rights Watch calculated the minimum amount a worker under the Value Plan must spend out of pocket in one year before receiving full healthcare benefits by adding the applicable annual deductible to the applicable out-of-pocket maximum. This figure, however, does not include per-event deductibles or pharmacy costs. As a result, annual out-of-pocket expenses before full coverage are likely even higher. See Appendix II for a discussion of coinsurance and the out-of-pocket maximum.
209 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Benefits Assessment Memo Statement, October 26, 2005, http://www.walmartfacts.com/articles/1905.aspx (accessed August 24, 2006) (emphasis added); Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Wal-Marts Health Care Benefits are Competitive in the Retail Sector, July 7, 2006.
210 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Wal-Mart Announces Additional Health Benefits and Timeline, April 17, 2006.
211 Your 2007 Associate Benefits Book: 2007 Plan Library State Summary: Value Performance Plan, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., CD-ROM, January 1, 2007. In 2006, Wal-Mart began offering Performance versions of the Network Saver, Value, and Freedom Plans in select areas of the United States. In each case, the new plans offer virtually the same benefits as their non-performance plan counterparts but with lower monthly premiums and smaller networks of doctors and hospitals. Ibid.
212 National Conference of State Legislatures, 2006 Pay or Play Bills: Can states mandate employer health insurance benefits?, August 31, 2006, https://www.ncsl.org/programs/health/payorplay2006.htm (accessed January 23, 2007).
213 Data showing the number of workers, by employer, who rely on taxpayer-funded state healthcare programs for themselves or their dependents is available in at least the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Wal-Mart topped the list in every study except Vermonts and one of the two conducted in Connecticut. Good Jobs First, Disclosure of Employers Whose Workers and Their Dependants are Using State Health Insurance Programs, February 16, 2007, http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/corporate_subsidy/hidden_taxpayer_costs.cfm (accessed March 14, 2007); Judith Graham and Barbara Rose, Workers Care Falls to State, The Chicago Tribune, October 7, 2006.
214 According to a Wal-Mart-conducted survey released in early 2007, 4.5 percent (roughly 59,876) of Wal-Mart associates received healthcare coverage through Medicare, 1.9 percent (roughly 25,681) through Medicaid, and 1.2 percent (roughly 15, 712) through state coverage other than Medicaid. In total, 7.5 percent of Wal-Mart workers (roughly 101,269) relied on taxpayer-funded healthcare, according to the study. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Open Enrollment Survey Results, January 10, 2007, http://www.walmartfacts.com/articles/4694.aspx (accessed January 30, 2007).
215 See, e.g., Michael Barbaro, A New Weapon for Wal-Mart: A War Room, The New York Times, November 1, 2005. As of this writing, at least fifty such healthcare bills have been introduced in state legislatures since January 2006. National Conference of State Legislatures, 2006-2007 Fair Share Health Care Fund Or Pay or Play Bills, 2007, http://www.ncsl.org/programs/health/payorplay2007.htm#2007 (accessed March 14, 2007). On July 20, 2006, a federal district court struck down Marylands Fair Share Health Care Fund Act, which required employers with more than 10,000 employees to spend 8 percent of their payroll for employees health insurance costs or pay the difference to the state. Retail Industry Leaders Association v. Fielder, 435 F.Supp.2d 481 (D. Md. 2006). On January 17, 2007, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld the district courts decision. See, e.g., Michael Barbaro, Appeals Court Rules for Wal-Mart in Maryland Health Care Case, The New York Times,January 18, 2007.
216 National Conference of State Legislatures, 2006-2007 Fair Share Health Care Fund Or Pay or Play Bills, 2007. The thirty-one states are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Ibid.
217 Human Rights Watch interview with Tony Kuc, March 16, 2005.
218 Human Rights Watch interview with Rebecca Stewart, June 14, 2005.
221 Human Rights Watch interview with Alicia Sylvia, July 15, 2005.
222 Letter from Tovar, October 5, 2006.
224 Human Rights Watch interview with Stan Turner, August 11, 2005.
225 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Fast Facts for: wage, undated (accessed March 29, 2007).
226 Support managers, customer service managers, and department managers are all hourly employees at Wal-Mart. Drogin, Statistical Analysis of Gender Patterns in Wal-Mart Workforce, February 2003, p. 9.
227 Alison Garrett, testimony before the Washington State House of Representatives Health Care Committee, January 28, 2004; Memorandum from Chambers, 2005. The memo states, [F]ull-time Associates are more expensive per labor hour (in terms of both benefits and wages). Memorandum from Chambers, 2005.
