Change Walmart, Change America
Call to Action!
Support Walmart Workers on Black Friday…and Beyond
Walmart has seen their fair share of “days of action” from community and labor activists. But the recent call to “Stand Up, Live Better,” culminating in walk-outs throughout the country this month, is a game-changer.
The momentum has been building for months. Workers from throughout the supply and distribution chains have walked out and even taken their demands to Walmart’s Home Office in Arkansas. The rest of us have stood in solidarity with them—leafleting, organizing delegations to managers, picketing, and inspiring a groundswell of activity across the country of historic proportions.
On Black Friday, adopt-a-store to engage in creative action during and in between the sales (usually at 10PM, 12AM and 8AM starting the night before).
In areas where OUR Walmart associates are walking out, we ask that community leaders and activists mobilize in solidarity of the action, coordinating with the workers’ plans. Elsewhere, actions can vary from sending Walmart-focused Christmas carols to petitioning the crowds with “I support associates” stickers to wear inside.
By the way, the action won’t stop there!
Walmart’s distribution chain is built on unsafe, low-paying, temporary jobs. Workers in U.S. shipping centers and warehouses that fulfill online orders for major retailers are subject to dangerous, sweatshop-like working conditions especially in the lead up to Cyber Monday, the biggest on-line shopping day of the year. This Cyber Monday, in solidarity with warehouse and supply-chain workers, instead of sending our money to Walmart – we're sending a message that we choose safe, sustainable jobs over steals and deals.
Sign and circulate the Cyber Monday pledge, and get more facts on sweatshop shipping.
As the largest private sector employer in the United States, Walmart has enormous power to set the trends not just for the retail and service industries, but for the economy as a whole. Wages and working conditions set at Walmart have a ripple-effect throughout all jobs: low wages, limited access to health care, and no retirement security.
WALMART'S WORKERS IN MOTION
Walmart’s retail workers, called associates, have formed the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart). They are asking Walmart to meet with OUR Walmart and to begin a substantive dialogue to get on a constructive path towards improving conditions for workers and communities.
At the same time, workers up and down the company's supply chain are targeting Walmart as their "real boss". Check out www.jwj.org/blog to get the latest on the warehouse workers.
Walmart's goal to expand their profits is leading them into key urban areas across the country. Walmart is campaigning to win support from community leaders and public officials that will help them expand into new urban markets. They are attempting to position themselves as a good corporate citizen and jobs creator, when in fact the company has a record of not creating good jobs, not paying their fair share of taxes, and having the effect of forcing neighboring small businesses to close down. Walmart employees can testify that what Walmart promises to communities, good jobs and fair wages, are not what the company is actually doing in practice.
WHO ARE THE FACES OF THE 1% DRIVING WALMART’S PRACTICES?
Taken from walmart1percent.org/
The Walton family is the richest family in the United States and one of the richest and most powerful in the world. They are heirs to the Walmart fortune and the company’s largest shareholders, with a nearly-fifty percent ownership of stock in the retail giant.
Sam Walton and his brother Bud opened their first Walmart discount store in 1962. Today three family members serve on Walmart’s board of directors; Rob is the chair, and sits on the board with his brother Jim and his son-in-law, Greg Penner.
Six members of the family rank among the top eleven on Forbes’ list of wealthiest Americans, with a combined net worth of about $93 billion. With their 49% stake in Walmart, they brought in an estimated $2.2 billion in dividends from Walmart stock last year alone.
Through the millions the family spends on elections and its donations to right-wing causes, the Waltons are effectively gaining an outsized influence in our democracy.
The Waltons aren’t just the face of the 1%; they’re the face of the 0.000001%.
In 2007, when the six Waltons on the Forbes list were worth $69.7 billion, their wealth was equal to the total wealth of the bottom 30% of American families. When new data on American wealth is available later in 2012, it will likely show an even wider gap between the Waltons and the rest of American families. The Waltons are worth $93 billion now, while most Americans still haven’t recovered from the recession.
Why does all of this matter? Walmart, the country’s largest private employer pays its associates an average of $8.81 an hour. That means even full-time workers at Walmart make an average of just $15,500 a year. The Waltons make billions a year off of Walmart, while many Walmart associates struggle for respect on the job and enough pay just to make ends meet. As the largest corporation in the United States, Walmart sets the standard for other companies. Walmart’s practices put pressure on many other businesses to lower wages and benefits in order to compete.
Through their family legacy, positions on Walmart’s board of directors, and their 49% stake in the company, the Waltons have the power to turn 1.4 million Walmart jobs into good jobs. Despite their power to improve the lives of Walmart workers, the Walton family has chosen not to do so.
Some say that Walmart cannot be organized. But many said the same about auto workers at Ford before 1935 or about janitors before 1985. Both victories not only changed the lives of the workers involved, but they raised the floor for working people and our communities across the country. They changed the entire economy for the better by creating sustainable, union jobs and dignity for our communities. If we can change Walmart, we can improve the lives of all working people.