November, 2013

John Juanitas: Scraping By on Less Than $25K

Reposted from Making Change at Walmart

John, is a 39-year-old Walmart worker. He lives with his family in Malpitas, California. He has worked at the Freemont Walmart for 5 years as a greeter and shopping cart collector.

Two years ago, Juanitas was injured on the job and since then has had his hours cut. Currently, he works between 20 and 34 hours per week and earns approximately $11,000 a year.

vigilWhen Juanitas initially started working at Walmart, he did so because he was looking for a job that would allow him to provide for his family. However, soon after he began working at Walmart he found himself impacted by the bullying, harassment and discrimination he experienced at the hands of his managers.

Juanitas, one of the founding members of the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) in the Bay Area, initially was afraid to speak up about the bullying he experiences and his poor wages because he felt alone. However, he has seen many of his coworkers stand up and fight for change at Walmart.

“I make poverty wages at Walmart and even though my family receives financial assistance from the state, we still struggle to make ends meet,” Juanitas said. “If I were to make $25,000 it would give my family the ability to live a better life. That’s why I am fighting, because I want a better life for me, my wife and our daughter.”

Read about more workers like John each week as we release more stories from the majority of Walmart employees who struggle to get by on less than $25,000 a year.

Los Angeles Walmart Workers Kick Off Black Friday Actions

Walmart workers demonstrateThis week, members of OUR Walmart from Walmart stores in the Los Angeles area went on strike during a two-day protest to call attention to Walmart’s practice of retaliating against workers who are simply exercising their right to speak out for a better life and improved working conditions. Members of OUR Walmart and community allies rallied in front of the Walmart store in Paramount, Calif., and the Chinatown Walmart store in downtown Los Angeles and called on the retail giant to publicly commit to raising wages and increasing access to full-time hours so that no worker at Walmart makes less than $25,000 per year.

“I was nervous about going on strike, but I know the only way things will change is if we stand up,” said Juan Becerra, a Los Angeles Walmart worker.

Members of OUR Walmart promise more actions throughout the month and on Black Friday unless Walmart ends its retaliation against workers who speak out for positive change. Please join us in supporting these brave men and women by signing a petition, sponsoring a striker or attending a Black Friday action in your community by visiting http://blackfridayprotests.com/.

 

Richard Wilson: Scraping by on Less Than $25K

Reposted from Making Change at Walmart

Richard Wilson, is a 26-year old Walmart worker from Chicago, IL who hopes to one day to become a minister. However, today Richard works in the meat department for the world’s largest retailer at Walmart’s Lakeview Neighborhood Market in Chicago and is currently on track to make $13,000 this year, despite working on average 32 hours a week.

When Wilson first started working at Walmart two years ago while still in college, he did so because he was promised working at Walmart would provide opportunities for him to have a career with a company that values employees. Two years later Richard has no other choice than to live with his grandmother because he cannot afford an apartment of his own.

737216_702098799818020_124332857_o“When I was recruited to work for Walmart two years ago you could not tell me that I would be making poverty wages working for a company that makes billions of dollars a year. I don’t need to be rich but I would like to be able to live on my own and be able to provide for my family. Working at Walmart, I can hardly afford to pay the $200 a month I give my grandmother to offset the expense of me living with her.”

Richard is not alone. The majority of Walmart workers make less than $25,000 a year and many have to rely on public assistance for food, shelter and healthcare. Richard decided to stand up for better working conditions, an end to illegal retaliation against workers who speak up and higher wages.

“Walmart broke its promise to me but I am not going to give up. Walmart can afford to pay me and all of its associates $25,000 a year and it can also publically commit to respecting worker’s rights and not retaliate against those of us who speak out. And that’s why I am going to keep fighting and keep raising my voice. Walmart can and should do the right thing. Dr. King said ‘the arch of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice’. I am going to keep fighting for this just cause- for me and the countless other Walmart workers who are trying to survive.”


Read about more workers like Richard each week as we release more stories from the majority of Walmart employees who struggle to get by on less than $25,000 a year.

Stand with Walmart Workers this Holiday Season

Friday, November 29—also known as Black Friday—is a key shopping day for retailers like Walmart, and members of OUR Walmart have announced widespread protests leading up to and on Black Friday this year.

1380652_690666120946036_1478520514_nLast year, members of OUR Walmart made history with strikes in more than 100 cities on days leading up to and on Black Friday. Worker actions were supported by more than 1,000 protests in 46 states, including strikes, rallies, flash mobs, direct action and other efforts to inform customers about Walmart’s illegal actions to silence, discriminate and retaliate against its workers.

Since its inception, members of OUR Walmart have called on the retail giant to publicly commit to raising wages and increasing access to full-time hours so that no worker at Walmart makes less than $25,000 per year. OUR Walmart members have also asked the retailer to stop its practice of retaliating against workers who are simply exercising their right to speak out for a better life and improved working conditions.  Their calls for change have been met with Walmart’s extreme response of firing and disciplining workers who speak out for positive changes in the workplace and to end the retaliatory practices.

Too many Walmart workers are struggling to support their families and contribute to their local economies because of low wages, insufficient hours and ongoing efforts to silence workers who are speaking out for better jobs.  Recently, Representatives George Miller (D-CA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) challenged Walmart to improve working conditions and end its reliance on taxpayer dollars to support its workforce.

With income disparity between the rich and the poor at more extreme levels than during the Great Depression, Walmart must be held accountable for its track record of lowering standards for millions of retail workers.  As Black Friday approaches, please join us in supporting these brave men and women by signing a petition, sponsoring a striker or attending a Black Friday action in your community by visiting http://blackfridayprotests.com/.