Global Day of Action will Mark Anniversary of Rana Plaza Garment Building Collapse in Bangladesh

Leading up to the Global Day of Action for the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh on April 24, UFCW Locals 888 and 1500 held an  action to call on retailers to do more to help the victims of the  factory disasters.

Leading up to the Global Day of Action for the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh on April 24, UFCW Locals 888 and 1500 held an
action to call on retailers to do more to help the victims of the
factory disasters.

Making Change at Walmart is joining Jobs with Justice, the International Labor Rights Forum, and community allies from around the world on April 24, in a day of action to stand in solidarity with garment workers in Bangladesh. One year after the Rana Plaza building collapse killed at least 1,138 people and injured more than 2,500 in the worst garment industry catastrophe in history, concerned citizens around the world will demand that Walmart and other apparel brands and retailers pay full and fair compensation to the victims of the Rana Plaza collapse.

The day of action will call on Walmart and other retailers to take responsibility and to pay their fair share of compensation to the survivors and families who lost loved-ones.

The action will also call on Walmart to pay compensation to the victims of the Tazreen factory fire, which took place on November 24, 2012, and where Walmart was the largest purchaser. The fire killed 112 workers and was the deadliest fire in the Bangladesh garment industry.

Demonstrations will take place at Walmart stores around the country. For more information, visit

Locals can participate in the Global Day of Action by:

1. Organizing or joining a demonstration at a Walmart store near you. Visit and closer to the date for action listings.

Action ideas:

  • Leafleting in front of the store and letter delivery to store manager. Visit for sample flyer and letter.
  • Die-in in front of the store. Protestors drape themselves in white sheets and lie on the sidewalk in front of the store with signs demanding the company pay compensation.

2. Post on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media asking the company to pay the money owed to the victims and about the Global Day of Action. On the company’s Facebook wall, post a photo of members holding a sign calling on the company to Pay Up. Members can also follow Twitter: #ranaplaza #payup @orphansplace @ILRF.

3. Locals can send an e-blast about the Global Day of Action, asking supporters to join an action and spread the message on social media. For more information, email Liana Foxvog at International Labor Rights Forum at

Locals can also start taking action before April 24 by using the materials from the Jobs with Justice toolkit that can be downloaded from

UFCW Locals 888 and 1500 held an action with Rana Plaza survivor Aklima Khanam and community allies in New Jersey last week. The crowd of more than 50 people protested in front of Children’s Place retail headquarters and Walmart stores in hopes of bringing attention to the horrific working conditions and ask that these companies do more to help the victims. A video of the action can be viewed at

Moms Take On Walmart, AND WIN!

Reposted from Making Change at Walmart

wm momsUnder pressure from mothers working in their stores and women’s groups, Walmart recently altered its policy around accommodating pregnant women. As reported last weekend in the Washington Post, Walmart reworked its policy so that women with pregnancy-related complications that could be considered “temporary disabled” and would be eligible for “reasonable accommodation.”

While this policy fails to provide reasonable accommodations regarding physical demands for all pregnant women, it is a step forward in protecting the health of the most vulnerable pregnant women and their babies.

The change in policy comes after an intense mobilization effort on behalf of pregnant Walmart workers. Members of the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) initially began discussing the troubles they had during their pregnancies online. After comparing notes, the women found that all around the country, pregnant Walmart workers faced very similar challenges.

“Lots of women are afraid to even say they’re pregnant at Walmart, because they’re afraid they’ll lose their jobs or be forced to leave,” said Tiffany Beroid, a Walmart worker and OUR Walmart member.

Beroid was one of the original members of what later became known as “Respect the Bump.” When she was seven months into her second pregnancy, she started experiencing complications. Her blood pressure would swing widely and her doctor insisted that she alter her behavior at work for the safety of her and her baby.

When Beroid took her doctor’s note requesting light-duty work to her managers, they waited a week to respond while she was unable to work. When they did get back to her, they said they didn’t have any light-duty work at her pay scale ($.40 above other positions) and therefore she would have to take a leave of absence.

According to the Washington Post:

“With no work, Beroid couldn’t afford tuition payments for her community college nursing program, which meant missing the final exam; she’ll have to take the class over. Her husband, a security guard, pulled 18-hour shifts to keep paying the rent.”

Along with her new friends from Respect the Bump, Beroid and others began to mobilize. In Minnesota, workers held an event around scheduling issues for single mothers. They sent a letter to Walmart’s headquarters about how pregnant women and mothers were being treated. A group of Walmart workers who are also shareholders put a resolution on the ballot of Walmart’s upcoming shareholders’ meeting calling for a change in pregnancy policies.

Shortly thereafter, Walmart overhauled their pregnancy policy. While the announcement is a huge acknowledgement of the workers who have been urging Walmart to change, they say there is still a long way to go. Now it’s essential that the new policy is enforced and that reasonable accommodations are extended to all pregnant women.

Walmart and the Food Stamp Economy

616466_10151288371180091_843792967_o“Walmart takes in about 18 percent of U.S. food stamp dollars, a share that amounted to more than $13 billion last year.” However, with cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Walmart is seeing a huge portion of its customer base drop off, no longer able to afford to shop there. Instead, many are now relying on charities and food pantries.

“It’s this cycle that keeps going around and around,” says Jason Elchert, deputy director for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. “We need to take a deep breath and think about how can we move our country forward.”

Instead of relying on food stamp customers, Walmart could both improve its business and help struggling workers (many of whom are those on food stamps) by paying a living wage.

There of course is the argument–”Won’t that raise the prices at Walmart, essentially defeating the purpose?”

Well, according to a new video from Slate, if Walmart paid its employees a living wage of $13.00/hr, that .68 cent box of Great Value mac n’ cheese would increase to….69 cents.

When there are 40 Walmart associates per store, on average, that are on food stamps, and are actually beneficiaries of the food donation program that Walmart has pledged to “donate $2 billion in cash and food to fight hunger”, something is clearly wrong. Instead of cashing in on of the food stamp economy, or having employees scour the shelves for just-past sell-by dates to collect for those who can’t afford food, Walmart should and can afford to invest in its own business and in restoring the the middle class by paying a living wage. This would also save taxpayers–whose money funds government programs like food stamps–$300 million a year.

Watch the video to get the facts: