OUR Walmart, JwJ Pay a Visit to Walmart's Board of Directors
On December 6th, Jobs with Justice leaders joined small delegations of OUR Walmart and UFCW members and community allies to visit the local offices of members of Walmart’s Board of Directors. In DC, San Francisco, New York, Miami, Seattle and Chicago, workers and community leaders asked board members to meet with OUR Walmart, dropping off a letter and a DVD outlining the concerns of many of Walmart’s 1.4 million workers.
While Walmart associates are the lifeblood of the company, they aren’t always treated with the respect they have earned. Associates work tirelessly to serve Walmart customers and have earned the right to respect, the chance to work full-time in stores with enough staff to take care of customers, a predictable work schedule, a pay rate that allows us to take care of ourselves and our families, and affordable healthcare.
Jobs with Justice and other allies had previously joined OUR Walmart in Bentonville, AR at the company’s international headquarters to deliver the Declaration for Respect to CEO, Mike Duke and ask for a meeting. Mike Duke would not meet. Hundreds of JwJ activists called Mike Duke, Karen Casey and others during the National Conference on August 5th of this year, asking them to meet with workers and community allies—and still no response. In October, OUR Walmart and allies were met with resistance during our second visit to Bentonville headquarters to ask for a meeting with Mr. Duke. Despite numerous calls to meet with OUR Walmart, Mike Duke has been unwilling to meet with Associates to address the issues that have been raised.
Workers and community leaders were left with no other options but to start meeting directly with Walmart’s board members.
In the Washington, DC area, the Respect DC coalition—anchored by DC Jobs with Justice, worked with OUR Walmart to coordinate a delegation to visit Arne Sorenson, President and CEO of the Marriott Corporation who serves on Walmart’s board. Led by Cynthia Murray of OUR Walmart (pictured), other workers, staff, members from the National Organization for Women and other leaders walked in and requested a meeting with Sorenson, referred to as Mr Marriott at the front desk. Sorenson had left town earlier that morning, and so Cythia was first escorted to his office to hand deliver the letter and later instructed to give it to the head of security.
The letter, delivered to Sorenson and others around the country, stated that as a member of the board they have an opportunity to help the company ensure that associate concerns are being taken seriously. They were asked to set up a formal meeting with OW to hear these concerns and ask CEO Mike Duke to do the same.
As of yet, no formal responses have been received.