Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers' Rights at Wal-Mart

Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers' Rights at Wal-Mart

by Liza Featherstone
     
 

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Wal-Mart is the biggest private employer in the United States. It controls the quality, quantity, and prices of household goods in many markets. It fosters a wholesome image through its advertising and in the content of the media it sells. To keep prices low, it keeps starting wages low, but maintains it offers training and promotional opportunities within a corporate… See more details below

Overview

Wal-Mart is the biggest private employer in the United States. It controls the quality, quantity, and prices of household goods in many markets. It fosters a wholesome image through its advertising and in the content of the media it sells. To keep prices low, it keeps starting wages low, but maintains it offers training and promotional opportunities within a corporate culture that rewards dedication and industriousness. However, according to Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the class-action lawsuit against it, it does not offer those opportunities based on seniority or performance but largely on whether the employee is male or female. Journalist Featherstone examines the conditions that led to the lawsuit, the possibility of its reducing harassment and discrimination in the general workplace, and the impact it may have on the people likely to shop and work at Wal-Mart. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465023158
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
11/01/2004
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.26(w) x 8.34(h) x 0.96(d)

What People are saying about this

Naomi Klein
A devastating story, superbly told. This is a breakthrough book.
—(Naomi Klein, author of No Logo)
Laura Flanders
Featherstone returns to the women of Wal-Mart what the corporation would steal: their humanity, their insight, their voice.
—(Laura Flanders, author of Bushwomen: Tales of a Cynical Species)
Frances Fox Piven
A must read for an understanding of the new service economy and the risks it poses to the U.S.
—(Frances Fox Piven, author of The War at Home and Regulating the Poor)
Andrew Ross
Featherstone's book is an important addition to the gathering arsenal of disgust that will bring Wal-Mart tumbling down.
—(Andrew Ross, author of Low Pay, High Profile and No-Collar)
Barbara Ehrenreich
Selling Women Short is a bargain even Wal-Mart can't match... It offers an unprecedented glimpse into Wal-Mart's pseudo-Christian, ultra-macho, corporate culture.
—(Barbara Ehrenreich, NYTimes Bestselling author of Nickel & Dimed)

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