April 30, 2009
Washington, DC – Walmart workers from across the nation are converging today on Capitol Hill for a National Organizing Meeting to brief Senators about wages, benefits and the Employee Free Choice Act. Nearly 100 Walmart workers from 17 states are participating in the event. As part of their campaign for a union voice on the job, they will urge lawmakers to level the playing field for working people by supporting the Employee Free Choice Act.
“I made the trip into Washington DC to stand with my fellow Walmart workers and to urge my Senators to pass the Employee Free Choice Act,” said Dominique Sloan a Dallas, Texas, Walmart worker. “We need change in this country. All you have to do is look at how all the money goes to CEOs. But when it comes to workers, it’s always the same, no health care or health care that’s too expensive and low wages. We need to change that.”
The National Organizing Committee is made up of Walmart workers from Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
Despite Walmart’s well-documented history of anti-working family activities, workers say they are excited by the election of Barack Obama, excited that the President says it’s not too much to ask Walmart to pay decent wages and provide good health care, and excited that the Employee Free Choice Act can help bring the change that helps workers and makes Walmart live up to its responsibilities.
“I have three boys, and I had to get Florida Kids Care to cover their medical,” says Cheryl Guzman, a Walmart worker from Miami. “It’s either you eat, or you have medical coverage, that’s not right. That’s why I’m part of Walmart Workers for Change.”
Ten workers recently shared their stories in a new video, released earlier this week. Workers from the National Organizing Committee will be available to the press today after a Capitol Hill briefing at 10 a.m., in 328 Russell Senate Office Building.
Walmart Workers for Change is a new campaign made up of thousands of Walmart workers joining together to form a union and negotiate better benefits, higher wages, and more opportunity for a better future. The campaign is a project of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). The UFCW represents 1.3 million workers nationwide, with nearly one million working in the supermarket industry. Many of UFCW members also work at national retail stores such as Bloomingdales, Macys, H&M, Modell’s Sporting Goods, Saks Fifth Avenue, RiteAid, CVS, and Syms.