50 Years Later, Retail Workers Lead the New War on Poverty

2013-11-29_08-30-26_10On January 8, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared a “war on poverty” during his State of the Union address. Today—50 years later—the war on poverty continues, but this time it’s being led by workers in the retail industry.

Although the retail sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in the United States and an important employer of minorities and women, too many retail workers are struggling to survive in low-wage jobs with inconsistent hours and little to no benefits.  As income inequality continues to grow, it’s critically important that leaders in the retail sector lead the way in making sure that retail jobs are good jobs with benefits so that workers in this growing industry can make enough to support their families and contribute to their local economies and communities.  Walmart—the world’s largest retailer—is a good place to start.

As the largest private employer in the country, Walmart’s low-wage, part-time business model has had an enormous impact on our country’s labor, business, and employment climate.  The retail giant’s drive to lower wages has influenced other retailers to do the same and lowered the standard of living for millions of retail workers across the country.

The Retail Justice Alliance looks forward to another year of standing with current and former Walmart workers who are members of the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) as they fight to change the way that the retail giant does business.  Members of OUR Walmart have launched a petition to meet with President Obama regarding their effort to improve working conditions at Walmart.  To sign the petition, visit http://blackfridayprotests.org/.