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Internal communications

Wal-Mart’s Low Wage Problem Pops Up Again Over Dress Code

walmart storeWages for Wal-Mart workers have been a topic of discussion for a while now. Though there have been a number of stories explaining why their low pay is a problem for everyone, including the retail giant itself, there’s not much being done on the issue.

One thing Wal-Mart is tackling is the uniform non-issue. Once again, the company has changed the dress code. And the workers aren’t happy for a number of reasons. Among them, they can’t afford the new uniform on the money they’re being paid.

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Internal Comms 101: Don’t Fire The Exec That Everyone Likes

demoulasUp in New England, the workers at the grocery store chain Market Basket are up in arms. The president of the company Arthur T. Demoulas was ousted last month over a family dispute. His wasn’t the only head to roll: two other execs were fired and seven stepped down according to Business Insider.

But it’s Demoulas’ dismissal that has the company’s employees riled up. To the point in fact that some of them were dismissed for organizing protests on his behalf.

And it’s not just the employees; local politicians are asking shoppers to boycott the store until Demoulas is reinstated. And shoppers look to be obliging that request. It’s turned into an issue that has sparked protests in the street and lots of coverage by The Boston Globe.

Business and family many times don’t mix. There are some big issues (including lawsuits) driving the rift in this family business. Generally, for the sake of the business, fights between partners have to be kept under control.

More than that, it’s a bad idea to can a leader that has the loyalty and dedication that Demoulas clearly has. Compromise would’ve been a much less painful option.

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Levick, Goodluck Jonathan Face Twitter Upheaval in Nigeria

Washington, D.C.’s Levick encountered a bit of a backlash from some Nigerian tweeters this week.

Some citizens of the West African country apparently take issue with its government’s decision to hire the firm, which came in order to downplay some of the very negative media attention regarding the Islamist group Boko Harem, which recently kidnapped more than 250 high school girls and inspired the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag.

Coincidentally, last week saw activist (and Edelman client) Malala Yousafzai meet with Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan in one of his most widely publicized attempts to address the crisis.

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Best Interview Ever: Starbucks’ CEO Schultz Talks About ASU College Partnership With Jon Stewart

starbucks cupIt’s not too often that The Daily Show invites a corporate leader to sit in the special guest chair opposite Jon Stewart. Usually it’s political activists and elected officials, authors and thinkers, or actors and directors. Last night, Howard Schultz, the CEO and chairman of Starbucksmade an appearance on the program. And he opened with the big news of the day (hey, it was on our Ticker!): Starbucks will be offering a free college education to its employees.

Through a partnership with the *Arizona State University, the company will give workers seeking a Bachelor’s degree the opportunity to pursue one, tuition-free, through online courses. He could barely get the words out and the audience was cheering.

“It is my job to hate everything. I’m having a really hard time with this one,” Stewart replied. “This sounds really lovely.” A talk show appearance – particularly one with Jon Stewart – doesn’t get much better than that.

Schultz said this is an opportunity for his company to tackle the issue of student indebtedness and help workers achieve something they wouldn’t otherwise be able to get on their own. And waiting on Washington is a waste of time.

“We’ve got to step up as we have in the past and show true leadership,” Schultz continued.

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It Just Got Real: Fast Food Workers Protest In the South

fatfoodglobalThe fast-food industry was warned about today’s global protest, so they should have been ready for it… it was pretty big.

Workers in 150 American cities participated in today’s strike, with newcomers like Philadelphia and Miami joining the movement for a $15 per hour wage and the formation of a union. In addition, protests took place in countries as diverse as Germany and Malawi. In all, 33 countries took part.

But perhaps most surprising were the protests that took place in the American South.

“Walkouts took place in every region of the country, including the South, where labor organizing is notoriously difficult,” says MSNBC. Colorlines also notes the importance of this development.

“In what may be Opelika’s [in Alabama] first labor protest ever and the latest so far, in piecemeal worker grumblings in right-to-work states that are anti-union and proud, local McDonald’s and Burger King employees are joining today’s #FastFoodGlobal strikes.” Far fewer people walked out in the South than in other places. But the fact that it happened is significant.

The labor market has changed over the past few years and as a result, it looks like the fast food industry will have to change as well.

