NY1: Wal-Mart Opponents Riled Over Supreme Court Ruling
By Michael Herzenberg
June 22, 2011
Original available here
After suffering a defeat in the nation's highest court this week, opponents of Wal-Mart are regrouping and hoping to keep the megastore from coming to New York City.
There is plenty of anger at the U.S. Supreme Court over its decision to throw out a class-action sex discrimination suit against Wal-Mart.
"The blow yesterday from the supreme court was a terrible blow for working women," said City Councilwoman Jessica Lappin.
All of the justices agreed with the retail giant that more than 1.5 million female workers in different jobs at different stores do not have enough in common to file one lawsuit together.
"When you cheat a women from fair pay you cheat her children," said NOW NYC President Jane Manning.
Women's rights groups, unions and an anti Wal-Mart organization also expressed frustration in front of City Hall Tuesday that the retailer may be making progress in setting up shop in the five boroughs.
"This is one of their dirty strategies. Brooklyn is ground zero," said Bertha Lewis of Wal-Mart Free NYC"
Attention has focused on Brooklyn's East New York neighborhood and plans for a new shopping center there spearheaded by the Related Companies right near Gateway One, to be called Gateway Two. Wal-Mart won't confirm its interest in the location and Related Companies would not comment either.
Wal-Mart doesn't own the land and isn't developing it so it doesn't need City Council approval. The company only needs to sign a lease with the owner.
"You want to come to Brooklyn come talk to the community group," Lewis said.
"They are doing an end run around City Council," said City Councilwoman Letitia James.
Council members say negotiations with the company will resume next month.
"We are using our moral force and working with our allies in the labor movement to make sure that workers are protected," added James.
Wal-Mart would not answer NY1's questions directly Tuesday and issued the following statement:
"Walmart has a long history of providing advancement opportunities for our female associates and will continue its efforts to build a robust pipeline of future female leaders."