February 26, 2013

Jonathan Williams

Walmart Workers Respond to Seventh Consecutive Quarter of Declining Same-Store Sales

In what was described as a “total disaster” by Walmart executive Jerry Murray, Vice President of Finance and Logistics, the world’s largest retailer continues to experience declining sales this month.

Many factors have been cited to explain the decline, including rising gas prices and an increase to the payroll tax, but one perspective is conspicuously absent in recent media coverage: what do Walmart employees think?

Luckily, they’ve told us.

OUR Walmart, the organization of current and former Walmart workers fighting for respect on the job, issued the following statement:

With Walmart’s fourth quarter sales report showing a decline in traffic for the first time in a year, below expected same store sales, earnings per share boosted by an unusually low tax rate of 27 percent, and guidance for Q1 lowered, OUR Walmart is issuing the following statement:

“As evidenced by today’s numbers and for the benefit of workers, customers, and shareholders, Walmart must change its current course. Over the past year, Walmart has rightly faced criticism for its treatment of workers, an alleged bribery scandal in its operations in Mexico, and its implicit responsibility in the factory fire at a Bangladesh Walmart supplier where workers lost their lives,” said Mary Pat Tifft, an OUR Walmart member from Kenosha, WI. Tifft, who has worked at Walmart for 24 years, is one of the founding members of OUR Walmart, the associate-led organization that aims to raise employee working standards, improve customer service, and ensure every Walmart employee is treated with respect.

“Tens of thousands of people are calling on Walmart to change, a major pension fund has divested, a record number of shareholders voted against the current leadership, and investors have filed lawsuits in regards to the company’s business practices. It’s time for CEO Mike Duke and the Walmart Board to take action to correct these problems or hand over the leadership to someone who will.

“Walmart should publicly commit to improved labor rights and standards. Front-line workers like me need full-time jobs with wages that will let us support our families. Workers at Walmart-controlled warehouses should not face wage theft and unsafe working conditions. And workers at factories that produce goods for Walmart should not have to risk their lives just so that the company can save a few dollars.

“And while we encourage Walmart to take steps in the right direction, we remain concerned that recent announcements to make improvements are not enough to address the underlying problems that are impacting Walmart’s business, workers, and customers.”


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