Wal-Mart blasted on all sides for partnering with G&L Chamber of Commerce
The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce recently announced a partnership with Wal-Mart:
Wal-Martâ€™s involvement with NGLCC, Dee Breazeale, vice president of divisional merchandise, SAMâ€™S CLUB Jewelry, will serve on the organizationâ€™s Corporate Advisory Council (CAC). The CAC is composed of NGLCC corporate partners whose mission is to discuss issues upon which members of the NGLCC and CAC work together to educate Corporate America and the public on the economic benefits of providing a diverse workplace and creating mutually beneficial relationships with the LGBT and LGBT-friendly business community.
In addition, Wal-Mart will assist the NGLCC in developing, expanding and promoting corporate diversity business development and procurement opportunities by sponsoring some of its programs including two of the organizationâ€™s conferences.
The NGLCC also promptly got blasted by both labor groups and the AmTaliban, albeit for different reasons.
As we all know, recognition of the power of the pink purse is being recognized by Corporate America; so an alliance with the country’s largest retailer is not all that surprising, given profit is what Wal-Mart is all about — and that’s the problem for labor organizations. In an interview with PageOneQ, Jeremy Bishop, the program director of Pride at Work (an arm of the AFL-CIO that works with the labor and LGBT community on social and economic justice issues, was blunt about the partnership:
We’re not exactly sure how Wal-Mart fits into the LGBT friendly business category,” he said. “In fact, We’re not sure how Wal-Mart fits into anything worker friendly.
…”Encourage the NGLCC to demand that Wal-Mart create ‘friendly’ practices, of say, paying their employees above poverty line wages, offering affordable health care, and when that is done, they could think about offering domestic partner benefits and dealing with the massive class action lawsuit facing them regarding gender discrimination.”
Naturally, the NGLCC issued a response.
Wal-Mart is the latest company that has heard our message about completing the circle of corporate diversity. No longer is just marketing to the LGBT segment enough. No longer is having a corporate non discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation enough. If a company is as truly committed to being a good corporate citizen in the LGBT space as they are with other diverse communities, then they need to buy back and invest in LGBT community-owned businesses like they do with other diverse segments. Their supplier base, those from whom they purchase goods and services, must look like the customer and employee base they have or are trying to attract.
Additionally, as the national LGBT business advocacy organization, we would be doing a disservice to LGBT businesses and the community at large if we did not extend our hand to help a company that has extended its hand in an effort to become a better advocate for its LGBT employees, customers and suppliers. In fact, as you might know, Wal-Mart is also partnering with Out & Equal, a national LGBT advocacy organization that specializes in educating HR professionals and employee resource groups on equal policies, practices and benefits in the workplace for LGBT people. These partnerships are further evidence that Wal-Mart is reaching out to learn best practices from other companies and LGBT advocacy organizations.
Both positions are pretty darn clear and not completely incompatible, but it’s hard to look at Wal-Mart’s litany of anti-worker policies and lawsuits at its door. Money is what drives its outreach, not altruism or fairness — Wal-Mart is not a Buy Blue Costco. That said, the corporate giant is an 800-lb gorilla that could ignore LGBT outreach and do just fine on the bottom line.
Over in AmTalibanland, Peter LaBarbera and Matt Barber, fired off a breathless Americans for Truth press release, focusing on the real problem — that damned Homosexual AgendaWal-Mart is signing on to…Petey:
While understandably flying under the radar, Wal-Martâ€™s British subsidiary recently introduced a â€œgay weddingâ€? line of products, and Wal-Mart corporate has inexplicably re-defined â€œfamilyâ€? in its corporate policies to include sexual partners of the same gender. It has also added employees who choose to engage in dangerous homosexual behaviors to its anti-discrimination policies.
… â€œWal-Mart has always been a favorite of God-fearing Middle American customers who hold traditional family values. Iâ€™m very surprised that Wal-Mart would now bite the hand that feeds it and thumb its nose at those very customers. It seems to me that Wal-Mart should reconsider its unsavory alliance with these extremist homosexual activists in todayâ€™s heated and polarizing culture war. It risks entirely alienating the vast majority of its customer base. Perhaps this great corporation with such an impressive history should play Switzerland in the culture war, return to a position of neutrality, and get back to doing what it has always done best â€“ selling high quality products at the lowest prices available.â€?
[A new investigation is about to be launched…] Americans for Truth indicated its intent to further investigate and report on Wal-Martâ€™s recent endorsement of the homosexual lifestyle, and to request a meeting with Wal-Mart officials to ensure that its family-values employees will not be discriminated against in light of Wal-Martâ€™s growing support of the anti-family, anti-Christian homosexual lobby.
BTW, I guess Porno Petey likes the publicity I give him here on the Blend, because I am now on the AFT mailing list without having joined.
Jeremy at Good As You comments on the bleatings about Wal-Mart from Tony Perkins at the Family Research Council and penis-possessing Bob Knight at Concerned Women for America who said the big box store is:
“validating the idea that homosexual activists have the right to shake down corporations out of fear of being called bigots.”
Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Oh, that’s too funny.
BONUS: The American Family Association is on Wal-Mart’s case because Sam’s Club refuses to keep the “Christ in Christmas” in its advertising for 2006.
Randy Sharp, special projects director for the American Family Association, says it looks like Sam’s Club parent company Wal-Mart is adhering to the same “holiday” policy in the 2006 season as it followed in 2005. “Last year,” he says, “Wal-Mart refused to use the word Christmas in their advertising, and they were inundated by ang
ry customers. And already this year they’re showing their true colors by again refusing to acknowledge Christmas.”
This past June, Sharp notes, AFA sent Wal-Mart a copy of a letter and more than 200,000 petition signatures that went to most major retailers in America, asking them not to ban the word Christmas from their advertising and promotions. He says there was no answer until the advertisement in Source came out.
“Last week the first Christmas ad came out, and that was for Sam’s Club, owned by the Wal-Mart Stores Corporation,” the AFA spokesman explains. “The ad is clearly meant to promote Christmas decorations and Christmas tree items,” he says, “but Sam’s Club refuses to refer to Christmas as Christmas. They simply use the generic term holiday.”