A formidable player in the American economy, Walmart lashes back at the ever-so-fierce Al Norman, 66, who proudly announced his 20-year anniversary of “slam dunking” the superstore in front of a throng of 200 like-minded union supporters applauding at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I.
Chief Walmart spokesperson Bill Wertz criticized Al Norman for putting down the company without trying to find a key to get along. “Unfortunately over the years, Mr. Norman has seemed more interested in taking shots at us in the press than working collaboratively toward solutions.”
Al Norman’s would probably remind Walmart of the 40% of workers who walk away annually coming to a total of some 600,000 people, and start recalling stories of Walmart workers who wrote in to him describing why they do not like working there.
Considered the chief antagonist of Walmart, Norman lobbies to inform the public of what happens “behind the walls” at Walmart. Media giants like the New York Times, and 60 Minutes call on him, and his works can be read in The Huffington Post.
Over the last 27 years, Al Norman worked as executive director of Mass Home Care, a chain of nonprofit organizations for seniors. From Greenfield, MA, he is married, and a proud father to three adult daughters.
Al Norman’s incentive to fight Walmart’s growth started in 1993 when the retailer started making plans to come to his hometown of Greenfield.
The irony of the situation is that even though Walmart is ranked highly in to corporate executives, Al Norman pointed out that it did not make Fortune’s 100 Best Places to Work. Therein lays the irony.
Walmart, with its high-tech and efficient achievements, has disrupted economies according to Al Norman. In his mind, breaking down Walmart would start reviving a struggling economy, since it would open up markets for smaller companies to compete.
Consistent with his message in his latest book Occupy Walmart, Al Norman proposes that just about everyone wants to have a chance to create wealth and cannot get the edge needed with the money vacuuming power of Walmart. The fact that Walmart spokesman lashed back at him for his years of “slam dunking” the retailer did not faze Al Norman at all.
Al Norman has spent two decades fighting to block Walmart from opening new stores. His main cohort is the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, a partnership that antagonizes Walmart’s refusal to abide with unions.
Despite Al Norman’s crusade, Walmart attracts a staggering 138 million shoppers to some 4,750 stores all over the world and is predicting growth with 1000 centers opening in the near future at 200,000 square feet each.
Norman will not sway from his stance to stop Walmart in its tracks. He believes that without Walmart, hometowns can embrace viable business growth, and has persuaded millions of others to join the movement, along with irritating many who think his ranting is excessive. He berates Walmart for its uncaring, ceaseless bulldozing of smaller stores, for its purchasing methods, unfair wages and refusal to cooperate with a union.
Walmart’s capacity to take over business can be observed in local food markets and now consumes 20% of grocery business, according to Al Norman. During the mid 1990s, Al Norman cited the loss of 9,500 local grocers, leaving no choice for consumers to shop anywhere else.
At the 20th anniversary saluting the “slam dunking” crusade of Al Norman, one would think that he might slow down rather than absorb more lashes back from Walmart, but instead, he only wants to help educate shoppers on what’s happening so they will go elsewhere to buy goods.
Written by Danelle Cheney