Sponsor a Striker: Brandon’s Story

Posted by on Nov 20, 2013 in Walmart Watch Blog | No Comments

Brandon Garrett has always stood up for his teammates. The talented athlete puts others first. Brandon’s hard work on the athletic field gave the young man from Baton Rouge the opportunity to play college football at Pasadena City College in California. But shortly after realizing his dream, Brandon gave it all up to return to Louisiana to care for his mother when she fell ill.

He put football aside to take a job at a Walmart in nearby Baker. But even as a Walmart worker, for Brandon it was still about taking care of his teammates. At Walmart, he saw his coworkers being treated with disrespect, and saw them struggle to survive on their meager wages. He saw how his store was always understaffed and the employees were overworked.

Brandon wanted Walmart to take pride in its workers – to pay fair wages and treat them with respect, so he stood up for his Walmart teammates. Brandon joined the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart), and went on strike in June to deliver a message to company executives in Bentonville.
But when Brandon stood up, Walmart struck back. Brandon was illegally fired for participating in the strike. He wasn’t alone. Since Summer, Walmart has fired or disciplined more than 80 workers for going on strike.

Walmart workers take a big risk when they speak out. Despite their legal rights, Walmart illegally fires many of them for standing up and going on strike. Settling these lawsuits can take years. Walmart thinks that when they fire someone, they’re intimidating workers into keeping silent. They’re wrong.

Brandon’s coworkers with OUR Walmart rallied around him. He has been unemployed since June, although he has never stopped fighting for his coworkers. They pooled their resourcers and helped him through a temporary hardship fund. But like many workers that Walmart fired for going on strike, Brandon wants to continue the fight.

Instead of the problem going away for Walmart when they fire a worker, what if that worker could become an organizer? What if instead of being unemployed, they could use all of their work hours talking to their coworkers about the importance of changing Walmart?

That’s the concept behind the newly created Sponsor a Striker fund. Donations will go directly to supporting fired Walmart strikers as they become fulltime organizers, working to help their former co-workers stand up to the world’s largest private employer.

You can learn more about Brandon and other fired workers or even sponsor one of them here.

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