June 27, 2012

Wal-Mart Previously Fired Mercury Public Affairs For Racist Ad In 2006

On Monday, Wal-Mart announced that it will be dropping Mercury Public Affairs, a leading PR and lobbying firm, after one of its associate spied on some warehouse workers in Los Angeles. “We take this matter seriously and have taken the appropriate steps to ensure this type of activity is not repeated,” said Wal-Mart spokesman Steven Restivo. But there’s one problem with Wal-Mart’s excuse. It had already fired Mercury in 2006 after one of its staffers, Terry Nelson, produced a racist ad against Democratic Senate candidate Harold Ford. The question now is simple. Will Wal-Mart be firing Mercury …

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June 25, 2012

Wal-Mart Ends Relationship With PR Firm That Spied On Warehouse Workers

Two weeks ago, we were the first news site to report that Mercury Public Affairs, acting on behalf of its client Wal-Mart, sent a senior associate to spy on organizing workers in Los Angeles. The same day, we confronted Mercury at its Washington, D.C. headquarters and were met with tight lips and few details from firm executives. Shortly after our reporting, Mercury apparently fired the associate who conducted the spying.

We then reported last week that the Warehouse Workers United, the group that was spied on, planned to file charges against Mercury and Wal-Mart.

Now it appears that Mercury is …

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June 22, 2012

After Spying Incident, Warehouse Workers Bring Charges Against Wal-Mart And PR Firm

We were the first news site to  report last week that Wal-Mart had hired Mercury Public Affairs, an elite public relations and lobbying firm, to fight against warehouse workers in Los Angeles. A Mercury staffer was caught spying on the workers, and was apparently let go after a media firestorm.

Now, the Warehouse Workers United, which represents the workers who were spied on, has announced that it will be filing charges with the National Labor Relations Board, which prohibits spying on workers, against both Wal-Mart and Mercury. The group is also asking Wal-Mart to fire Mercury:

“If Walmart truly is concerned …

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June 18, 2012

Unions Paid At Least $162,000 In 2011 To PR Firm That Helped Wal-Mart Spy On Workers

Last week, Republic Report was the first news outlet to report that Mercury Public Affairs, a powerful public relations and lobbying firm, sent a staffer posing as a “journalist” to spy on warehouse workers on behalf of its client Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart and Mercury acknowledged their relationship but claimed that the staffer, Stephanie Harnett, was working on her own and soon Ms. Harnett was apparently let go. However, Gawker reports that there have been other cases of Wal-Mart enlisting PR firms to spy on workers.

Now that we know that Mercury is working for Wal-Mart as part of its campaign against …

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May 31, 2012

Wal-Mart Leaves Corporate Front Group ALEC, Joining 20 Other Organizations

Corporate front group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has faced increasing scrutiny for secretly passing off corporate-written laws to state legislatures, including the controversial Stand Your Ground gun law. Late last night, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world’s largest retailer and biggest seller of firearms in the country, announced it was suspending its membership in ALEC, which the retailer joined in 1993.

Reuters reports:

“Previously, we expressed our concerns about ALEC’s decision to weigh in on issues that stray from its core mission ‘to advance the Jeffersonian principles of free markets,’” Maggie Sans, Wal-Mart’s vice president of public affairs …

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