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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.

Hispanic Heritage Month: Honoring Cesar Chavez and Delores Huerta

Dolores Huerta, standing with OUR Walmart members and workers during the Ride for Respect in summer 2013.

Dolores Huerta, standing with OUR Walmart members and workers during the Ride for Respect in summer 2013.

Hispanic Heritage Month provides us with an opportunity to pay tribute Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, two great labor leaders who co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) and helped to organize the Delano Grape Strike—one of the most successful strikes in labor history.

On September 8, 1965, Filipino farm workers in Delano, Calif., who were members of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC), walked off the job at table grape farms in the area to protest the low pay and poor working conditions.  The leaders of AWOC knew that a successful strike had to include the many Latino farm workers in Delano, and they reached out to Chavez, Huerta and the NFWA to join them in their fight for dignity and respect on the job. Chavez insisted that the Filipino and Latino strikers work together and take a vow to remain nonviolent, and expanded the goals of the strikers to include the right to unionize and engage in collective bargaining.  Realizing their common goals, the NFWA and AWOC merged to form the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee in 1966.

In 1966, Chavez led a strike of California grape workers on a 300 mile march from Delano to Sacramento to raise awareness for their cause.  Soon, the strike spread to thousands of workers and the movement gained national attention and support from around the country, including the support of Robert F. Kennedy.  In 1967, Chavez shifted his focus and urged consumers and supermarket chains to boycott table grapes.  In response to the plight of the farm workers, Americans throughout the country refrained from buying table grapes in a show of support.  After five years of nonviolent strikes, boycotts, marches and fasts, the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee succeeded in reaching a collective bargaining agreement with table grape growers in California in 1970—resulting in better pay, benefits and workplace conditions for thousands of farm workers.

In 1972, the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee was accepted into the AFL-CIO and changed its name to the United Farmworkers Union. A year later in 1973, Chavez and Huerta led another successful consumer boycott against California grape growers that resulted in the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, which allowed farm workers to form unions and bargain for better wages and working conditions.

Walmart Workers’ Respect the Bump Campaign Holds First National Meeting, Protest in Chicago

In response to the illegal and unethical treatment of pregnant workers and the widespread financial hardship forced onto working women at Walmart, Walmart moms met in Chicago to call for Walmart to publicly commit to better pay and protections at the country’s largest employer of women. With the support of the country’s leading women’s rights advocates, the group developed a list of urgent policy changes the company must make to ensure that the women who are helping the company profit are not living in poverty or putting their health at risk.

The group also took their concerns to the Walmart store in the Chatham neighborhood of Chicago, where Walmart worker Thelma Moore was fired for the time off she took to ensure her pregnancy remained viable after an in-store accident.

“Walmart could be paving the way for good jobs for working moms like us,” said Moore. “Instead, we’re fighting for bathroom breaks when we’re pregnant and steady schedules that let us get reliable childcare and put food on the table.”

Moore recently filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint last week about her mistreatment at Walmart. Her complaint comes on the heels of a nationwide class action lawsuit against Walmart for discriminating against pregnant mothers.

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