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San Diego Community Groups Release Open Letter to Wal-Mart

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Contact: Patrick Pierce
(619) 807-0850 Cell

An Open Letter To Wal-Mart

Aaron Rios
Senior Manager for Public Affairs & Government Relations
Wal-Mart
aaron@walmartsandiego.com

To Wal-Mart:

Upon hearing of Wal-Mart’s plan to open a store in Logan Heights’ and Sherman Heights’ iconic Farmer’s Market building on Imperial Avenue between 21st and 22nd Streets, we as community; residents, non-profit organizations, faith, and labor leaders began the process of soliciting the community's input on the proposed store. As part of that process, we have compiled a list of priorities for prospective business partners.

On March 29th, we met with Wal-Mart and its consultant to deliver the community’s expectations. We specifically asked that these commitments be addressed in a legally binding community benefits agreement.

The community’s list of priorities includes local hire, affordable health benefits, traffic mitigation, safety improvements, and investment in community programs. All of the issues included are considered vital commitments to meeting the needs of local residents and important for any large retailer interested in being a partner in the success of our community. We believe that the only way to truly commit to those priorities is with a legally binding agreement with the community.

Wal-Mart has asked us to be given until April 12th to review this request and provide a response to community leaders. Wal-Mart’s history does not suggest it is willing to partner with communities in this fashion, but we remain steadfast in our belief that if Wal-Mart is serious about its promises to this community, there should be no problem with making those promises legally enforceable. We look forward to Wal-Mart’s response and to working together on an agreement that makes the community a full and equal partner in their new Sherman Heights store.

Wal-Mart’s ultimate decision this week will guide us going forward. This is a community that deserves real business partners and the respect that comes with a legally binding agreement. We'll help this community stand up for what we deserve. It's now up to Wal-Mart to choose to be that partner.

Signed,

Casa de Vecinos De Organizados
Center on Policy Initiatives (CPI)
Empower San Diego
Environmental Health Coalition (EHC)
Father Robert Fambrini, Pastor, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Logan Heights
Historic Barrio District CDC
Ironworkers Union, Local 229
Justice Overcoming Boundaries (JOB)
Laborers Union, Local 89
Logan Heights Neighborhood Council
Occupyrcorner San Diego
Raza Rights Coalition
San Diego Labor Council
Save Our Barrios Committee
Sherman Heights Community Center
Sherman Heights Neighborhood Council
Unión del Barrio
United Domestic Workers
United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 135
United Service Workers West
UNITE-HERE, Local 30


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The San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO represents more than 192,000 union workers in the region and advocates for an economy with more jobs, better jobs and better lives for all workers in the region - union and non-union.