Bentonville, Ark. , August 15, 2006 – Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. today released the attached letter to its roughly 18,000 Iowa associates regarding the decision of a few elected leaders and candidates for office to attack the company at union-funded publicity events this month in Iowa. This is the first step in an ongoing effort to educate the company’s associates about candidates’ remarks and the factual errors they may make in talking about Wal-Mart. In another attached letter, the company also invites candidates to tour stores and meet associates to learn the truth about Wal-Mart.
“The paid critics and the politicians who join them at these publicity stops are attacking the wrong company and should stop telling working families where to shop and work,” said Wal-Mart vice president of corporate communications, Bob McAdam. “We’re disappointed that these politicians are speaking out without paying attention to the facts and will be sure to inform our associates across Iowa and in other key states that these candidates are not telling the truth about Wal-Mart. We certainly hope these political leaders will accept our invitation to tour our stores, to talk with our associates, and to learn first-hand the truth about our company.”
Wal-Mart creates tens of thousands of jobs every year, many in neighborhoods that desperately need jobs. In the last three years alone, Wal-Mart has created 240,000 jobs nationwide, with an average full-time, hourly wage of $10.11 – and it’s even higher in urban areas. Wal-Mart offers health coverage to both full and part-time associates, something uncommon among many retail employers. Wal-Mart’s health plans start at just $11 per month in some areas and just 30 cents more per day for children. Today, more than 1 million people are covered under Wal-Mart plans.
“We plan to make all of our roughly 18,000 associates in Iowa aware of the misguided attacks aimed at scoring special-interest political points by playing politics with our company,” McAdam continued. “We think elected officials should spend their time on real solutions to real challenges. That’s why we hope they are open to learning the facts about our company and what we are doing to make the lives of working families even better.”
More than 127 million customers visit Wal-Mart stores across America every week, more than the total number of votes cast in the 2004 presidential election. As a result of findings from a recent survey for Working Families for Wal-Mart, Democratic pollster Thomas Riehle explained how “Democrats Make Wal-Mart an Issue at Their Peril.” According to Riehle’s omnibus poll taken for the respected Cook Political Report, 62% of respondents disapproved, and only 21% approved of “Democratic candidates making Wal-Mart an issue in November’s elections.” Even a majority of union households opposed this strategy. Overall, 40% of registered voters would vote against an anti- Wal-Mart Democratic candidate, while just 18% would vote for such a candidate.
“It’s surprising to see candidates take part in attacks that are rejected even by the base voters they need to win,” McAdam said. “We believe that playing to a small, increasingly special-interest audience at the expense of working families will prove to be a failed strategy.”
Wal-Mart said it will soon begin sending “fact check” letters to its associates in other key states, including more than 8,000 associates in New Hampshire, nearly 27,000 in South Carolina, and more than 12,000 associates in Nevada.
Wal-Mart also made the following materials available to the candidates: Fact Sheets on the company’s economic benefits, sustainability efforts, health care benefits, and diversity. A copy of pollster Thomas Riehle’s memo also was provided.
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAM’S CLUB locations in the United States. The company also operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom. The company’s securities are listed on the New York and NYSE Arca stock exchanges under the symbol WMT. More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting www.walmartfacts.com.
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