|Sage Sweetwater novels now gearing up to be sold at Wal-marts |
Retail behemoth Wal-Mart has teamed up with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in an effort to advance diversity within the store's associate, supplier, and customer bases.
As part of the arrangement, Dee Breazeale, a vice president at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., will serve on the gay and lesbian chamber's Corporate Advisory Council, which works to educate corporate America on the benefits of workplace diversity. Other companies with representatives on the Corporate Advisory Council include IBM, Wells Fargo, and Kodak.
Wal-Mart has also agreed to sponsor some of the chamber's programs, including two of its conferences.
"We are honored to have Wal-Mart's support of the NGLCC," said Justin Nelson, co-founder and president of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. "Our partnership will not only provide more opportunities for the NGLCC but the business community as a whole."
Not everyone thinks the Wal-Mart/NGLCC partnership is a good idea. Jeremy Bishop, program director of Pride at Work, a constituency group of the AFL-CIO labor organization, criticized the Bentonville, Ark.- based corporation for its inhospitality to gay and labor concerns.
"The mission statement says it is committed 'to forming a broad-based coalition of LGBT-owned and -friendly businesses,'" Bishop told PageOneQ.com, referring to the gay and lesbian chamber's own description of its agenda.
"We're not exactly sure how Wal-Mart fits into the LGBT-friendly business category," Bishop said. "In fact, we're not sure how Wal-Mart fits into anything worker-friendly."
He said he would rather the chamber "demand that Wal-Mart create 'friendly' practices of, say, paying their employees above-poverty-line wages, offering affordable health care, and when that is done, they could think about offering domestic-partner benefits and dealing with the massive class-action lawsuit facing them regarding gender discrimination."
That lawsuit, the largest private civil rights case in U.S. history, alleges unequal pay and opportunities for up to 1.6 million current and past Wal-Mart employees, AP reported. The Advocate)