July, 2013

Walmart Workers, Community Allies Continue to Call on Retail Giant to End Retaliation Practices

DSC_0918Walmart workers who are members of the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) and community allies throughout the country continue to call on Walmart to stop violating employees’ labor rights and freedom of speech and reinstate the Walmart employees who were illegally fired for participating in a legally protected unfair labor practice strike.  In the past few weeks, the retail giant has fired or disciplined over 60 members of OUR Walmart who protested Walmart’s unfair labor practices at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Bentonville, Arkansas, in June.

Last week in Southern California, more than 100 protestors demonstrated in front of the Walmart store in Lakewood, while a delegation of clergy members and illegally fired Walmart workers talked to management at that store and called on them to reinstate employees who were unfairly fired for going on strike. All across the country, similar actions took place during the week, including in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Washington D.C., Sacramento, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

For more information, visit http://makingchangeatwalmart.org/.  Tell Walmart to reinstate the recently fired Walmart workers by signing a petition online at  http://action.changewalmart.org/endyoursilence.

Rising Up and Raising Standards

Macy’s workers from UFCW Local 21 gather to vote on their latest contract after negotiations.

Macy’s workers from UFCW Local 21 gather to vote on their latest
contract after negotiations.

Macy’s and Bloomingdales workers are mobilizing to raise the bar for retail workers’ wages, benefits, and working conditions.

Macy’s workers from across the country have been working together to send a message to the company that not only do retail workers have a right to join a union, but union workers are willing stand up for each other to make sure that all Macy’s workers have a contract that  ensures a job at Macy’s comes with the kind of pay, benefits, and working conditions that makes it a good, family supporting job.

Macy’s workers from UFCW Local 21 in Seattle, Washington are celebrating a new union contract that raises wages, includes lump sum bonuses, increases commission rates, and improves scheduling. Together in their union, the workers fought back against the company’s effort to be open on holidays like Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Instead of working those days, associates can spend time with family.

It’s only because workers stuck together in their union that they were able to sit down with the company and negotiate improvements in their wages, benefits, and working conditions. It’s a tough economy, but Macy’s is a successful, profitable company. They proved that when workers stick together, they can share in their company’s success.

During their negotiations, other UFCW Members from New York, California, Pittsburgh, Washington, Virginia, Washington DC and part in an nationwide show of unity by hand billing shoppers at their stores. In this show of solidarity, Macy’s associates thanked their customers for shopping union, and asked them to support keeping jobs at Macy’s good union jobs.

Walmart Continues to Retaliate Against Workers Who Speak Out for Positive Change

FireShot Screen Capture #334 - 'Twitter _ matt_toner_ #walmartstrikers walk awayWalmart has intensified its illegal campaign of punishing workers who exercised their right to come together and speak out for positive change in the workplace. In the past few weeks, the retail giant has fired or disciplined over 60 members of the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart), who protested Walmart’s unfair labor practices at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Bentonville, Arkansas, in June.

This week, members of OUR Walmart, along with warehouse workers and other allies, are fighting back with an unprecedented wave of public protests planned on the ground in Boston, the Bay Area and online. They are calling on members of Walmart’s Board of Directors to end to the labor mismanagement under CEO Mike Duke’s leadership that has led to understaffing, unsafe conditions, and illegal retaliation in stores, warehouses and at suppliers.

For more information, visit http://makingchangeatwalmart.org/.

To help reinstate the recently fired Walmart workers, please sign the petition online at  http://action.changewalmart.org/endyoursilence.

Other Retailers Join Walmart in Opposition to LRAA

This week, Macy’s, Target and other large retailers joined Walmart in opposing the Large Retailer Accountability Act, a bill requiring major retailers in Washington, D.C. to pay employees a ‘living wage’ of at least $12.50 an hour.

source: dc direct action news

On its second reading before the D.C. Council, the Large Retailer Accountability Act passed by a margin of 8-5 earlier in July. While the bill enjoyed the support of a majority of councilmembers and many D.C. residents, Walmart threatened at the last minute to cancel the construction of three stores slated to open in the District if the bill became law.

