Walmart Workers Call for Better Jobs in Nation’s Capital

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bringing Attention to Illegal Retaliation and Low Wages,

WALMART WORKERS SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES, CALL FOR BETTER JOBS IN NATION’S CAPITAL

Thursday: March for Good Jobs at Walmart DC Office

WASHINGTON, DC—Following an aggressive uptick in illegal retaliation against workers speaking out for better jobs at Walmart, a group of current and recently fired Walmart workers are in Washington, DC this week to share their experiences and call for changes at the nation’s largest employer and company.  The workers, part of the national organization OUR Walmart, are speaking with local residents and elected officials, Members of Congress and their staff and national leaders who are supporting their efforts.

“We’re here to make sure DC residents and our nation’s leaders know the truth about what’s going on at Walmart stores across the country,” said OUR Walmart member Jovani Gomez from Lakewood, CA.  Gomez has worked at Walmart for nearly six years before being fired for going on strike in June. “Walmart is the largest employer in the country, but the jobs that Walmart is creating are holding back American workers and families.”

With hundreds of DC-area residents supporting them, the group plans to rally outside Walmart’s DC offices to try to get Walmart to publicly commit to increasing wages that the company pays, which have been under debate since DC City Council passed a bill requiring large, profitable retailers to pay a minimum hourly wage of $12.50 an hour.  Prior to the rally, a group will visit the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) where they will highlight the public support for the Board to continue its investigations of the aggressive retaliation that workers have been facing.

“With $16 billion in profits for the company and the wealth of 42% of American families combined in the pockets of the Walton family, Walmart can and must do more to create good jobs,” Heidi Shierholz, economist at the Economic Policy Institute. “With its size and wealth, Walmart could be making an impact in strengthening and growing our middle class, but instead, Walmart workers are forced to rely on food stamps and other public supports to cover the basics.”

Calling for Walmart to publicly commit to paying full-time work at a minimum rate of $25,000 a year, OUR Walmart’s concerns are gaining support from workers, community leaders and shareholders.  At this year’s annual shareholder meeting, OUR Walmart member Janet Sparks, joined by 100 striking workers from across the country, spoke about the insufficient hours, low wages and short-staffing that are hurting customer service at stores. Additionally, Walmart employees are some of the main recipients of food stamps, Medicaid and government support.

But rather than provide good jobs that American workers need and deserve, Walmart is spending its time and money trying to deny a decent day’s pay and trying to silence workers who are standing up with their co-workers to live better.  Since the prolonged strikes in June, Walmart has illegally disciplined nearly 80 workers, including 20 worker-leaders who have been fired.

“We’ve had enough is enough of Walmart’s lip-service and lies,” said Lucas Handy of Fort Dodge, IA.  “We need full-time hours, we need better wages, and we need our jobs back with the promise that the retaliation against OUR Walmart will stop.”

On Wednesday, the group plans to visit Members of Congress to thank them for a recent letter to Walmart CEO Mike Duke calling for an end to the illegal activity, and to ask Members to sign onto the Worker Anti-Retaliation Act introduced by Rep. Alan Grayson in July.

OUR Walmart, Organization United for Respect at Walmart, formed just two years ago when 100 Walmart associates came together to voice their concerns about the company.  The group, organized the first strikes in company history last year and helped bring more than 30,000 supporters to protest at stores on Black Friday in 2012.

Follow the conversation and see photos at @ChangeWalmart, #WalmartStrikers and ChangeWalmart.org/Tumblr

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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.

  • floridanativee

    Washington just refused Wal-Marts several thousands of jobs. They would be fools to go there. Let the poor shop at the Korean Mom and Pop stores and pay twice as much. Eventually, they will realize that their politicians do not have their best interest at heart. If workers want a better than entry level job, they can get the education and training to have it usually for free.

    • Tom P Noonan

      it is time for Walmart join the United Food and Commercial Workers Union for all Walmart Cashier Workers and for all Walmart Clothing Department Workers and for all Walmart Produce Workers and for all Walmart Deli Department Workers and for all Walmart Bakery Department Workers and it is time for Walmart join the Teamster Union for all Walmart Workers Truck Drivers Workers and Sam’s Club Truck Drivers Workers and for all Walmart Hardware Department Workers and for all Walmart Gardening Department Workers and for all Walmart Pharmacy Workers and for all Walmart Customer Service Desk Workers and for all Walmart Stock Person Workers and for all Maintenance Association Workers and for Courtesy Association Workers and for all Sam’s Club Forklift Driver@Stock Persons Workers and for all Sam’s Club Cashier Workers and for all Sam’s Club Meat Cutter@Meat Wrapper Workers and for all Sam’s Club Produce Workers and for all Sam’s Club Café Workers and for all Sam’s Club Bakery Department Workers and for all Sam’s Club Maintenance Workers and for all Sam’s Club Pharmacy Workers and for all Sam’s Club Membership Desk Workers and for all Sam’s Club Cart Attendance it is time for Walmart join the Communication Workers of America Workers Union for all Walmart Electronic Workers and for all Sam’s Club Electronic Workers and it is time for Walmart join the United Auto Workers Union for all Walmart Tire@Lube Express Workers and for all Sam’s Club Tire@ Car Battery Installment Workers right of away and right and right now please by make Walmart give all Walmart Workers and all Sam’s Club Workers a Living Wage With Affordable Healthcare right of away and right now please without close down all the Walmart Store and without close down all the Sam’s Wholesale Club and without silence all the Walmart and without silence all the Sam’s Club Workers.
      Thank You Very Much
      From Tom P Noonan

  • tompnoonan1961

    Labor Day is coming up on Labor Day tell Walmart join the Union right of away and right now please by make Walmart give all Walmart Workers and all Sam’s Club Workers a Living Wage With Affordable Healthcare without close down all the Walmart Store and without close down all the Sam’s Wholesale Club and without silence all the Walmart Worker and without silence all the Sam’s Club Workers.

    Thank You Very Much
    From Tom P Noonan

  • Tom P Noonan

    Labor Day is coming up on Labor Day tell Walmart join the Union right of away and right now please by make Walmart give all Walmart Workers and all Sam’s Club Workers a Living Wage With Affordable Healthcare without close down all the Walmart Store and without close down all the Sam’s Wholesale Club and without silence all the Walmart Worker and without silence all the Sam’s Club Workers.

    Thank You Very Much
    From Tom P Noonan

  • tompnoonan1961

    Labor Day is coming up on Labor Day tell Walmart join the Union right of away and right now please by make Walmart give all Walmart Workers and all Sam’s Club Workers a Living Wage With Affordable Healthcare without close down all the Walmart Store and without close down all the Sam’s Wholesale Club and without silence all the Walmart Worker and without silence all the Sam’s Club Workers.

    Thank You Very Much
    From Tom P Noonan