Friday, September 9, 2011

Does Walmart Support Obama's Jobs Plan?

White House sends reporters more than fifty e-mails from lawmakers, political leaders, business CEOS and groups supporting President's American Jobs Act, but the country's largest grocer is missing in action...
The White House rained forty-three e-mails into reporters' in boxes over the course of an hour and a half on Thursday night following President Obama's address to a Joint Session of Congress to unveil the American Jobs Act. The storm of e-mails--all in support of the President's plan--began anew this morning, at 6:51 AM, starting with a message from Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. By late afternoon, there were thirteen new statements of support. But there's one major voice missing from all these e-mails: Grocery giant Walmart. The company is both the largest grocery chain in the US, and the largest private employer in America, with more than 1.1 million workers. It has also created a huge partnership with the White House for First Lady Obama's Let's Move! campaign. (Above: Mrs. Obama speaking at the event unveiling the partnership)

The e-mails sent from the White house all laud the President's $450 billion measure, and include missives from Members of Congress, Governors, Mayors, interest groups like the Center for American Progress, organized labor (the AFL-CIO; the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, SEIU, to name three); educational groups, construction groups. The high-profile business CEOs who were invited to sit with Mrs. Obama to watch the President speak also issued statements, including General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt; American Express CEO & Chair Kenneth Chenault; and Steve Case, CEO of Revolution and co-founder of AOL.

But no one from the Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart has said a word about the President's jobs plan, though CEO Mike Duke has met with the President numerous times at the White House. Leslie Dach, Executive VP of Corporate Affairs, joined Mrs. Obama at an event at the White House in July to unveil a pledge to build up to 300 Walmart stores in areas identified as "food deserts." Walmart President Bill Simon joined Mrs. Obama in Washington to first announce the company's partnership with the Let's Move! campaign.

Obama Foodorama queried Walmart this morning on the corporate position on the President's plan, but has not received a response. The company has posted no statement on its website, either.

Many of the President's proposals--for payroll taxcuts and other job-creating initiatives--would have an impact on Walmart and its employees. The company is non-Union--or aggressively anti-Union, if you believe its critics--and organized labor is highly enthusiastic about the President's new plan. What's Walmart's position on the American Jobs Act? It's ridiculous to even guess.

But the First Lady has realistically pointed out that the White House Walmart partnership will be a big business economic booster for America's largest grocery chain.

"This is a business move for them and we know it. They said more of their customers are coming and looking for healthier options because fortunately demand is changing," Mrs. Obama told her print reporters during a luncheon in Feburary.

Perhaps the American Jobs Act is one "partnership" Walmart is not interested in.

Above: A screenshot of just some of the emails sent on Thursday night.

*Photo by Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obama Foodorama

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