Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Email From CTA

-----Original Message-----
From: CTA - Capital Service Center []
Sent: Tuesday, September 27, 2005 9:07 PM
Subject: Local CTA Update: Katrina, Health Care & the Campaign

This has been a very challenging month, both in California and, of course, in the Gulf States. Looking forward, here's some information that may help:

- The National Education Association (NEA) has taken the lead in school-related hurricane relief. In addition to donating more than $500,000 to our colleagues affected by Katrina, the NEA has created an Adopt-a-School program, where your school can "adopt" another in need. To learn more or to contribute, please go to:

- Frustrated by skyrocketing health care costs? Tired of hearing "it's a national problem; there's not much we can do about it"? We are, too. To combat rising costs and insure better quality care, CTA has joined in partnership with districts, other unions, and private sector employers to create the California Health Care Coalition. And luckily, many of us live in or near two of the health care markets that will be targeted by the Coalition for its initial efforts: Sacramento and Modesto. To learn more about the Coalition and its goals, please go to: .

After an extremely successful July kickoff in Modesto, the group's next meeting will be in Sacramento on October 17 (if you are a local president, bargaining team member or are particularly interested in this effort and want more information, please feel free reply to this email). Stay tuned for updates on this exciting effort!

- Unfortunately, Campaign 2005 is in full swing. This is not an election we wanted or need, but it is one we must fight. To do your part -- and we need everyone to do his/her part -- please learn more about the issues ( and and volunteer at one of our local phone banks in Citrus Heights, Sacramento, San Juan, Elk Grove, Folsom-Cordova or Woodland. To volunteer, please contact Kris Dickson at CTA's Citrus Heights Office (916-723-2822 or


2 things.

1. Wal-Mart has donated how much in cash, goods, and services for Katrina relief, compared to $500K by the NEA?
2. I'm thinking I should volunteer to work on a phone bank. I'll read from the script--the script that I provide myself!


Polski3 said...

Phone Bank Script......Darren, help yourself to anything I have written about Prop. 75 for your script......:-)

Darren said...

Don't mind if I do!

Joe Thomas said...

Darren, about point #1.

Wal Mart's earnings for the first 6 months of 2005 was 147.7 billion dollars. Yes, billion. I would assume their year-end sales would be at least double since Christmas spending is in the second half of the year.

Their donation of $23 million to the Bush-Clinton fund represents .002% of their sales. It was an astonishing donation compared to the $100 I am sending the Red Cross this year, but is an insignificant drop in the ocean of their earnings... for the first six months.

The NEA (your union and mine) donated $1 million. Their budget is around $287 million dollars. That's .3% of their budgeted money, or 150 times the proportional amount Wal Mart sen-- 300 times the amount if you project out earnings for the year.

I know you know everyone does what they can. I just didn't want you to get lost in the numbers.

Actually, I am surprised you are not angry NEA sent the money without letting you vote on it.

Darren said...

At first, NEA was going to "raise" money, presumably through donations, and give it to the Red Cross. If they gave money from the "general fund", it went to a better cause than the DNC, where much of it ends up anyway. BTW, I copied directly from their email dated 9/27, and it says $500K. This has changed?

Now let me clarify this, Joe. Are you saying something negative about Wal-Mart here? Are you saying they should give more? Great that you think they should give more of *their* money, while the NEA/CTA should *take* more of mine. Wonderful consistency there. Anyway, let's see what Wal-Mart has given.

This, from their web site, pertains just to Katrina:

Financial assistance

* Wal-Mart is leading the corporate drive to assist in relief efforts, with $17 million in cash donations to aid emergency relief efforts including $15 million to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, $1 million to the Salvation Army and $1 million to the American Red Cross.
* Provided $3 million worth of merchandise and in-kind donations throughout Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas to shelters and command centers.
* Provided more than $9.2 million in cash assistance to impacted associates through Wal-Mart's Associate Disaster Relief Fund.
* Gave $20,000 in cash donations to assists various animal shelters and organizations taking in lost animals in hurricane impacted areas
* Has raised more than $7 million in public contributions made directly by customers at our 3,800 Wal-Mart and SAM'S CLUB locations. These dollars will be donated to emergency relief efforts.

