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WALMART WORKERS, TAXPAYERS ARRESTED CALLING FOR WALMART OWNERS TO STOP ROBBING AMERICA

Group calls on Walton family to stop taking advantage of taxpayer programs to support low-wage model & instead, pay workers $15 an hour and provide full-time work

 If the Waltons fail to respond, protestors promise to return to Walmart stores on Black Friday

DSC_0748New York and Washington, DC – Forty-two Walmart workers and their supporters were arrested today calling on Walmart’s owners to stop robbing workers a fair wage and passing the bill on to taxpayers. Without a public commitment from the Waltons to raise pay at Walmart, the group refused to disperse, shutting down Park Avenue in front of Alice Walton’s new penthouse in New York and K Street in front of the Walton Family Foundation in DC. Last year, Walmart’s former CEO confirmed that the majority of Walmart workers are paid less than $25,000 a year.

“My grandkids go hungry because of low pay at Walmart,” said Sandra Sok, a Walmart worker in Phoenix. “I’ll do whatever it takes to make these billionaires and Walmart see what they’re doing to our families.”

“We are tired of seeing the Waltons enjoy every luxury this world can offer while the workers that build their wealth are unable to pay their bills,” said Interfaith Worker Justice Executive Director Kim Bobo. “Income inequality will only be addressed when the Waltons and Walmart provide fair pay and regular hours to their workers. I’m here today taking a stand for Walmart workers, and I’ll be back on Black Friday with thousands of others who have had enough of Walmart’s destruction of the American Dream.”

Before the arrests, the group delivered a petition signed by workers from 1,710 of Walmart stores in all 50 states. The petition calls on Walmart to publicly commit raise pay to $15 an hour and provide consistent, full-time hours. The actions today follow protests yesterday in Phoenix, AZ, where Walmart associates and community members delivered the petition to Walmart chair Rob Walton.

“The Waltons have made it impossible for me to get ahead and make sure my daughter goes to bed in a warm home,” said Fatmata Jabbie,a Walmart worker who delivered the petition to the Walton Family Foundation in Washington, DC. “The Waltons can choose to turn things around and stop robbing working Americans like me who just want to raise our families. We need $15 an hour and consistent full-time work—now.”

The Walton family, which controls the Walmart empire, is the richest family in the U.S.—with the wealth of 43% of American families combined. While many Walmart workers are unable to feed and clothe their families on their pay of less than $25,000 a year, the Walton family takes in $8.6 million a day in Walmart dividends alone to build on its $150 billion in wealth. Walmart brings in $16 billion in annual profits.

“Right now, corporate profits are at an all-time high while wages are lower than any time since 1948,” said Rep. Grijalva. “Walmart alone rakes in $16 billion a year while enjoying $8 billion in tax breaks and subsidies, but refuses to pay employees enough to put food on the table or clothes on their back. Many of their employees are forced to rely on taxpayer-funded programs, meaning the American taxpayers are paying for the Walton family’s refusal to pay a decent wage. It’s time to end this scam, and ensure all workers have the decency of a livable wage and full-time work.”

Walmart workers depend on food stamps and other taxpayer-supported programs to support their families. Walmart—the standard-setter for jobs in the retail industry—has created a norm of erratic, part-time scheduling that is keeping workers from getting the hours they need, holding down second jobs, arranging child care, going to school or managing health conditions.

The protests today come at a time when OUR Walmart members have made significant strides creating change at the country’s largest employer. OUR Walmart member Richard Reynoso, who sent a letter to Walmart about the new dress code policy, not only pushed the company to live up to its Buy America commitment with the new vests; his manager gave him full-time hours in response to his concerns about affording new clothing on his low pay. OUR Walmart members have had similar hours victories—through petitions and meetings with managers—in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dallas, Florida, Southern California, Louisiana and Chicago. Walmart improved its pregnancy policy recently after OUR Walmart members, who are also shareholders, submitted a resolution to the company about its pregnancy policy.  And, responding to OUR Walmart members’ growing calls on the retailer to improve access to hours, Walmart rolled out a new system nationwide that allows workers to sign up for open shifts in their stores online.

 Background

A report released earlier this year by Americans for Tax Fairness showed that by dodging taxes, exploiting loopholes and taking advantage of taxpayer subsidies, Walmart and the Waltons received an estimated $7.8 billion in tax breaks and subsidies in 2013. And while many taxpayers struggle to stretch paychecks, the richest family in the country has avoided an estimated $3 billion in taxes by using specialized trusts to dodge estate taxes.

National public policy organization Demos released a report this yearshowing low-pay and erratic scheduling keep millions of hard-working Americans—particularly women—near poverty. The report finds that establishing a new wage floor equivalent to $25,000 per year for fulltime, year round work at retail companies employing at least 1,000 workers would improve the lives of more than 3.2 million female retail workers and lift 900,000 women and their families directly out of poverty or near poverty.

 

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LEGAL DISCLAIMER: UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Wal-Mart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Wal-Mart publically commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees.

Workers at 1695 Walmart Stores Sign Petition for $15 an Hour, Full-Time Work

If the Waltons fail to respond, protestors promise to return to Walmart stores on Black Friday

 **Follow the conversation at #Fightfor15, @ForRespect, www.blackfridayprotests.org**

 UFCWnewsNATIONWIDE – Workers from 1695 Walmart stores in all 50 states are calling for the company to publicly commit to raise pay to $15 an hour and provide consistent, full-time work in a newly launched petition that they are delivering to Walmart owners, the Waltons, today. Despite helping the company build $16 billion in annual profits, the majority of Walmart workers are paid less than $25,000 a year, keeping them from being able to support their families on such low pay.

