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Press Release: SEIU

It’s No Urban Legend: There’s a Hidden Cost to Wal-Mart’s “Always Low Prices”

SEIU’s PurpleOcean.Org to Get Out the Real Facts about Wal-Mart and Working Families in America

January 24, 2005. WASHINGTON, DC – Powered by new technology and grassroots activism, PurpleOcean.org, the world's first Internet-based union membership program, today launches a nationwide campaign at 11 a.m. (EST) to spread the word about the real facts — and cost — behind Wal-Mart’s “always low prices.”

By logging on to www.PurpleOcean.org/walmart, Internet users will be able to learn  the truth about Wal-Mart’s impact on the American economy, working families and communities — how, for instance, low wages and poor benefits force many Wal-Mart employees to rely on tax-payer dollars for health care and how, despite its attempts to foster a “made-in-the-USA” image, Wal-Mart relies heavily on Chinese workers and factories to produce its goods.

Wal-Mart recently launched its own multi-million-dollar advertising blitz to silence critics of its race-to-the bottom business model, complaining that many of the statements circulating about Wal-Mart pay and benefits were nothing more than “urban legends.” 

Through the PurpleOcean.org “fact-checker,” consumers will be able draw their own conclusions about Wal-Mart’s claims that it offers competitive wages that are good for workers, the country, and the economy.  (Fact: the average pay for Wal-Mart sales clerks was $8.23 in 2001 and amounted to $800 below the federal poverty line for a family of three.)

Using a unique feature of the PurpleOcean.org Web site, users can then forward this information to friends and family to actually track its progress and watch its growth. The first 25 participants who get 200 people to register for the Wal-Mart Fact Checker Project may be eligible to receive $1,000 towards their 2005 health care insurance premium. If they already have employer-provided health care, they can elect to have this money go to help a Wal-Mart employee pay for their health insurance.

An affiliated body of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the nation’s largest and fastest-growing union, PurpleOcean.org is the latest advance of the American labor movement. Through PurpleOcean.org, people concerned about the challenges facing working families can join with millions of union workers and their families — ranging from librarians and public service employees to security guards and janitors — to fight both online and offline for corporate accountability and to win quality, affordable health care for all.

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With 1.7 million members, SEIU is the largest and fastest growing union in the AFL-CIO and the nation’s largest health care union, largest building service union, and second largest public employee union. Purple Ocean.org is a membership organization of SEIU.