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Wal-Mart teams up
with National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

Wal-Mart teams up
with National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

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 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 NGLCC conferences.

"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, 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)

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