Additional assistance

* In Waveland, Miss., we have set up a 16,000 square foot tent which will serve as the Wal-Mart. This facility has 6 registers, a Connection Center (for cell phones), a Kodak digital kiosk, and a TLE for tire repairs. The facility is open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
* So far, 2,450 Wal-Mart truck loads have been dispatched to communities throughout the Gulf States and Texas, including 100 truckloads of donated merchandise.
* Wal-Mart has provided its drivers and trucks in special instances to acquire and transport relief supplies, water, food and clothing donated by outside community members and organizations wanting to assist residents of Louisiana and Mississippi.
* 70 pallets of clothing were donated and shipped to World Vision’s Gifts In Kind Warehouse in Dallas to help evacuees.
* Through Wal-Mart Photo Centers and, pictures of friends and loved ones can be posted on-line for free at any store to assist in efforts to locate and find those who could be missing. Click here to view posts so far.
* Wal-Mart set up donation centers in various shelters to help arriving evacuees needing personal health and beauty products, clothing, diapers, wipes, tooth brushes, as well and food and water– all donated by Wal-Mart. For example,
* At the Houston Astrodome, Wal-Mart also provided 5 trucks of relief supplies, 45 associate volunteers, and donated a computer, fax machine, TV, VCR and children’s movies.
* At the George R. Brown Convention Center, Wal-Mart has delivered two trucks of merchandise including diapers, formula and undergarments.
* More than 150 Internet-ready computers were donated and delivered to shelters to help evacuees and families find each other via the Wal-Mart and Red Cross Web sites.
* Wal-Mart nationwide announced it would fill prescriptions, free of charge, to evacuees with emergency medicine needs and no money, even if they did not have a copy of their prescription.
* Provided products, free of charge, in hard hit areas, such as in Pass Christian and Waveland, Mississippi, where truckloads of water, ice and dry food were distributed to residents in conjunction with the National Guard. A mobile pharmacy has also been established when the store could not open in Waveland.
* Wal-Mart offered free check cashing in approximately 126 stores in the hurricane disaster area for an initial two-week period. This included government, payroll and insurance checks and computer-generated checks.
* In-store Gift Registry kiosks were made available to victims to sign up for items needed so that others across the country could see those needs and assist in purchasing and sending items to those persons.
* Donated the use of 25 vacant facilities in impacted states for relief efforts. Uses include evacuee shelters, supply depots, food pantry, a tent city for utility crews and even a dialysis clinic. The company will pay utilities on these facilities while in use.
* Established one of the first online Emergency Contact Services to be accessed through any in-store kiosk and through and, helping the public to locate and communicate with their friends and family members. It has received more than 50,000 postings and more than 2.1 million visits.
* Wal-Mart continues to allow customers to donate to relief efforts in each of its 3,800 stores and clubs. Donation links to the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund through,,,, Also allow individuals to donate to these organizations from home.


Financial assistance

* Provided cash assistance to more than 12,500 associates impacted by the storm.
* Displaced associates are eligible for up to $1,000 from the Associate Disaster Relief Fund if their homes were flooded or destroyed. Cash funding has helped associates with acquiring basic necessities such as food, shelter, clothing, etc.
* Provided associates with immediate pay for the first three days after the hurricane, whether or not they were scheduled to work.

Additional assistance

* Initially, more than 34,000 Wal-Mart associates were impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Using the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and the set up of a Wal-Mart Emergency Information Line, the company has been in contact with 97.7% of those associates to verify that they are safe. Established to answer associates questions and concerns, the line has fielded more than 28,000 calls and assisted in helping Wal-Mart provide more than $9.2 million thus far in financial needs to impacted associates.
* Wal-Mart offered employment to any associate displaced by the storm at a store, club or distribution convenient to their new location. Approximately 2,400 displaced associates were able to relocate and work at stores. Some relocated as far away as California and Nevada, but most are working in open stores in their home-state or states near the disaster area such as Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, and Florida.
* Wal-Mart’s online Emergency Contact Service has received 40,000 posts on its message board from associates alone.
* Wal-Mart waived medical and dental premiums during the initial pay period for hourly associates in affected areas.
* In Louisiana alone, 323 displaced associates are now working in new Wal-Mart stores.
* Many Wal-Mart associates who were evacuated were found by other associates in the Houston Astrodome and at the George R. Brown Convention Center by management and associates walking around and holding signs at these locations to find them.

And this pertains to Rita:

We still have 12 stores closed from Hurricane Katrina.

