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Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers' Rights at Wal-Mart [NOOK Book]

Overview

On television, Wal-Mart employees are smiling women delighted with their jobs. But reality is another story. In 2000, Betty Dukes, a fifty-two-year-old black woman in Pittsburg, California, became the lead plaintiff in Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, a class action, representing 1.6 million women. In her explosive investigation of this historic lawsuit, journalist Liza Featherstone reveals how Wal-Mart, a self-styled "family-oriented," Christian company: Deprives women (but not men) of the training they need to ...
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Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers' Rights at Wal-Mart

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Overview

On television, Wal-Mart employees are smiling women delighted with their jobs. But reality is another story. In 2000, Betty Dukes, a fifty-two-year-old black woman in Pittsburg, California, became the lead plaintiff in Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, a class action, representing 1.6 million women. In her explosive investigation of this historic lawsuit, journalist Liza Featherstone reveals how Wal-Mart, a self-styled "family-oriented," Christian company: Deprives women (but not men) of the training they need to advance. Relegates women to lower-paying jobs like selling baby clothes, reserving the more lucrative positions for men. Inflicts punitive demotions on employees who object to discrimination. Exploits Asian women in its sweatshops in Saipan, a U.S. commonwealth. Featherstone goes on to reveal the creative solutions that Wal-Mart workers around the country have found, like fighting for unions, living-wage ordinances, and childcare options. Selling Women Short combines the personal stories of these employees with superb investigative journalism to show why women who work these low-wage jobs are getting a raw deal, and what they are doing about it. A new preface to the paperback edition will reflect on Wal-Mart's response to this lawsuit and its critics-including this one.
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Editorial Reviews

Washington Post
Her rigorous reporting on the stories behind the lawsuit makes the book a must-read for Wal-Mart's friends and foes.
Publishers Weekly
Fortune magazine's "Most Admired Company" for two years running, Wal-Mart offers its customers low prices and its shareholders big profits, but as freelance journalist Featherstone (Students Against Sweatshops) argues, this comes at great cost. Wal-Mart's success is based not only on its inexpensive merchandise or its popularity (Featherstone cites working-class shoppers and Paris Hilton among Wal-Mart's fans) but on bad labor practices. Using a close investigation of the class action suit Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and extensive interviews with female workers, Featherstone indicts Wal-Mart for low wages, discriminatory policies and sexist practices. "[Our] district manager sometimes held lunch meetings at Hooters restaurants," one female employee explains; another recalls being asked to work "off the clock." Failure to post open positions, exclusively male social gatherings, pay discrimination, "persistent segregation of departments"-all are part, she argues, of Wal-Mart's deep-rooted culture of sexism. Many women employed full-time at Wal-Mart make so little that they are dependent on public assistance: "It is curious that Wal-Mart-the icon of American free enterprise and self-sufficiency...-turns out to be one of the biggest `welfare queens' of our time," Featherstone writes. She doesn't give much time to related topics-racism, exploited overseas labor-but this is a clearly written and compelling book. It may not keep readers from their local Supercenters, but it should make them take a closer look at who's working the register. (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786738168
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 4/20/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • File size: 291 KB

Meet the Author

Liza Featherstone is a freelance journalist whose work has been featured in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, Rolling Stone, and the Washington Post, among other publications. She lives in New York City.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: American Goliath 1
1 Female Trouble 13
2 "Made in America": The Wal-Mart Culture and Its Promises 51
3 "An Exceptional Woman": (Non)promotions at Wal-Mart 90
4 Always Low Wages! 125
5 Possibilities and Limitations 154
6 WWJD? Organize Wal-Mart! 177
7 "Attention, Shoppers!" 211
Epilogue 245
Afterword 261
Notes 269
Acknowledgments 277
Index 279
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