This is the first in our series on why workers are standing up. Here, you’ll read the stories of real Walmart workers who have made great sacrifices in order to speak out for change at the world’s largest private employer.
Shortly after he started working there, Lucas noticed that many of the LGBT staff members, himself included, were treated unfairly, targeted and bullied. He had learned to fend for himself at a young age, as his devout Catholic parents had kicked him out of his house when he first came out in his teenage years. Tired of being bullied and disrespected simply because of his identity, Lucas knew something had to change and decided he would stand up.
He found OUR Walmart online and realized that the problems he was seeing in his store didn’t just happen in Iowa. He started speaking up for respect in the workplace.
In early June, he joined workers from across the country in going on the “Ride for Respect” a cross-country caravan and the first-ever prolonged strike. He went on strike to defend his coworkers, who had been punished or fired for going on a legally protected strike before. The trip culminated in Bentonville, Arkansas at Walmart’s headquarters during the week of their annual shareholders meeting.
After bravely protesting in front of Walmart’s headquarters, Lucas returned to work. However, just about a month later he was unjustly targeted and fired for speaking out and going on strike. He continues to speak out for respect for his fellow workers and hopes to encourage more people like himself to come forward in the fight to change Walmart.
This week, he is traveling with a group of workers to our nation’s capital. There, he will bring his message about the importance of respecting workers’ rights to the home of our democracy.