Washington, D.C. – A coalition of political and social justice activists from around the country have united to launch the National Retail Justice Alliance to highlight the social and economic plight of retail workers across the country. The new alliance was formed following the first-ever strikes by Walmart workers across the country last year, and is dedicated to raising the living and working standards of retail workers in the United States.
The retail sector is the largest industry by employment in the United States, and is projected to add almost 1.8 million jobs between 2010 and 2020—more than any other industry except construction. Although the retail sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in the country, many retail workers are struggling to survive in low-wage jobs with inconsistent hours and few benefits.
“The retail sector is an important employer of minorities and women, and too many of these workers are living below the poverty line,” said Bill Fletcher, chair of the National Retail Justice Alliance and director of field service and education at the American Federation of Government Employees. “It’s clear that leaders in the retail industry need to step up to the plate and ensure that all retail jobs have decent wages and benefits that can support a family, and Walmart—the world’s largest retailer—is a good place to start. Unfortunately, the retail giant’s drive to put profits ahead of its workers has influenced other retailers to do the same, and that’s why this alliance was formed.”
In addition to Fletcher, the National Retail Justice Alliance Steering Committee includes Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Jim Hightower, and representatives from the Economic Policy Institute, Color of Change, Jobs with Justice, Demos and other progressive leaders and organizations.
The National Retail Justice Alliance is dedicated to raising the living and working standards of retail workers in the United States. By working in collaboration with a broad base of opinion leaders, organizations and communities, the National Retail Justice Alliance builds support for workers in the retail industry through advocacy, education and research to promote sustainable jobs, living wages, affordable health care and fair public policies.