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Fast Food Restaurants Should Be Preparing for the Global Workers Strike Planned for Thursday

mcds tweetWorkers from dozens of countries around the world are preparing for a mass strike on Thursday, May 15 to protest for higher wages and better working conditions. The date, chosen because it reflects the $15 per hour that workers are fighting for here in the US, will mark the day when the months-long fight publicly goes global (meetings took place last week). Across six continents, workers from Burger King, McDonald’s, KFC and other chains will take to the streets. European protestors are taking action in solidarity with US workers.

McDonald’s spoke with USA Today, saying 80 percent of its restaurants are owned by small businessmen.

“This is an important discussion that needs to take into account the highly competitive nature of the industries that employ minimum wage workers, as well as consumers and the thousands of small businesses which own and operate the vast majority of McDonald’s restaurants,” said McD’s spokesperson Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem.

The statement notably deflects attention away from the fact that McDonald’s revenue for the first quarter was more than $6 billion.

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PayPal Exec Is Out After A Couple Months On The Job, Goes on a Twitter Tirade Against His Colleagues

rakesh tweet1PayPal‘s new director of strategy, Rakesh Agrawal, is already out with only two months on the job. And on his way out the door, he took to Twitter Friday night to rail against his own colleagues.

The tweets started at about 1am with the announcement: “Done working for the weekend. Jazz fest time.” The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival wrapped this Sunday.

By the middle of the night, he was posting tweets with crazy misspellings and giving the finger to some unidentified someone. Unlike the post at right, some of those crazy tweets were directed at other Paypal staffers who he does name. This finger tweet and many of the others in this Business Insider post look to have been since deleted.

By Saturday evening, PayPal posted on its Twitter account that Agrawal was “no longer with the company” because they have a “zero tolerance” policy for the disrespect Agrawal showed his fellow staffers. Agrawal maintains, however, that he quit, calling the PayPal tweet “misleading” because it insinuates he was fired. In the screenshot that Agrawal posted of his resignation, you see a time stamp of 9:34pm on Friday, a few hours before his tweet rant began.

Fired or resigned, this is not a good look for Agrawal.

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McDonald’s Is Losing the PR Battle Over Wages

mcd's restaurantThe fight over wages for McDonald’s workers has intensified in recent months and it’s only getting more heated now that lawsuits in California, New York and Michigan allege that the fast-food chain used all sorts of short cuts to short change employees. That includes making employees pay for their own uniforms in some places and making them wait before checking in and out of their shifts.

Add to that ongoing protests and you’ve got a situation that the chain would like to see go away.

The employee uprising has been going on now for months. And perhaps, McDonald’s thought it would eventually quiet down and things could go back to business as usual. After all, the argument against higher wages (remember, protesters are looking for as much as $15 per hour) is that it would drive up prices. And no one wants to pay more for their Big Macs and those fries.

But it’s gotten to the point where McDonald’s is giving off the air of being selfish and cruel in the ways it’s taking advantage of its workers.

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5 Tips for Better Internal Communications

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Remember when we used to talk? 

Public relations is supposed to the art and the science of communications. If that were so, we would understand that term more holistically. We communicate in many ways to many people; yet, a forgotten aspect of this thing we call “our life’s work” is internal communications. 

How well are we helping our clients if we aren’t teaching that team to speak to one another, share the brand, discuss improvements, learn to drink the same Kool-Aid? We aren’t and I’m surprised more clients don’t call us out on that. If the client has a stronger team internally because of the work we are doing externally, said client will be reminded of our greatness more often.

Now that I have your attention, here are 5 tips to enhance better internal communications. You’re welcome.

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Ohio Walmart Holding A Food Drive For Its Own Employees Makes Us All Feel So Many Things

walmart food driveIn the midst of a nationwide discussion over whether we should raise the minimum wage, a Walmart in Canton, OH seems to be answering the question. The store is holding a Thanksgiving food drive to help the needy. The needy, in this case, are people who work for the store.

A photo of the collection bins (at right) has gone viral after being passed around by the group Our Walmart, which has been working with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union to unionize Walmart employees.

A spokesperson for the store, Kory Lundberg, explained that if you’re thinking maybe the company needs to pay workers enough so they don’t struggle to put food on the table for Thanksgiving, you’ve got it all wrong. This is something that has been going on for years, she says.

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