January 16, 2014

OUR Walmart, Supply Chain and Warehouse Workers Renew Calls for Improving Jobs at Walmart

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PRESS CONTACT:
Giovanna Frank-Vitale 646.200.5334, Giovanna.vitale@berlinrosen.com

OUR Walmart, Jobs With Justice, Farm Labor Organizing Committee, National Guestworkers Alliance, National Family Farm Coalition, United Farm Workers, United Workers Congress and Warehouse Workers United issued the following press release:

As Federal Labor Board Confirms Walmart Broke the Law and California Court Names Walmart in Massive Wage Theft Lawsuit, OUR Walmart, Supply Chain And Warehouse Workers Renew Calls For Improving Jobs At Walmart

Group Calls Walmart’s Sign on to Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food Program a Win for Workers; Demands Company Do More to Improve Wages and Treatment of Workers

WASHINGTON – Following the federal Labor Board’s landmark decision to prosecute Walmart for its aggressive violations of workers’ rights in 14 states and a decision by a California court to name Walmart in a massive wage theft lawsuit at warehouses, OUR Walmart members and supporters nationwide are renewing their calls for the company to improve jobs.

OUR Walmart member Martha Sellers who works at Walmart in Paramount, CA said:

“Walmart must publicly commit to increase wages and improve working conditions for the hundreds of thousands of us who work in Walmart’s retail stores, warehouses, global supply chain, food processing plants and those who harvest food. As the largest retailer and employer in the country and the world, Walmart can have an impact on strengthening the US and global economy by improving jobs.

“Farm workers harvesting food for Walmart will no doubt benefit from the increase in wages that will result from the company signing onto the Coalition for Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food Program, but the company must continue to improve wages and jobs for all of the workers that help Walmart profit.

“Even though Walmart is making $17 billion in annual profits and the Walton family has a combined wealth of $144.7 billion, the company has not taken any meaningful steps to improve jobs despite the unprecedented growing calls by workers and communities across the globe. Instead, workers like me are paid less than $25,000 a year and can’t get the full time hours we need. And other workers in warehouses and the supply chain are also facing horrific safety conditions at work.

“Walmart must continue in a direction of listening to the workers that are helping the company profit. We hope that new company CEO Doug McMillon will do more to hear from workers about improving jobs and customer service so that together we can help Walmart succeed.”

Yesterday, the National Labor Relations Board issued the largest-ever complaint against Walmart for breaking federal labor law by violating workers’ rights. The complaint alleges Walmart illegally fired and disciplined more than 60 workers in 14 states, including those who went on strike last June to speak out for better jobs. The complaint—the largest ever against Walmart in both size and scale—names 63 individual store managers and company spokesperson and vice president of communication David Tovar’s illegal threats made to employees.

In California, Walmart was just named as a joint employer in a major California warehouse operation where workers have alleged in court that they have had millions of dollars of their wages stolen.

In its treatment of workers at factories overseas, Walmart is also falling short on ensuring safe working conditions and fair pay:

  • To date Walmart has still refused to compensate victims of the Tazreen & Rana Plaza deadly tragedies despite incontrovertible evidence that these locations were producing garments for Walmart stores.
  • Walmart has also refused to sign the Accord in Bangladesh, which has been signed by more than 70 other major retailers, that will help ensure no further tragedies.
  • Walmart has yet to ensure that the use of forced labor & abuse of guest workers will not take place in suppliers in the US, as had occurred in 2012 with workers of a Louisiana seafood supplier.

Kimi Lee, National Coordinator of the United Workers Congress said:

“Given that Walmart is the largest private employer on the globe and in the US, Walmart bears the highest responsibility in ensuring that those who are a part of making Walmart successful are able to successfully take care of themselves and their families, which for hundreds of thousands is not currently possible.

“Together, we are calling on Walmart to immediately raise standards and improve working conditions for the millions of workers who work in Walmart’s retail stores, warehouses, global supply chain, food processing plants and those who harvest food destined for Walmart shelves.”

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