Justice at Walmart
The time is here! We’re coming together to demand that Walmart change its profit-at-any-cost business model. Take Action Now!
Click here to stand with workers in a global day of solidarity on December 14.
From the Huffiington Post, Business Section:It might not surprise you that Walmart is fighting a 'living wage' bill in DC, but, if they win, you might be surprised at how it affects the future of your town. The massive retailer's recent threat to cancel plans for additional stores in Washington, D.C., is part of a strategy to stifle wages for their own benefit that in turn stifles wages for the entire workforce in an area. First, some background: the Walmart empire originally spread from Arkansas throughout the rural areas and suburbs of the U.S. These comparably low-wage markets are now tapped out. So, Walmart executives' next targets are urban areas, where strong union membership and liberal populations help to drive up wages significantly in comparison to rural and suburban areas. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2011 urban households received an average of $15,779 more in yearly income than rural households. Walmart's low, low wages aren't greeted kindly amongst city populations accustomed to their comparably higher pay. After seeing Walmart's devastating effects on rural and suburban America, where Walmart has driven already-low wages even lower by crushing the competition and leaving nowhere else to work or shop, cities like Chicago, New York, and Washington, DC decided that Walmart's business model wasn't right for them. So Walmart went about breaking down that political barrier in any way that they could. Years before Walmart had a solid plan for a store in DC, the company quietly moved in, joining the DC Chamber of Commerce, making donations to local charities, and hiring lobbyists to help them cozy up to politicians. Construction began on three Walmart stores in the District, with plans for three more in the works. With public construction under way, DC residents began to notice and speak out against Walmart. The DC City Council passed a measure this week that would force Walmart and other giant retailers (any store larger than 75,000 square feet and whose parent company has at least $1 billion a year in revenue) to pay employees a starting hourly wage of $12.50. In response, Walmart has sought to leverage its political power to strong-arm DC Mayor Vincent Gray into vetoing the bill and enabling Walmart to pay its standard low wages to workers in the District while depressing wages in the surrounding communities as small businesses fail and people have nowhere else to work or shop. Sadly, this is not the first time that Walmart has used these tactics to worm its way into unwelcome markets. In 2006, the Chicago City Council passed a similar "living wage" measure to establish a $10 an hour minimum wage for mega-retailers plus an additional $3 in fringe benefits. Walmart threatened that the bill would make it scale back or cancel plans for several new stores in the city, and then-Mayor Richard M. Daley buckled under Walmart's pressure and vetoed the bill. The city council failed to override the veto, and today there are eight stores in the city with more on the way. Today the minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25 an hour, a full $4.75 lower than it would have been without Walmart's bullying tactics. A full-time worker at a Chicago Walmart can expect to lose around $10,000 in wages per year as a result. Mayor Vincent Gray should not allow himself to be bullied out of doing what is right for the workers of Washington, DC. After all, retailers can thrive while still paying a living wage. Costco, which pays its employees an average of $45,000 per year, has reported profit increases in recent quarters while Walmart's sales have suffered. One reason for Walmart's decline is that many of Walmart's customers are also employees who, with more and more hours being cut, can't afford to buy as much as they used to. Bringing jobs to Washington, D.C. doesn't need to come at the expense of a living wage, and nor should it. After all, the more you pay your workers, the more money they have to spend buying your products, and the higher your revenues become. Take it from Costco: the living wage works.
