Magazine article Workforce Management

3 Execs Fired; AFL-CIO Plans Wage Campaign

Magazine article Workforce Management

3 Execs Fired; AFL-CIO Plans Wage Campaign

Article excerpt

Wal-Mart watch

IT'S BEEN A BUSY few weeks on the workforce management front at WalMart, with firings, union activity and countermeasures in the massive classaction discrimination suit against the world's largest retailer.

Wal-Mart announced last month that it had fired three executives and four other employees for violating company policy. Jim Haworth, executive vice president of operations for the Wal-Mart Stores division, has been widely reported to be one of those terminated executives. Haworth is a key figure in a class-action suit against the company in which 1.6 million female workers are seeking billions of dollars in back pay for alleged discrimination.

In a photo distributed to Wal-Mart employees in the company newsletter, Haworth was shown sitting in a chair modeled as a leopard-skin spike heel. "That shoe picture demonstrates the attitude that Wal-Mart has toward women," says Brad Seligman, the attorney representing the female Wal-Mart workers.

A Wal-Mart spokesperson would not confirm the names of those fired or comment on the reasons for the firing other than to say, "We don't anticipate any more terminations related to this."

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart has asked an appeals court to overturn a ruling that allowed those 1.6 million female workers to sue the company for discrimination as a group. Wal-Mart wants the class-action certification removed, saying its studies show there is no disparity in pay between male and female workers at 90 percent of its 3,400 stores and no "pattern of promotion decisions adverse to women." Scligman has until Dec. 29 to respond with a brief and expects a court date to be set in spring.

"I have learned not to guess what judges will do, but we have an extremely strong case," he says.

In other Wal-Mart news, the AFL-CIO and several other unions are planning an unusual and expensive campaign to pressure the chain into improving its wages and benefits. …

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