Walmart Workers Arrested Protesting Marissa Mayer and Walmart Over Attack on Workers’ Free Speech

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:Monday, June 24th 2013

On eve of Marissa Mayer’s first shareholder meeting as Yahoo’s CEO,

 

Walmart Workers Arrested Protesting Marissa Mayer and Walmart Over Attack on Workers’ Free Speech

 

Workers Protest Walmart Board Member Marissa Mayer After Being Fired for Speaking Out for a Better Life and Improved Working Conditions

 

Sunnyvale, CA – Today, recently fired Walmart Associates who were illegally terminated by the company in an attempt to suppress their rights to speak out and join together with their coworkers for a better life held a dramatic protest at Yahoo Inc. headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, leading to five arrests. The actions taken by the workers were to bring attention to Marissa Mayer’s, Yahoo’s CEO and a board member of Walmart, silence as the retail giant bullies its employees. As a Board member at Walmart, Mayer has a responsibility to ensure that Walmart does not violate the freedom of speech of workers who speak out for better jobs, said Walmart workers.

The dramatic sit-in and march at Yahoo’s headquarters took place a day before Yahoo’s annual shareholders meeting and follow recent protests at Yahoo’s campus and Mayer’s Four Seasons penthouse in San Francisco. For months, Walmart workers and community members have raised concerns about her position as a board member at Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, which is facing pressure both from its employees and community groups over the company’s business practices at home and overseas.

Since June 2011, Walmart Associates have been organizing as a group known as the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart). That organizing resulted in a series of strikes nationwide leading up to Walmart’s June annual shareholder meeting. Now, just days after that meeting, Walmart has responded by firing and disciplining workers who participated in the OUR Walmart protests and strikes in an illegal effort to suppress workers’ freedom of speech. Their efforts are being met by an outcry from community and elected leaders at the national, state and local level who are calling on the Board of Directors to take control of the company’s behavior to ensure that the law is followed and basic American values are respected.

“As a working mom, I thought Marissa Mayer would understand why I’m standing up to create a better life for my family,” said Walmart associate Marie Roberty, who was recently fired for speaking out. “I was wrong. We’ve been reaching out to Ms. Mayer for months now, but so far she’s remained silent. I joined with my coworkers in publicly calling for Walmart to improve in the hopes of keeping food on the table, a roof over our heads, and having a regular schedule that allows me to be there for my kids. Instead, Walmart fired me – and I’m here today to hold Marissa Mayer accountable for this, and I’ll keep speaking out until Walmart ends its illegal retaliation against me and my coworkers.”

The workers’ calls for change come as Mayer and other members of Walmart’s board have remained silent even as the company contends with widespread protests against its treatment of its workers, plummeting customer service ratings and weak store sales due to understaffing, and preventable tragedies in the supply chain.

OUR Walmart members and supporters nationwide have been calling for the company to end retaliation against employees and publicly commit to providing full-time work with a minimum salary of $25,000 a year so workers don’t have to rely on taxpayer funded programs to support their families. As the nation’s largest private employer, a change of course at Walmart would have a direct impact on millions of working families and the economy as a whole.

Workers and their supporters also delivered a card signed by hundreds of progressive journalists, activists, and other supporters at last week’s Netroots Nation; that card asks Mayer to meet with Walmart workers and support their calls for change at the company.

“Walmart’s outrageous suppression of its workers’ freedom of speech shows just how far out of step this company is with American values of freedom and respect for hard work. It’s unacceptable that a company with $16 billion in profits is bullying working families just trying to make ends meet and keep food on the table,” said Terry O’Neill, President of the National Organization for Women (NOW). “We’re not going to stand for it – we’re going to stand up to Walmart’s illegal behavior until they stand down and respect workers’ rights to speak out.”

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LEGAL DISCLAIMER: 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.

4 thoughts on “Walmart Workers Arrested Protesting Marissa Mayer and Walmart Over Attack on Workers’ Free Speech

  1. They have to stand up and unite nationwide.
    Just protesting at one or two stores won’t get it.
    Shut em down nationwide and keep shutting
    Them down. Maybe then the American people
    Will back them. If they won’t fight for themselves
    What else can I say.

  2. If you don’t like it, don’t whine about it and demand more than what your job position is actually worth. Get out and do something more for yourself. Find something else. This is America. If no one else will hire you, then be grateful someone actually did. Nobody is forcing anyone to work at Walmart. I used to work at Kmart. It didn’t pay enough so I went to Job Corp (FYI: free government -paid trade school for poor kids), I learned a trade and now I make a livable wage. If you want more, DO more! Go ahead and continue to fight for fairness. If you work overtime, demand whats yours. If lady-cashier is getting paid less than the the dude-cashier strictly because of a difference in sex, sue ‘em. But don’t insult other people that did more by going to school, people who put time, sacrifice, and effort in becoming more valuable in the job market. If you want that, move to a socialist country then come back in about 10 years because we’re heading down that road anyway.

    • A great success story of personal responsibility. It has been repeated thousands and thousands of times and could be repeated by any one of the whiners. Your employer is not your Daddy. Your success is your responsibility. America is filled with stories of folks who had humble beginnings and went on to great success. Sam Walton was one of them. Employers are crying for good people. People doing just enough to get by are always going to be on the bottom rung of the ladder. You can pull yourself up. Lynn above did and I did. Relying on the union for your success is a very bad plan. They have been selling this same line for 2 decades and have not unionized one store in America. I think there are over 4,000 of them. They just want your dues money because Wal-Mart has decimated the other grocery chains and take away 25% of their business and dues paying members.

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