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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

ISBN10: 0465023150
ISBN13: 978-0465023158
Author: Liza Featherstone
Book title: Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers' Rights At Wal-mart
Publisher: Basic Books; First printing. edition (November 2, 2004)
Language: English
Category: Politics & Government
Size PDF: 1214 kb
Size ePub: 1676 kb
Size Fb2: 1540 kb
Rating: 4.8/5
Votes: 812
Pages: 288 pages

Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers' Rights At Wal-mart by Liza Featherstone



On television, Wal-Mart employees are smiling women delighted with their jobs. But reality is another story. In 2000, Betty Dukes, a 52-year-old black woman in Pittsburg, California, became the lead plaintiff in Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores , a class action representing 1.4 million women. In an 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. commonwealthFeatherstone reveals the creative solutions 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 low-wage jobs are getting a raw deal, and what they are doing about it.

Reviews

Rainshaper
"Selling Women Short" by Liza Featherstone is an engaging book about the historic 'Betty Dukes vs Wal-Mart Stores Inc' class action lawsuit that alleges Wal-Mart's institutionalized discrimination of its female employees. Skillfully weaving anecdotes and profiles of key plaintiffs and their claims of sexism with research about Wal-Mart and its Orwellian corporate culture, the book provides an excellent critique of the company's numerous illegal behaviors and a humane narrative of its female employees' struggle for justice.

Interestingly, Ms. Featherstone's analysis suggests that the company's paradigmatic success is attributable to its parasitical relationship with the declining fortunes of the working class. Wal-Mart cynically promotes itself as a pro-family, pro-American company even as it offers poverty-level wages and imports most of its wares from foreign, low-wage countries. In this manner, Ms. Featherstone explains that Wal-Mart both contributes to and profits from the exploitation of marginalized female laborers.

Ms. Featherstone is careful to discuss the limitations of the lawsuit as a tool to effect systemic change at Wal-Mart. She contends that it is probably equally important for the public to become educated about the inequities at Wal-Mart in order to create a media firestorm that might pressure the company to change its ways. However, Ms. Featherstone describes the difficulties that unions and interest groups have had trying to organize labor and shoppers in the struggle with Wal-Mart, contending that our consumer culture tends to set aside worker's rights issues in favor of shopping expediency. Nevertheless, as the lawsuit moves forward the author is hopeful that Wal-Mart may soon feel the need to make significant changes in order to avert a court-imposed solution and/or a public relations catastrophe.

I highly recommend this outstanding book to everyone.

Beabandis
I urge anyone who supports Hillary Clinton to read this book. Hillary was the first woman to serve on Walmart's board of directors and she never tried to help to help women achieve pay equity. Walmart's rampant sexism is documented very clearly in this book.

Purestone
It matters not whether you are a liberal like author Liza Featherstone or a dyed in the wool conservative concerned with holding down government spending. "Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Worker's Rights at Wal-Mart" presents an abundance of evidence that should persuade an awful lot of Americans to spend their hard earned dollars anywhere but at Wal-Mart. Citing testimony from dozens of present and former Wal-mart employees, Featherstone describes how the company has systematically underpaid its female employees while at the same time denying promotions to many qualified women who wish to advance in the company. And to be sure these practices have dire consequences for many women trying to eke out a living on the meager wages Wal-Mart pays them. And as I indicated, conservatives will not be too happy either when they learn that Wal-Mart routinely encourages its underpaid employees to take advantage of government programs! Featherstone cites Wal-mart documents that actually instruct employees on how to apply for Food Stamps, state health insurance for the poor and other welfare programs. How do you like that Mr.& Mrs. Taxpayer? You are being forced to subsidize the worlds largest retailer. Add to that the huge tax breaks many towns and municipalities give to Wal-Mart and the true story of how this hideous company does business begins to emerge.

"Selling Women Short" only reinforces what I have long believed about Wal-Mart. It would be a cold day in hell before I would ever shop at one of their stores. But I am lucky because I can afford to make that choice. Many individuals struggling just to get by don't have that luxury and that is the crux of the problem. When Wal-Mart comes to town it forces a great many smaller businesses to close leaving Wal-Mart practically the only game in town. And those businesses that do remain often cut wages and benefits for their employees just to compete with Wal-Mart. It is a lose-lose situation for just about everyone but Wal-Mart. Throughout her book, Liza Featherstone references the landmark class action suit Dukes vs. Wal-Mart. It is a fascinating case and there is an awful lot at stake. Reading "Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Worker's Rights at Wal-Mart" is a great way to get up to speed on this extremely important issue. Highly recommended.

greed style
This is the central question in Featherstone's treatment of the Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. class action lawsuit. Focusing on depositions, sworn testimony and direct personal interviews, Featherstone gets right to the heart of her subject in the first chapter. The anecdotal evidence, supported by ample statistics, demonstrates that something is, indeed, awfully wrong with Wal-Mart and the disparate ways in which it treats its workers.

As important as the gender discrimination issue is the consideration of how Wal-Mart has, and will continue to, build its fortune off the backs of the working poor. Given enough time, it is entirely possible that certain areas of the country will be economically drained, committed to an addiction of buying at and working for Wal-Mart. It is the low-price panties version of a Super Size Me world. Worst of all, however, is the company's documented practice of referring its own workers to social service agencies, to apply for benefits they need because Wal-Mart neither provides sufficient benefits nor pays employees enough to afford them. Puts a whole new spin on the phrase "corporate welfare." Where is the politicians' indignation over this abuse of the welfare system?

Well researched and well documented with references and notes. One latter chapter does tend to slow down with emphasis on legal citations and stats, but this is necessary to put a factual basis behind the personal stories. Whether you are against Wal-Mart, a Wally-World fan or a blissfully unaware consumer, you cannot read this book and remain unaffected in some manner. If it does not turn you completely away from shopping there, it should at the very least give you pause before opening your wallet.


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