The Supreme Court has rendered an opinion which in this case which remind me of the punch line from the old jokes about the Lions and Christians in the Roman Coliseum where the announcer who is calling the action on the floor say, “At the bottom of the First its Lions 10 and Christians 0.
It’s a big win for Wallyworld, and a big loss for Wallyworld’s female employees. The decision decided by 5 Old White Men (Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy, Alito, and Thomas). Yes, I do put Justice Thomas in this class. Given the relationship between Justice Thomas and Harlan Crow he just might be one of the most compromised justices of the late 20th and early 21st century.
The court majority opinion written by the sage of justice, Justice Scalia, immediately drills down to fine minutia of the law, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(2), because God forbid that these 5 individuals do not want to make any law that might be construed to expand the rights of an individual versus the rights of a corporation, or for that matter the state.
The dissenting opinion (Which agreed with the Majority, but for a different reason) written by Justice Ginsburg said that instead the plaintiffs should have been certifiable under Rule 23(b)(3) but that issue is not before the court. More importantly that the broad interpretation that the majority opinion holding that plaintiffs (Not just the ones in this case, but any future cases) must first cross the “commonality” line set by Rule 23(a)(2) will make it extremely difficult to certify any class for a class action suit. This is a big win for corporate America.
Meanwhile nothing was decided by the court on whether or not Wallyworld either by design or by neglect, or a combination of both, discriminated against female employee’s trying to gain access to management positions. If you feel, think, or know that Wallyworld does discriminate against female employees what are you to do? The court is no help to you on this one.
May I suggest that you take a clue from that old Greek play write Aristophanes and his classic tale Lysistrata. You know where Lysistrata persuades the women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges until the men negotiate peace. Only this variation, women who control most household purse strings, just stop shopping at Wal-Mart until Wal-Mart comes to its senses. The drop in sales and cash flow will get their attention.
It will not happen over night, but it will happen, as their numbers start to suffer, it will get the attention of many individual both inside and outside of the company. Wall street might forgive a quarter where the numbers are down (Which could be explained by the phase of the moon, or that the Mars is in Virgo), but string a few sub par quarters together and individual and organizations that own large chunks will start to question the company management. Management does not like to be questioned or have their abilities questioned.
Wal-Mart is no longer the leader in their industry; their numbers are downright disappointing given their size. Wal-Mart stock price has been flat since January 2000. The stock has to this date not reached it 1999 highs. The company is just not working. Wal-Mart is losing market share in China. It appears that profit margins are being squeezed by both rising commodity and labor prices. Wal-Mart no longer reports to the public Month over Month same store sales, why add to the bad news.
Why else would a company announce a 15.0 Billion Dollars share buyback program? Which based on the market cap of 188.8 Billion Dollars, on 6 June 2011 represented approximately 8 % of its market cap. This is on top of a previous 13.0 Billion Dollars share buyback program, which Wal-Mart management label as successful. The successful part of the program was that their stock did not tank. Add to this a recent 21 percent dividend increase in March of 2011, and you really have to wonder.
Wal-Mart was driven from Germany, the Germans for some reason just did not like the way the company does business, go figure. They did not do so well in South Korea, and cracks are starting to appear in China.
For the most part Wal-Mart is just treading water, hoping that they do not sink any deeper. Their management is in the Monty Python mode, you know “Now for Something Completely Different” or let’s throw this idea out and see if it sticks to the wall.
You want to let Wal-Mart know that you are not happy with the situation? Them let them know via the only path that they seem to understand, their wallet.