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New Site Highlights Growing Inequality, Walmart’s Impact on All Working Families

FB-image-waleconThe following post from Making Change at Walmart describes a new website they have created that depicts what life is like for the associates who make America’s largest retailer the success it is, as they gear up for Walmart’s Annual Shareholder’s Meeting.

 

 

Walmart made $16 billion in profit last year. The Walton family, who owns and controls Walmart, holds $144 billion in wealth – as much as 42% of Americans combined. Yet hundreds of thousands of Walmart workers are struggling to get by on less than $25,000 a year. Many are forced to turn to government assistance programs just to get by. And Walmart workers aren’t the only ones who are hurt by the Walmart economy, where the low-road, profit-at-any-cost business model rules.

Today marks the launch of a new site that aggregates the real life stories of trying to get by in the Walmart economy. The site provides a space where all people can share their examples of how the Walmart economy is impacting them.

WHAT IS IT?

As Walmart workers gear up for Walmart’s annual shareholders’ meeting, they will be holding actions all across the country. At these events, Walmart workers and their allies will build a wall that represents the true face of the unfair divide growing in this country. On it, we will place photos, images and objects that represent the struggle to get by in the Walmart economy. This could include anything from pictures of broken down cars people can’t afford to fix and student loan bills to photos of empty lots where business been driven out and pay stubs.

WHY ARE WE BUILDING IT?

It’s time we speak out against the Walmart economy that is hurting our nation. We can’t let the 1% of this country hide in their gated communities without having to see the reality the rest of us face every day. We want to pull back the veil of shame that surrounds economic struggles in our country and show that inequality–driven by families like the Waltons–is something all of us are facing, whether that means struggling to pay bills, drowning in debt or being unable to retire.

HOW CAN I CONTRIBUTE?

You can help Walmart workers show the Waltons and families like them how the Walmart economy impacts us all. Visit www.WalmartEconomy. com and post your story or symbol of the economic struggles we all face in our day-to-day lives. This is our chance to tell the true story of trying to get by in America.

You can submit images, videos and stories to the website www.WalmartEconomy.com/submit or on Instagram and Twitter using #WalmartEconomy.  The stories and images will then be displayed on WalmartEconomy.com for all to see.

Sample Tweet: The #WalmartEconomy means (fill in the blank with your story).

OR

1.     Go to walmarteconomy.com/submit

2.     Select in the left corner if it will be text, photo or video

3.     Enter your name and email in the right corner

4.     Write your text and/or upload your photo/video

5.     Check the boxes on the bottom “I accept the Terms of Submission”

6.     Click submit in the bottom right

UFCW JBS Workers Lobby to Protect Workers in the Beef and Pork Industries

UFCW JBS workers met with USDA/GIPSA Administrator Larry Mitchell along with numerous members of Congress to lobby for meatpacking workers.

UFCW JBS workers met with USDA/GIPSA Administrator Larry Mitchell along with numerous members of Congress to lobby for meatpacking workers.

Last week, UFCW JBS beef and pork workers traveled to Washington, D.C. for a series of lobby days to advocate for workers who are facing hardships in the meatpacking industry. Members from UFCW Locals 7R, 227, 293, 435, 540, 951, 1149, 1161, 1473, and 1776 visited with White House staff, numerous members of Congress, the DOL, and also the USDA.

During their sessions with congressmen and department officials, workers shared their stories of how they are negatively impacted by cattle shortages due to the severe drought, and hog shortages because of the PED virus.

“We’re used to working 50-60 hours a week. Now because of the drought we’re seeing a lot less work because there just aren’t enough cattle to slaughter,” said Tim Gavaldon, a JBS beef plant worker from Greeley, Colo., and member of UFCW Local 7R. “It’s really taking a toll on workers and our communities are hurting financially.”

Workers lobbied for members of Congress to support a new drought relief bill. The California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014 (S. 2016) was introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein and includes a section covering emergency supplemental agriculture disaster appropriations for agricultural and migrant farm workers. The bill would provide funds for food, rental assistance, and utilities. UFCW members advocated for similar legislation to be introduced so it includes not just farm workers, but meatpackers and food processors as well.

Workers also expressed their concern about a new healthcare plan that JBS is proposing. At a time when workers are already struggling because of reduced hours, JBS is proposing a substandard health plan that will double, or even triple the health costs for workers. If the new plan goes into effect, the costs are so high that a family could become bankrupt if they decide to have a baby or if there is a medical emergency.

“We came to Washington, D.C., to stand together and tell people on Capitol Hill that the new plan is unacceptable. This new health plan could mean financial ruin for workers and their families. We work hard to help make JBS a profitable company and now they are trying to push this on us for extra profits,” said Ramon Sanchez, a JBS beef plant worker form Cactus, Texas and member of UFCW Local 540.

UFCW JBS workers from across the country will continue to stand together and support each other until they are back to operating at full time and also fight for a fair health plan that protects workers.

This Equal Pay Day, We Still Strive for Equal Pay for Equal Work

Equal-Pay-Day-AdHere’s a sad fact: the average working woman would have to keep working until today, almost two weeks into April, to make what a man doing the same job made in 2013. We call today Equal Pay Day, a day to remember that women still only get paid 77 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make and to demand equality in the workplace. Over the course of their working lives, women make between $400,000 and $2 million less than they would if they were paid fairly.

That’s why it’s so important that the Senate has decided to consider the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would stiffen penalties for corporations that discriminate against women.

It’s been nearly 50 years since President Kennedy signed legislation that first barred gender-based pay discrimination. But when Walmart, the nation’s largest employer, can get away with paying women $5,000 less than men a year, it’s clear we need stronger protections.

Equal pay isn’t just a woman’s issue – it’s a family issue. Families increasingly rely on women’s wages to make ends meet — women are now the primary or only breadwinner in 40 percent of households. When women bring home less money each day, it means they have less for groceries, rent, doctors’ visits, and their children’s education.

When workers form a union to bargain for wages and benefits, women are protected from pay discrimination. In fact, studies show that a union voice improves a women workers’ wages more than a year of college. But UFCW members know that all workers deserve fair pay.

The Paycheck Fairness Act is a huge win-win for women workers and their families. Now we need to speak up and let the Senate know that it’s time for paycheck fairness, and that we’re ready to hold them accountable if they don’t act.

Click here to write your Senator today!