229 Marcus Kabel, Wal-Mart Workers Mixed on New Pay Caps, The Houston Chronicle, August 14, 2006.
230 Human Rights Watch telephone conversation with Michelle Walker, Wal-Mart public assistance department employee, Bentonville, Arkansas, April 26, 2006; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Wal-Mart Facts.Com, undated, http://www.walmartfacts.com, (accessed November 28, 2006).
231 ICCR, 2004, http://www.iccr.org (accessed November 28, 2006); email communication from David Schilling, program director, global corporate accountability, ICCR, to Human Rights Watch, September 8, 2006.
232 Email communication from Schilling, September 8, 2006.
233 The only specific, reliable, and comprehensive Wal-Mart wage data was produced in response to discovery requests in the class action sex discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart, discussed above. As a result of the requests, Wal-Mart turned over an electronic copy of its personnel database including data for all US employees who were employed between January, 1996 and March, 2002 and detailed bi-weekly payroll information for Wal-Mart US employees. Because of the age of the data, however, and the changes in Wal-Marts pay rates since it was generated, Human Rights Watch has not considered the data in this report. Drogin, Statistical Analysis of Gender Patterns in Wal-Mart Workforce, February 2003.
234 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Fast Facts for: wage, undated, http://www.walmartfacts.com/search/default.aspx?srchtxt=wage (accessed August 15, 2006).
235 The BLS data covers data covers hourly production workers, defined in the context of the service sector as non-supervisory workers or every employee except those whose major responsibility is to supervise, plan, or direct the work of others, such as department heads and managers. US DOL, BLS, Current Employment Statistics Report FormService Providing, July 2006, http://www.bls.gov/ces/bls790e.pdf (accessed September 8, 2006).
236 US DOL, BLS, Employment, Hours, and Earnings from the Current Employment Statistics Survey (National), 2007, http://data.bls.gov/PDQ/servlet/SurveyOutputServlet (accessed March 29, 2007). The BLS stopped calculating average hourly wages for discount department stores and wholesale clubs and supercenters as of February 2007 and has confirmed data only through October 2006. To calculate 2006 average hourly wages for these sectors, Human Rights Watch averaged the wages from January 2006 through October 2006 as provided in the relevant BLS Current Employment Statistics Survey (National) publications. Email communications from Victoria Battista, economist, Current Employment Statistics Division, BLS, to Human Rights Watch, April 4, 2007.
237 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., My Benefits: 2006 Associate Benefits Book, January 1, 2006, p. 6.
238 Human Rights Watch interview with Dina Eldridge, Sams Club worker speaking on condition of anonymity, Las Vegas, Nevada, March 24, 2004.
240 Memorandum from Chambers, 2005.
241 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Ellen Frank, Wal-Mart department manager speaking on condition of anonymity, August 8, 2006. Human Rights Watch has omitted the city from which Frank spoke to Human Rights Watch to protect her identity.
242 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Wal-Mart Increases Start Rates at 1,200 Facilities, August 7, 2006. Wal-Mart reportedly clarified, however, that those already above the limit would not receive pay cuts if they remained in their positions. Kabel, Wal-Mart Workers Mixed on New Pay Caps, The Houston Chronicle.
243 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Ellen Frank, August 8, 2006; see also, Kabel, Wal-Mart Workers Mixed on New Pay Caps, The Houston Chronicle; Marcus Kabel, Wal-Mart to raise starting pay but cap wages on job categories, The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 8, 2006.
244 Human Rights Watch interview with Fran Gempler, Sams Club worker speaking on condition of anonymity, Las Vegas, Nevada, March 24, 2004.
245 Human Rights Watch interview with Shirley Wardingly, Sams Club worker, Las Vegas, Nevada, March 23, 2005.
247 Human Rights Watch interview with Marsha Wardingly, March 23, 2005.
248 Human Rights Watch interview with Dina Eldridge, March 24, 2004
249 Human Rights Watch interview with Fran Gempler, March 24, 2004.
251 Human Rights Watch interview with Marsha Wardingly, March 23, 2005.
252 Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, 29 USC sec. 621 et seq.
253 Two companiesWal-Mart and Freeportare being excluded from the Norwegian Government Pension Fund-Globals investment universe, Norwegian Ministry of Finance press release.
255 Human Rights Watch interview with Pat Quinn, June 13, 2005.
256 Human Rights Watch interview with Dina Eldridge, March 24, 2004.
257 Human Rights Watch interview with Rebecca Stewart, June 14, 2005.
258 Human Rights Watch interview with John Weston, March 17, 2005.
259 Human Rights Watch interview with Kathleen MacDonald, June 12, 2005.
260 ICCPR, art. 22(1).
261 Two companiesWal-Mart and Freeportare being excluded from the Norwegian Government Pension Fund-Globals investment universe, Norwegian Ministry of Finance press release.