Yesterday, more than 50 Walmart associates and supporters were arrested in downtown Los Angeles in the largest civil disobedience in the company’s history. The protesters called on the company to end retaliation against workers that have spoken out for respect on the job, many of whom have been fired after participating in similar protests earlier this year.
Yesterday’s worker-led action is the first in a series of planned protests targeting the nation’s largest employer, Walmart, culminating on the biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday. For the second year in a row, members of OUR Walmart will be taking bold action to demand decent wages and respect on the job. On Black Friday, Jobs with Justice will join OUR Walmart members in actions at thousands of stores across the country.
Show your support for the courageous Walmart workers! Sign up for a Black Friday protest near you:
It is becoming more clear that the actions taken by workers since last year’s historic Black Friday strikes are having an impact on Walmart. Earlier this year, Walmart launched “The Real Walmart” ad campaign in an attempt to improve its image. The company recently responded to criticism about employee retention, hours, and opportunities for advancement by announcing it would make 25,000 promotions throughout its ranks, while failing to mention the rate of promotions was not an increase from 2012. Additionally, three Walmart board members targeted by activists to improve the company resigned this year. Walmart even ranked on a consumer survey list of “2013 Brands with the Worst Reputation.”
Despite their best efforts, the company is still recognized as the leading brand in the race-to-the-bottom business model that is driving down standards for everyone. CEO Bill Simon recently confirmed that more than half and as many as two-thirds of the company’s employees make less than $25,000 annually. Without a decent wage, employees of the world’s most profitable retailer often can’t feed their families, let alone afford rent, medication, or care for their loved ones. Taxpayers end up footing the bill when Walmart employees earning substandard wages and benefits are forced to rely on government assistance programs such as Food Stamps and Medicaid.
As the ranks of OUR Walmart keep growing, along with the rising tide of strikes by workers employed in fast food chains across the country, Jobs With Justice is committed to supporting low-wage workers demanding the freedom to earn a decent living.