Saturday, April 23, 2011


Barron, Small Business Owner, Local Leaders Say Related Wouldn’t Have to Duck Gateway Mall Questions if it Partnered with Trustworthy Stores
Barron to Go Store-to-Store to Mobilize Small Business Owners in Fight Against Developer’s Plans for a Wal-mart

Today Councilman Charles Barron joined with community leaders, residents, local business owners including the owner of New Lots Hardware Eddie Peralta in front of his local business to slam Gateway Mall developer Related Companies for failing to come clean on plans for Gateway II with regard to Wal-mart

Neighborhood residents and business owners oppose Wal-mart because they say the world’s richest retailer can’t be trusted, with its past record of pushing out local retailers, discriminating against African-Americans, Latinos, and women, and running expensive public relations campaign instead of answering questions at public hearings.
Wal-Mart is trying to buy its way into our communities with a massive ad campaign, fancy commercials, and a slick website, instead of participating in open and public hearings and answering the community’s concerns. We are demanding that the Related Companies honor the City Council agreement not to bring Wal-Mart to our community,” said Councilman Charles Barron. “The reality is that Wal-Mart is a predatory retailer that pays low wages,provides inadequate healthcare and pensions and are anti-union. If Wal-Mart comes in, jobs will be lost.

Nathan Bradley of Community Board 5 says, "I have placed many phone calls to Related companies to asked them to come to our community board meeting to present their plans for Gateway II to CB 5, but they have ignored the community and have not responded to the many requests".

I have tried to communicate with Wal-mart with no success. We would like them to participate in our community forum on April 28, 2011. It will be a good opportunity to speak with community residents. Unfortunately no one has responded," said Anna Aguirre, from community organization UCC.
  • Wal-mart says it will build stores with union labor and pay employees above-average wages. They said the same thing in Chicago- spending $2.5 million on favorable advertising in the first 6 months of 2010. But as soon as Wal-mart won the zoning approval it needed, it said it never made a wage promise (June 2010), and publicly distanced itself from union labor (Feb 2011)
  • According to an April 2011 Crain’s Chicago investigation, Wal-mart’s “benefits to minority contractors didn’t match the hype,” with much of the large-scale work going to non-minority firms.
Wal-mart doesn’t share our values- they’re facing the largest gender bias class-action lawsuit in U.S. history, they sell more guns than any company in the world, and they deny workers a fair day’s pay and breaks,” said Maria Maisonet, East New York resident. “New Yorkers know better. We know past track records matter. And that’s why small business owners, tenant leaders, and community leaders are coming together to agree: Wal-mart doesn’t share our values, it can’t be trusted to keep its word, and doesn’t belong in East New York.”

Related suffered a week of negative press around its rumored partnership with Wal-mart, including a flash mob at the company’s head quarters, public scrutiny of the Gateway appraisal, and criticism for obfuscating its plans to bring Wal-mart to New York City.
East New Yorkers urged Related Companies to ditch Wal-mart, and instead choose responsible retailers and grocers like Shoprite, who has publicly expressed interest in the site.

According to a recent Crain’s New York article, full-time workers at ShopRite start at $11.75 an hour, and those wages go up to $12.50 within a year on the job. Wages continue to rise, based on experience, and the average full-time wage at the supermarket chain is $16 an hour. Employees also receive either a $1-an-hour bonus or time-and-a-half for working Sundays, depending on their length of service. Health care and pension benefits are fully paid by ShopRite, and 87% of ShopRite workers receive health coverage.

Wal-mart, on the other hand, says it pays an average hourly wage of $13.09 to full-time associates in its New York state stores, but it won’t release starting salary information, and has consistently denied an invitation from New York UFCW locals to have the state controller audit its records to ascertain actual wage levels. According to IBISWorld the average Wal-mart sales associate working full-time hours earns$8.81/hour.

After the press conference, Councilman Barron visited nearby small business owners to engage them in the fight against the developer’s plans to bring in Wal-mart.

We make New York great and keep the money in our communities where it belongs. We can’t let Wal-mart, or Related Companies, push us out now,” said Eddie Peralta, small business owner of New Lots Hardware.