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 NGLCC'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 NGLCC programs, including two
"We are honored
to have Wal-Mart's support of the NGLCC," said NGLCC
cofounder and president Justin Nelson. "Our partnership will
not only provide more opportunities for the NGLCC but the
business community as a whole."
But 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 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 NGLCC's own description of its agenda.
"We're not exactly sure how Wal-Mart fits into the
LGBT-friendly business category. In fact, we're not
sure how Wal-Mart fits into anything worker-friendly."
He added that he would rather NLGCC
"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." (The Advocate)