Community Support Efforts

* Similar to their efforts with Hurricane Katrina, Wal-Mart has stepped forward to support the community and those in need in Texas by contributing more than $1 million to Governor Perry's Hurricane Rita Fund.
* Wal-Mart has opened store #275 in Livingston, Texas and has provided resources to help feed 4,000 people in the area.
* So far, more than 370 Wal-Mart truck loads of merchandise, including 154 loads of gallon water (or approximately 621,000 gallons) have been dispatched to communities in Texas.
* On Thursday, September 22, Wal-Mart delivered a truckload of water (which was donated by Cott) to Camp Gruber in Oklahoma, which is expected to have more than 3,000 evacuees previously staying at the Houston Astrodome.
* So far, 24 generators have been staged at Sealy, TX, and 42 facilities have been scheduled to receive dry ice.

Associate Relief Efforts

* The Wal-Mart Associate Emergency Information Line is available to answer associates questions and concerns. In the wake of Katrina, the line has fielded more than 32,000 calls and assisted in helping Wal-Mart provide more than $9.2 million thus far in financial needs to impacted associates.
* An associate relocation plan will be in place similar to Hurricane Katrina.
* Associates that are displaced from their local area by Hurricane Rita will be allowed to work at another facility anywhere in the country, even if their home store reopens.
* We have asked Red Cross and the Salvation Army to post flyers in their shelters, asking our Wal-Mart and SAM'S CLUB associates to take a moment to call us at the Associate Disaster Hotline.
* Displaced associates are eligible for up to $1,000 from the Associate Disaster Relief Fund if their homes were flooded or destroyed. The cash funding will help associates with acquiring basic necessities such as food, shelter, clothing, etc.

Emergency Contact Service

* Emergency Contact Service - post a message or search for a message from a loved one who is affected by the recent Hurricanes. This service is also available in any Wal-Mart Store, SAM’S CLUB, Neighborhood Market, or Distribution Center. Anyone in the affected area can go to their local store and post a message regarding their well-being. Please click the link above to search for information regarding loved ones in the affected area.

Those damned capitalists.

And Joe, how DARE the NEA tell me I shouldn't shop there?

And one more thing while I'm resting, Joe.

Wal-Mart *earned* their money. NEA *took* mine. Every single dollar spent at Wal-Mart was spent voluntarily. NEA cannot say the same about the money it receives.

EdWonk said...

Some of the reasons why Wal-Mart attracts such controversy is because of its well-known anti-unionism.

Truth of the matter is that Wal-Mart is governed as much (or more) by the laws of economics as it is by the laws of Man.

If any union were to gain a foothold in Wal-Mart, it goes without saying that worker pay would rise. And if Wal-Mart is forced to spend more on wages and benefits, then the costs that it charges for its products must necessarily rise as well.

While Wal-Mart's prices are going-up, there are any number of non-union competitors (Such as Target, K-Mart, etc.) who will step right in with their lower prices and snap-up Wal-Mart's market share.

That would put Wal-Mart at an even greater competitive disadvantage as it will no longer be able to obtain the very cheapest prices for its goods as the volume of merchandise ordered will also decline. (The economy of scale.)

Remember when K-Mart was the number 1 discount retailer? Wal-Mart learned from the mistakes committed by its erstwhile competiion, and will go to the wall to prevent them.

The only way to bring higher wages and better benefits to folks that work for Wal-Mart type retailers is through legislation that would be applicable to all retailers.

That way, no firm would be forced into a competitive disadvantage because it treats its employees better.

Should Wal-Mart ever become unionized, I would advise anyone holding it stock to sell immediately, as it would just be a matter of time before some other retailer undercuts them.

The laws of economics are relentless.

Attempting to organize boycotts of Wal-Mart is wasted effort by the unions, as Wal-Mart will simply not keep any location open that does vote in a union. (They closed a store in Canada's Quebec Province that did vote to unionize.)

Joe Thomas said...

Darren, you take the cake. Asking questions and then answering them :)

I only wanted to point out, as I originally wrote, that everyone does what they can. Wal-Mart's donation was an astonishing amount, and I did not imply they should have given more.

You were comparing what a company with $300 billion in earnings was donating compared to a union with less than $300 million-- and doing it in a disparaging way.

My real mistake was commenting at all. It seems as if there is only one right answer around here.

My fault.

Darren said...

Actually, Joe, I brought it up in the first place was because NEA says I shouldn't shop at Wal-Mart, and I wanted to point out how much they've done (and take a swipe at NEA in the process).

Don't want to read swipes about NEA, Joe? You've come to the wrong place.

I encourage your participation, but you need to realize that your pie-in-the-sky unionism will face a very steep uphill battle here.