“Walmart workers know that $15 an hour and full-time work is more than fair for the work we do to make the Waltons mega-billionaires. Now, I am only paid $10.10 an hour, which doesn’t cut it. My car was recently repossessed because I couldn’t afford monthly payments, and it is a daily nightmare trying to find transportation. How am I supposed to get ahead with $6 in my pocket that’s supposed to last two weeks until my next pay day?” said Cantare Davunt, a customer service manager from Apple Valley, Minnesota.

Workers are signing the petitions in their stores and online. In Oregon, two OUR Walmart members drove from store to store to gather signatures from excited workers across the state.

 The growing support for the petition comes as OUR Walmart members are reporting increases in hours after they have publicly called for better scheduling at their stores.  

OUR Walmart member Richard Reynoso, who sent a letter to Walmart about the new dress code policy, not only pushed the company to live up to its Buy America commitment with the new vests; his manager gave him full-time hours in response to his concerns about affording new clothing on his low pay.

“Walmart heard the calls of my coworkers and me. It’s an important step that the new vests will be made in America,” said Sal Fuentes, a 7-year associate from Duarte, California. “Having full-time hours is letting me go to the doctor and buy my daughter new clothes for school—and dress code items. But when my coworkers are skipping meals and relying on erratic, part-time schedules, more needs to be done. All associates need $15 an hour and consistent, full-time work so we can build futures for our kids.”

OUR Walmart members have won similar hours victories—through petitions and members meeting with managers—in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dallas, Florida, Southern California, Louisiana and Chicago. In Dallas, three OUR Walmart members were working full-time hours but weren’t given full-time status. After the workers went as a group to management, they were given full-time status and pressured management to make 14 other workers full-time. In the San Francisco Bay Area, after OUR Walmart members circulated a petition in response to the company cutting hours for ten workers, management restored the workers’ hours.

The wins come at a time when Walmart—the standard-setter for jobs in the retail industry—is getting attention for erratic, part-time scheduling that keeps workers from getting the hours they need, holding down second jobs, arranging child care, going to school or managing health conditions.

OUR Walmart members also convinced the company earlier this year to change its pregnancy policy to accommodate workers on the job with pregnancy-related disabilities. Walmart made the change after OUR Walmart members who are also shareholders submitted a shareholder resolution to the company.

Though OUR Walmart members continue to make an impact at the country’s largest employer, many workers depend on food stamps and other taxpayer-supported programs to support their families. Workers and taxpayers are increasingly frustrated by the Waltons’ choice to keep working families in poverty while they live a life of luxury. While many Walmart workers are unable to feed and clothe their families on their low pay, the Walton family takes in $8.6 million a day in Walmart dividends alone to build on its $150 billion in wealth. Walmart brings in $16 billion in annual profits.

“OUR Walmart members are making tremendous strides at the country’s largest employer,” said Bertha Lewis, president and founder of the Black Institute. She will join workers and taxpayers in New York City today to deliver the petition directly to Alice Walton. “But when the owners of Walmart—the Waltons—let workers go hungry while they dodge taxes and build their enormous wealth, something is shamefully wrong. Unless there’s a public commitment from the Waltons and Walmart to raise pay and provide full-time work, I will join thousands of Americans to protest at Walmart stores on Black Friday.”

 Following the announcement, Walmart workers and taxpayers plan to deliver the petition directly to the Waltons—the richest family in the country and owners of Walmart—in New York and Washington, DC today. The group joins a growing number of Americans who say the Waltons are driving the income inequality problem and could decide tomorrow to stop stealing from workers and taxpayers who just want a fair shot. Workers and community members also delivered the petition to Walmart chair Rob Walton in Phoenix, AZ yesterday.

 Background

A report released earlier this year by Americans for Tax Fairness showed that by dodging taxes, exploiting loopholes and taking advantage of taxpayer subsidies, Walmart and the Waltons received an estimated $7.8 billion in tax breaks and subsidies in 2013. And while taxpayers struggle to stretch paychecks, the richest family in the country has avoided an estimated $3 billion in taxes by using specialized trusts to dodge estate taxes.

National public policy organization Demos released a report this yearshowing low-pay and erratic scheduling keep millions of hard-working Americans—particularly women—near poverty. The report finds that establishing a new wage floor equivalent to $25,000 per year for fulltime, year round work at retail companies employing at least 1,000 workers would improve the lives of more than 3.2 million female retail workers and lift 900,000 women and their families directly out of poverty or near poverty.

 

###

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Wal-Mart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Wal-Mart publically commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees.

 

 

Walmart Workers & UFCW Region 1 Deliver Petitions in Support of Fair Wages and Full Time Work

region-1-walmart-300x224This month, following the New York/New Jersey District Council Meeting, UFCW Local 152 members and Region 1 leaders joined Walmart workers for a store action in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Led by Walmart workers, the delegation kicked off nationwide deliveries of a Walmart worker petition. The petition has quickly gained momentum amongst workers. It calls for Walmart to publicly commit to paying $15 an hour and provide access to full-time hours. More than 1,000 Walmart stores in all 50 states have signed on to the petition. Each day, more Walmart stores are signing on to support these calls for change.

Workers plan to deliver their petition to Walmart’s owners, the Waltons, at their homes in Phoenix and New York City, as well as their family foundation in Washington, DC. You can add your name to their petition here.