With so much at stake, workers in Washington, D.C. need your help to make sure the bill gets finalized. Please click here and send an email to D.C.’s Mayor Gray, asking him not to veto the bill. Washington, D.C. is just the beginning–cities around the country are pushing for living wages, and corporations are beginning to realize that the people have a say in how businesses operate on their turf.  Let’s tell Walmart that if they want to be in the nation’s capital, they need to pay a living wage!

DC Mayor Gray Should Sign the Large Retailer Accountability Act

Statement from EPI President Lawrence Mishel

Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and a member of the Retail Justice Alliance, issued the following statement on July 16 in support of the Large Retailer Accountability Act, a bill requiring major retailers in Washington, D.C. to pay employees a ‘living wage’ of at least $12.50 an hour.  To view the original statement, visit http://www.epi.org/publication/dc-mayor-gray-should-sign-the-large-retailer-accountability-act/.

I strongly support the Large Retailer Accountability Act and urge Mayor Gray to sign it into law. When large retailers pay wages far below what families need to get by, it brings down the wages of workers across all sectors and forces workers to rely on Medicaid and other public assistance programs to make LRAAcrowdends meet. Walmart and other large retailers can afford to pay workers more, but they don’t. Instead they have been a leader in driving down wages nationwide. Make no mistake, this bill is not about Walmart—it is about the role that workers play in our city and our nation. As the economy—and corporate profits—continue to grow, we must ensure that workers and indeed all citizens in the District benefit as well.

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ABOUT EPI

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) is an independent, nonprofit think tank that researches the impact of economic trends and policies on working people in the United States.

Walmart’s Treatment of Workers Is Shameful

By Bill Fletcher, chair of the Retail Justice Alliance

It’s been a busy week for Walmart.  The retail giant threatened to pull out of three planned stores in Washington, D.C. after the city council voted on a bill requiring major retailers to pay employees a ‘living wage’ of at least $12.50 an hour.  And after refusing to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety, which would make real improvements in the safety of garment workers in Bangladesh, Walmart, Gap and other retailers announced that they had established a “Global Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety,” a bogus plan with no enforceable commitments to workplace safety.

Walmart has also continued to fire or retaliate against workers who were simply exercising their right to speak out for a better life and improved working conditions.  These workers are members of the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart), who traveled to Walmart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., in June to protest the company’s practice of retaliating against workers who speak out for change.

It’s time for Walmart to put people before profits and be a good employer here at home and abroad.  For more information about the brave workers who are fighting for better wages, benefits and safer working conditions here at in the U.S. and for their brothers and sisters in Bangladesh, visit http://makingchangeatwalmart.org/.

OUR Walmart Members Push Walmart to be a Good Employer Here at Home and Abroad

Walmart workers ask for all workers to be treated fairly and with respect.

Walmart workers and OUR Walmart members ask for all workers to be treated fairly and with respect.

On June 29, OUR Walmart members and supporters held an action in the California Bay Area to call on Walmart and Gap to sign the Bangladesh Factory Fire and Safety Agreement. The

agreement will improve the safety of garment workers that produce clothing for both retailers in Bangladesh. Public pressure for Gap and Walmart to sign the agreement has increased since the recent tragedies in Bangladesh factories, including the Rana Plaza factory collapse which killed 1,127 workers.

Protestors also continued to call on Walmart Boardmember and Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer to use her influence to stop Walmart from violating employee labor rights and freedom of speech, or resign from the Walmart Board of Directors. The protest was part of continued effort to reach Mayer, and follows a protest at Yahoo! headquarters during Mayer’s first Yahoo! shareholder meeting as the company’s CEO.

OUR Walmart members and community supporters also held an action in Sacramento on June 29 and will hold another action in Los Angeles today to protest the company’s attempt to

silence workers who are speaking out for positive change. Three weeks ago, members of OUR Walmart traveled to Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, to protest the company’s unfair labor practices during the annual shareholders’ meeting. In response, Walmart has illegally begun to retaliate against OUR Walmart members—including suspending, disciplining and firing workers who went on strike.

It’s time for Walmart to step up and be a good employer here at home and abroad. The Retail Justice Alliance strongly supports these brave workers who are fighting for their right to speak out for positive change at work, and taking a stand for their brothers and sisters in Bangladesh. For more information about OUR Walmart, visit http://makingchangeatwalmart.org/.