Walmart and the African-American Community
Stunning Disparity between the Wealth of the Walton Family and the Struggles of the African-American Community
- The Walton family, which owns Walmart, is the wealthiest family in America and is worth more than $150 billion.
- The Economic Policy Institute found that the Waltons’ wealth is now equivalent to 79% of African-American families combined.
- You would need to add the wealth of 11.9 million African-American families of average wealth to equal the wealth of the Waltons.
Walmart Keeps Our Communities in Poverty
- Walmart is the largest employer of African Americans in the United States.
- Nearly 20% of Walmart’s 1.3 million US workers are African American.
- An independent report found that Walmart wages average just $8.81/hour.
- At Walmart’s definition of full-time work, a worker would earn just 65% of the 2014 federal poverty rate for a family of four.
- Nearly 40% of African-American part-time retail workers would like to work full-time if they could get the hours. Hundreds of thousands of Walmart workers are part-time.
People of Color Underrepresented in Walmart Management
- Minorities are disproportionately represented in low-paying positions.
- People of color made up 39% of Walmart’s US workforce in 2014, meanwhile only 29% of management were people of color. 
Walmart is a Job Killer in Our Communities
- Walmart store openings destroy almost three local jobs for every two they create by reducing retail employment by an average of 2.7 percent in every county they enter.
The Walton Family Disproportionately Funds Politicians Who Vote Wrong on Civil Rights
- The Walmart PAC and Waltons’ contributions from 2005 to 2012 show that, among candidates with Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights scores, the Walmart PAC and Waltons favored candidates who failed to protect civil rights.
- In fact, 85% of the Waltons’ contributions went to candidates with scores of 25 or below, out of 100.
- The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, is a controversial group infamous for promoting legislation that advances a conservative ideological agenda and benefits its members at the expense of everyone else.
- Walmart was a longtime member of ALEC, while the Walton Family Foundation was also a Chairman level sponsor of ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.
- ALEC helped propagate the notorious “Stand Your Ground” law linked to the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida in February 2012.
- The law, which initially shielded Martin’s shooter from arrest in weeks following the killing, came out of an ALEC working committee co-chaired by a Walmart executive in 2005.
- Other legislation supported by ALEC and its members includes the recent round of voter suppression laws introduced in 27 states.
- Supporters of discriminatory voter ID laws claim they want to reduce voter fraud, but such fraud almost never actually occurs, and never in amounts large enough to impact the result of elections.
- These laws have a disproportionate impact on the poor, the elderly and people of color.
- In May 2012, amid intense public pressure, Walmart withdrew from ALEC.
- There is still no evidence that the Walton Family Foundation has withdrawn from ALEC, despite the fact that civil rights leaders and others have called on them to do so.
Walmart & Race in 2014
- In 2014, a number of incidents highlighted the connection between police violence and the economic violence of poverty that disproportionately impacts communities of color, especially African Americans.
- In August of 2014, 22-year-old African-American father John Crawford was fatally shot by Ohio police for carrying an unloaded BB gun through a Walmart store (in an open carry state). Protests demanding justice for John Crawford ensued at both Walmart and the Xenia Courthouse, where a grand jury chose not to indict the officer responsible for Crawford’s death.
- For a period of time after the shooting, Walmart refused to publicly release the surveillance tape of Crawford’s death, even after requests from Crawford’s family. Meanwhile, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine who claimed releasing the tape to the public would bias the jury, showed the tape to Ronald Ritchie – the man who called police on Crawford and a key witness for the prosecution.
- In November of 2014, a grand jury’s decision to not indict the police officer responsible for the death of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked nationwide protests. Groups in Ferguson as well as allied groups in cities like Washington, D.C. (#DCFerguson) targeted Walmart among other retailers in a series of protests against racial inequality in America.
- Groups across the country protesting racial inequality after the Ferguson non-indictment also boycotted major retailers, including Walmart, on Black Friday – one of the corporation’s major annual sales days – at the same time Walmart workers held the largest strike in Walmart history.
- Montague Simmons, Ferguson organizer from St.Louis-based Organization for Black Struggle (OBS) told AlJazeera, “Walmart became a specific target because of its tendency to pay very low wages and push back against workers that are actually trying to organize.”
- In November of 2014, on a call announcing the largest fast food strikes in American history, Reverend William Barber III, African American leader in today’s civil rights movement, stated, “I want you to know without a shadow of a doubt that the fight for labor wages and the fight for civil rights are two movements headed in the same direction.”
 US Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Table 17: Employed and unemployed full-and part-time wage and salary workers by intermediate industry, sex, race. Annual average 2011.
 Numbers taken from Walmart 2014 Global Responsibility Report
 Neumark, David, Junfu Zhang, and Stephen Ciccarella, January 2007. “The Effects of Wal-Mart on Local Labor Markets.” Institute for the Study of Labor Discussion Paper #2545, University of Bonn. papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=958704
 Political contributions data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics. https://www.opensecrets.org/