A major union says Wal-Mart is misleading customers with its "Bring it home to the U.S.A." advertising campaign.
Douglas H. Dority, president of the 1.4-million-member United Food & Commercial Workers Union, says the campaign is a cynical attempt to convince consumers that they're "buying American" when they're really buying foreign-made goods.Dority announced Thursday that he was asking the Federal Trade Commission and the attorneys general of all 50 states to investigate Wal-Mart for possible violations of state and federal law regarding deceptive advertising.
Wal-Mart Vice President Jay Allen said the retailer has never claimed to buy only American-made products.
Dority's attack on the nation's largest retailer was based on a 180-page report prepared with the help of the AFL-CIO's Food and Allied Service Trades Department, or FAST. That report checked all 895 apparel products found in one typical Wal-Mart store and found that 80 percent of them were produced outside the United States.
Dority said the survey punctures Wal-Mart's advertising claim that it "is firmly committed to the philosophy of buying everything possible from suppliers who manufacture their products in the United States."
In a speech to nearly 2,000 delegates attending the UFCW's annual convention here, Dority noted that Wal-Mart makes extensive use of the American flag in its advertising and promotions, calling it "crass, commercial abuse" of the flag.
A similar survey was released Wednesday by the National Labor Committee, a New York-based group that attempts to expose sweatshop conditions in the United States and abroad. The group looked at Wal-Mart outlets in 11 states and found more than 85 percent of the private-label clothes and accessories it examined were imported.
Wal-Mart has been unpopular with union officials because it has been successful in keeping unions out of its own labor force.