Walmart can’t catch a break this year. From the unprecedented Black Friday strikes last November to the End Death Traps Tour in April, the retail giant has taken non-stop heat for it’s perpetually low wages, worker retaliation, and dangerous working conditions in Bangladesh, where thousands have died sewing clothing bound for Walmart stores.And we’re working hard to make sure they can’t catch their breath. Last week at the annual Walmart shareholders meeting, protesters from across the U.S. traveled to Bentonville, Arkansas to greet executives and shareholders. Some even got a chance to crash the party.Making Change at Walmart and OUR Walmart partnered with us at Corporate Action Network for an historic week of action to demand fair wages, safe working conditions, and an end to retaliation for millions of Walmart employees worldwide. The action began two weeks ago, when hundreds of Walmart employees kicked off the first-ever prolonged strike in Walmart’s history. The strikers traveled in a “Ride for Respect” from thirty U.S. cities to Bentonville, Arkansas, to confront Walmart executives at the annual shareholders meeting on Friday, June 7th. The strikers delivered a petition to Walmart executives, held demonstrations throughout Bentonville at Walmart stores and the Walmart ‘home office,’ and had a chance to address the crowd of over 14,000 to draw attention to Walmart’s continuous empty promises about worker safety, intimidation, and retaliation. Kalpona Akter, the former-garment-worker-turned-activist who has been fighting for justice for Bangladeshi workers for years, used her time on the stage to condemn Walmart’s complicity in tragedies in Bangladeshi factories that killed over 1,000 workers in the last few months. “[E]very time there’s a tragedy Walmart officials have made promises to improve the terrible conditions in my country’s garment factories, yet the tragedies continue,” she said. “The time for empty promises is over.”Next was OUR Walmart member Janet Sparks, who voiced the concerns of Walmart’s United States employees about inadequate pay, inadequate hours, and the lack of receptiveness on the part of Walmart executives to the average worker’s concerns. Appropriately, Board Chairman Rob Walton cut her off for exceeding her allotted time. Despite Walmart’s public statements earlier in the week seeking to dismiss OUR Walmart as a “union-organized publicity stunt,” company executives still saw the protests as a threat. Early last week, Walmart requested and was a granted a temporary restraining order that prohibited non-employee protesters from entering Walmart property in Arkansas. OUR Walmart members who were in attendance at the meeting also noted that its program seemed designed to specifically counter OUR Walmart’s complaints. Though the resolutions presented by Kalpona Akter and OUR Walmart members failed to pass, the protesters who attended the event feel as though they were able to spread OUR Walmart’s message to a wider audience of their co-workers as well as the national public through extensive media coverage of the event. (link to CAN materials page with media clips) Check out the coverage from The Nation’s Josh Eidelson for detailed accounts of the shareholder’s meeting and OUR Walmart’s protests surrounding the event.
From Daily Kos:Walmart can’t catch a break this year. From the unprecedented Black Friday strikes last November to the End Death Traps Tour in April, the retail giant has taken non-stop heat for it’s perpetually low wages, worker retaliation, and dangerous working conditions in Bangladesh, where thousands have died sewing clothing bound for Walmart stores. And we’re working hard to make sure they can’t catch their breath. This week, when Walmart’s shareholders gather in Bentonville, Arkansas on Friday for their annual meeting, protesters from across the U.S. will be there to greet them. Making Change at Walmart and OUR Walmart partnered with us at Corporate Action Network for an historic week of action to demand fair wages, safe working conditions, and an end to retaliation for millions of Walmart employees worldwide. The action began last week, when hundreds of Walmart employees kicked off the first-ever prolonged strike in Walmart’s history. The strikers traveled in a “Ride for Respect” from thirty U.S. cities to Bentonville, Arkansas, in time to confront Walmart executives at the annual shareholders meeting on Friday, June 7th. The strikers will deliver a petition to Walmart executives and hold demonstrations throughout Bentonville at Walmart stores and the Walmart ‘home office.’If you can’t make it to Bentonville for the historic actions this Friday, you can still show your support and solidarity with the Walmart strikers. We’ve set up a very easy-to-use event locator to help you find a solidarity event near you. With CAN’s tools, you can search by city or zip code for the nearest event, get in contact with event organizers, or even start your own event!
September 5 • 04:00 pm
910 I Street , Sacramento, California
Support Walmart strikers in Sacramento! When Walmart workers came together to protest Walmart’s attempt to silence workers, Walmart responded by firing and disciplining more than 60 workers. For more than a month, we've asked the members of Walmart's Board of Directors to tell Walmart to reinstate the fired workers and remove the disciplinary actions, but they have remained silent. Now we need to prove to Walmart that its behavior won't be tolerated. Join us September 5th as we take things up a notch and call on Walmart to reinstate and remove disciplinary actions from the Walmart 60!
August 22 • 12:00 pm
701 8TH ST. NW (8TH AND G @ CHINATOWN METRO) , Washington, District of Columbia
We have a deadline: Labor Day. If action is not taken by the day our country celebrates working people, our actions today will only be the beginning. Join us as we make the call to Walmart to do the right thing!
September 5 • 05:00 pm
899 Market Street, San Francisco, California
Since Walmart workers went on strike in early June, Walmart has illegally fired or disciplined more than 60 workers for taking part in the legally protected strike. Walmart has doubled down on its aggressive attempts to deny workers their fundamental right to come together and speak out for change. But the Walmart 60 are fighting back! Join us on Thursday, September 5, 2013 and show your support for Walmart workers at our rally! Help us tell Walmart: Enough is enough! Walmart must stop illegally firing workers who are exercising their right to speak out to defend their coworker’s right to stand up for a better life.