FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, May 6, 2013
OUR WALMART MEMBERS ANNOUNCE PLAN TO TAKE THEIR CONCERNS TO EXECUTIVES, SHAREHOLDERS AT WALMART ANNUAL MEETING IN BENTONVILLE, AR
Associates will call on Walmart to address retaliation, poverty wages and scheduling concerns that hurt workers, customers, and the economy
On Sunday, members from the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) announced their plans to take their concerns about pay and working conditions, as well as Walmart’s retaliation against workers who speak out about these issues, directly to executives and shareholders at Walmart’s annual shareholder meeting on June 7, 2013 in Bentonville, AR. Citing Walmart’s $16 billion in profits every year, associates during a Sunday afternoon live stream broadcast announced that OUR Walmart members would caravan from across the country to Bentonville to call on the company to raise wages and increase access to full time hours so that no worker at Walmart makes less than $25,000 per year.
Though Walmart has paid lip service to workers’ concerns since the historic Black Friday strikes last fall, the company has yet to take meaningful action to address the problems plaguing associates and customers at stores across the country. Walmart workers have called on members of Walmart’s Board of Directors to meet with them, but have been met with silence. Now, members of OUR Walmart are taking the next step, confronting Walmart board members wherever they can in an effort to be heard.
“While the Walton family has the wealth of 42 percent of American families combined, many associates like me can’t even support our families without relying on government support,” said OUR Walmart member Mary Pat. “In addition to low pay, the company’s scheduling practices leave many of us with inadequate and erratic hours—making it impossible to afford even basic necessities, or even find a second job.”
In the weeks leading up to the meeting, workers and community supporters will call for the Board of Directors and the Walton family to be responsible to their employees and to the economy by creating good quality jobs for workers at its stores, warehouses, and along the supply chain.
OUR Walmart members and their supporters are also bringing their message directly to members of the Board and the Walton family, before they arrive in Bentonville – speaking at shareholder meetings of other companies where Walmart Directors also sit, and at public speaking events and fundraisers where Board members are present.
“Walmart Board Members like Rob Walton and Greg Penner of the Walton family, Marissa Mayer and Aida Alvarez can do so much more to be leaders in this company and to help change the way Walmart treats workers. We’re telling them that silence is no longer an option,” said OUR Walmart member Colby Harris.
Calls for a change of course and leadership at Walmart have grown in recent months, as the company faces allegations of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations abroad and scrutiny in the U.S. over empty shelves and long lines caused by inadequate staffing.
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.