Walmart

RSS

OUR Walmart Members and Making Change at Walmart Campaign in the News

OUR Walmart and Making Change at Walmart  campaigns highlighted in the media as workers push for better jobs and working conditions.

OUR Walmart and Making Change at Walmart
campaigns highlighted in the media as workers push for better jobs and working conditions.

Since its inception, former and current Walmart workers who are members of OUR Walmart have called on the retailer to publicly commit to raising wages and increasing access to full-time hours. OUR Walmart members have also asked the retailer to stop its practice of retaliating against workers who are simply exercising their right to speak out for a better life and improved working conditions. Over the course of the last few weeks, OUR Walmart members, Making Change at Walmart, and campaign allies have had some great stories in the news.

  • An op-ed by Robert Greenwald entitled “Walmart’s newest big lie: Another misleading ad campaign from a job-killing behemoth.” The op-ed is related to Walmart’s latest P.R. manufacturing push featuring Mike Rowe the host of the cancelled show Dirty Jobs. The op-ed on Salon can be read here.
  • An article about President Obama’s call to let more workers collect overtime pay. The article features a Walmart assistant manager who is also member of OUR Walmart. The manager is quoted as saying, “Walmart made $17 billion last year. They paid the CEO $18 million and a bonus. They can afford to pay me some overtime.” The article can be viewed here.
  • A Huffington Post article which features a quote from UFCW International President Joe Hansen about the Gap’s announcement that it is raising its wages. President Hansen is quoted as saying, “The time is now for Walmart to show leadership and responsibility to its workers and our communities [and] follow the Gap’s example and raise wages for every hourly worker.” The article can be read here.

 

Along with reading and sharing the articles, local unions can continue to support Walmart workers by downloading and sharing campaign infographics found on the Making Change at Walmart Facebook page .

UFCW California Members Lobby Their Legislators

The UFCW Western States Council, along with members and leaders from Locals 5, 8, 135, 324, 648, 770, 1167, 1428, and 1442, recently went to the State Capitol in Sacramento to lobby California legislators about issues important to working families.

UFCW members spoke about two key bills they will be pushing this session: SB270, which would ban single-use plastic bags in grocery stores and pharmacies across California, and AB1792, which would pressure companies in California to pay their fair share for health care.

Banning single-use plastic bags in grocery stores would reduce costs to consumers, protect jobs, and help clean up the environment.

As UFCW members met with lawmakers about SB270, they passed out reusable plastic bags with the UFCW and the California Grocers Association logos. As the day went on, reusable bags were seen all across the Capitol.

UFCW members in California held a lobby day at the State Capitol to talk to their legislators about issues important to workers.

UFCW members in California held a lobby day at the State Capitol to talk to their legislators about issues important to workers.

Many large companies in California – including Walmart – have used a loophole in the Affordable Care Act to move workers from employer sponsored coverage to the state’s Medi-Cal program.

AB1792 would require the publishing of data about the number of workers receiving public assistance to help ensure companies in California are pressured to pay their fair share of health costs.

Angie Balderas, a member of UFCW Local 1167, talked about the importance of speaking out.

“I think it was amazing that we went to lobby. It seemed like we took a more casual approach that was very welcomed by legislators,” she said. “I hope we continue to keep the UFCW visible at the State Capitol. I thought the visit was a success and very educational, and think we should send even more members from the stores in the future.”

Walmart CEO Acknowledges Lack of Opportunities for Workers

Walmart’s U.S. CEO Bill Simon (Photo Credit: The Nation)

A recent AP article by Josh Boak finds that Walmart—our country’s largest employer—does not provide its employees with enough opportunities for professional advancement or a pathway to a middle class life.  As a result of the Great Recession, many older and more educated workers are turning to the retail giant as a way to support their families.  And despite the retail giant’s self-promotion as a source for professional opportunity, Bill Simon, CEO of Walmart U.S., suggests that workers look elsewhere if they want to make more money and have access to better benefits.

“Some people took those jobs because they were the only ones available and haven’t been able to figure out how to move out of that,” Bill Simon, CEO of Wal-Mart U.S., acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press.

If Wal-Mart employees “can go to another company and another job and make more money and develop, they’ll be better,” Simon explained. “It’ll be better for the economy. It’ll be better for us as a business, to be quite honest, because they’ll continue to advance in their economic life.”

Walmart’s sheer scale in size means that its low-wage, part-time business practices have an enormous impact on our country’s labor, business, and employment climate, and the company’s profits before people business strategy has influenced other retailers to do the same.  That’s why Walmart workers across the country are taking the lead in the fight to change the way the retail giant does business.

Since its inception, former and current Walmart workers who are members of the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) have called on the retailer to publicly commit to raising wages and increasing access to full-time hours so that no worker at Walmart makes less than $25,000 per year. OUR Walmart members have also asked the retailer to stop its practice of retaliating against workers who are simply exercising their right to speak out for a better life and improved working conditions.

Too many Walmart workers like Joanna Lopez are struggling to survive on low wages with insufficient hours and are relying on taxpayer funded programs like food stamps to make ends meet.

Simon’s suggestion that many Wal-Mart employees might be better off leaving for other jobs surprised Wal-Mart cashier Joanna Lopez. A 26-year-old single mother, she owns no car and lives with her church pastor near Fremont, Calif. She collects food stamps and receives insurance through California’s version of Medicaid.

Lopez started at Wal-Mart as a temp in August 2011, after being unable to land a hospital job with her associate’s degree. Her pay has risen from $8 an hour to $9.20, after she moved from part time to full time. The suggestion by a Wal-Mart executive that some employees might be staying too long offended her.

“To me, that’s an utter humiliation,” Lopez said. “How can you sit there and have management say that we should find other jobs because this place is ‘no bueno?’”

As the largest retail employer in the country, Walmart can and should lead the way in making sure that retail jobs are good jobs—the kind that come with good benefits and wages for all workers. If Walmart would listen to—and respect—its workers, it could help to rebuild our country’s economy and strengthen America’s middle class.

###