Skip the Shopping Line; Spend Black Friday on the Picket Line

walmart-wages-355Walmart Black Friday

Despite raking in $17 billion in profits this year, Walmart (one on the richest employers in the world) still insists on paying its workers poverty wages. The average Walmart employee earns just $8.81 an hour, which amounts to $17,000 a year for those who are lucky enough to have full-time work. Most Walmart employees earn so little that they qualify for public assistance programs, and we the taxpayers effectively provide massive subsidies to the company through food stamps and other programs.

Walmart knows its workers are struggling, but instead of offering a living wage, decent benefits or at the very least grocery assistance for the holidays, the company actually had the nerve to ask its employees in one Ohio store to donate food items to other “associates in need.”

According to Cleveland.com:

An employee at the Canton store wasn’t feeling that Walmart was looking out for her when she went to her locker more than two weeks ago and discovered the food drive containers. To her, the gesture was proof the company acknowledged many of its employees were struggling, but also proof it was not willing to substantively address their plight.

The employee said she didn’t want to use her name for fear of being fired. In a dozen years working at the company, she had never seen a food drive for employees, which she described as “demoralizing” and “kind of depressing”.

This is simply the latest example of Walmart’s greedy and callous behavior towards its workers. One year ago, a group of brave Walmart associates and supporters launched the first-ever strike against Walmart, and the company wasted no time retaliating and firing those who lead the effort. Since then, dozens of other actions targeting Walmart have taken place all across the country – including the largest-ever civil disobedience against Walmart in the company’s history which took place earlier this month in Los Angeles and resulted in more than 50 arrests.

And their fight for justice continues to escalate. On Black Friday (November 29th) Walmart workers and supporters are once again holding a massive day of action at the retail giant’s locations around the country, asking the country’s largest employer to pay its workers a living wage and allow them to come together and speak out for change without fear of retaliation (just this week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced that it would issue a complaint finding that Walmart unlawfully retaliated against workers who went out on strike.)

The action by the NLRB only came in response to the hundreds of Walmart workers in stores and warehouses across the nation who’ve banded together under the slogan, “Stand Up, Live Better,” proving that when working people stand together, we can truly make a difference.

rebecca brandNow’s your chance to get involved with the history fight for justice at Walmart. On Friday, ditch the shopping line and spend Black Friday on the picket line at Walmart — and encourage your friends and family to join you! Find an action at a Walmart near you  You can also show your support on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #WalmartStrikers.

Rebecca Band
Labor’s Edge

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