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OUR Walmart, Fast Food Workers Join Forces in the Fight for $15

This week, members of OUR Walmart joined forces with fast food workers and thousands of other low-wage workers and community allies across the country as part the Fight for $15 movement. Held on April 15, the massive mobilization cast a light on the struggles of low-wage workers who work for our country’s most profitable companies, such as Walmart and McDonald’s, and the role these companies have played in perpetuating inequality in America.

Earlier this year, Walmart caved to pressure and raised wages for 500,000 workers.  Weeks later, McDonald’s, Target, TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Dominos followed suit.  While these modest raises are a small victory, they’re not nearly enough to raise a family or keep food on the table without depending on public assistance to get by.

For-15-300x149Walmart can afford to pay all of its 1.3 million workers at least $15 per hour and provide access to full-time, consistent hours.  The company makes between $16 and $17 billion a year in profits, and just four members of the Walton Family—heirs to the Walmart empire—have a combined family fortune that is estimated to be nearly $150 billion. Their net worth is greater than the wealth held by 42 percent of American families combined!

“To think just a few years ago only a few of us would dare to stand up to companies like Walmart and McDonalds, and yet today tens of thousands of us are in the streets across the world,” said Latavia Johnson, a cake decorator at Walmart in Granite City, Ill. “We know that these companies are feeling the pressure, but the truth is, their tiny wage increases – especially with no guarantee of hours – still leave people like me struggling to keep food in my cabinets. I make $8.85 an hour and average only 20-30 hours a week. It’s impossible to feed my children, let alone myself, on that pay. That’s why I’m here today and that’s why I’ll keep standing up for the $15 an hour we need to care for our families.”

To sign the OUR Walmart petition that publicly calls on Walmart and the Waltons to raise wages to $15 per hour and provide access to full-time hours, visit http://action.changewalmart.org/page/s/For15.

 

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OUR Walmart, Fast Food Workers Will Join Forces on April 15

FightFor15-April15On April 15, members of OUR Walmart will join fast food, home care and airport workers across the country in the ongoing fight for decent pay, better schedules, and respect on the job at our country’s most profitable companies as part of the Fight for $15 movement.

Earlier this year, Walmart caved to pressure and raised wages for 500,000 workers.  Weeks later, McDonald’s, Target, TJ Maxx and Marshalls followed suit.  While these modest raises are a small victory, they’re not nearly enough to raise a family or keep food on the table without depending on public assistance to get by.

When we stand together, we win.  Let’s show companies like Walmart and McDonald’s that we’re ready to keep fighting for change and holding them accountable. With billions in profits each year, these companies can afford to pay working people a decent wage.

For more information about the actions on April 15, visit https://actionnetwork.org/forms/winning-raises-winning-changes.  You can also sign the OUR Walmart petition that publicly calls on Walmart and the Waltons, heirs to the Walmart empire, to raise wages to $15 per hour and provide access to full-time hours by visiting http://action.changewalmart.org/page/s/For15.

Tell Walmart to Discipline Managers Who Illegally Target Workers For Standing Up For Their Rights

Reposted from Making Change at Walmart

In the past few years, OUR Walmart members have won hard-fought changes at America’s largest retailer. Their bravery, dedication and many actions calling on the Waltons and Walmart to treat Walmart workers better have led to reformed policies for pregnant workers, more transparent scheduling, a raise for Walmart’s lowest paid workers and improved working conditions across the nation.

This past Black Friday, protesters turned out at store locations all over the country, asking Walmart to pay workers $15 an hour and provide access to full-time hours so that associates can afford to make ends meet. Workers went on strike to protest retaliation against workers who stand up for such changes.

Social-Media-Fight-Back-Graphic

Instead of responding to these calls for change, many Walmart managers have been illegally spying on, disciplining and even firing workers who spoke out.

Despite Walmart’s publicly stated anti-retaliation policy, the company has allowed these managers to get away with targeting workers who exercise their rights. These managers have upended the lives of workers, leaving many with no answer as to where money for rent or the next grocery visit will come from.

That’s why OUR Walmart members are calling on Walmart to either discipline these rogue managers or own up to its anti-worker policy. It’s time to end Walmart’s culture of intimidation

You can help support the fired and disciplined workers who are fighting back, by clickinghere to see which store managers have been breaking the law, and then signing the workerpetition telling Walmart US Labor Relations Manager Vice President Vicky Dawson to uphold Walmart’s policy and immediately discipline or fire these managers that have been involved in trying to illegally silence workers.

Retail Justice Alliance Celebrates Black History Month

black-history-LOCThis week marks the beginning of Black History Month, a time to celebrate the central role of African Americans in U.S. history and the achievements of the civil rights movement.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, which led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act. In 1965, a year after the Civil Rights Act was passed, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference chose Selma, Alabama, as the location to highlight its effort to register African American voters in the face of Governor George Wallace and segregationist repression. Together with the Dallas County Voters League and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the activists organized protests that led to a march from Selma to the state capital of Montgomery to highlight the desire of African American voters to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

In spite of being attacked by state troopers and the police at the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday, Dr. King and the marchers finally reached Montgomery on March 25, where Dr. King delivered his “Our God Is Marching On!” speech in front of tens of thousands of supporters.

“Let us therefore continue our triumphant march to the realization of the American dream,” Dr. King said….“Let us march on poverty until no American parent has to skip a meal so that their children may eat. March on poverty until no starved man walks the streets of our cities and towns in search of jobs that do not exist. Let us march on poverty until wrinkled stomachs in Mississippi are filled, and the idle industries of Appalachia are realized and revitalized, and broken lives in sweltering ghettos are mended and remolded.”

The organizing effort to register voters and the participation of Dr. King and other prominent leaders in the historic march had a lasting impact and the Voting Rights Act, which guaranteed the right to vote to all African Americans, was passed months later on August 6, 1965. Despite these victories, the fight for social and economic justice continues as the gap between the rich and poor continues to grow and social unrest continues to rise. In the retail sector alone, which is an important employer of minorities and women, too many workers are struggling to survive in low-wage, part-time jobs with little to no benefits. The assault on workers’ rights continues to persist, and in many cases, retail workers who want to stick together to bargain for better wages and benefits are threatened, intimidated and sometimes fired by their employers.

The march goes on and the fight for social and economic justice in the retail industry and in our communities continues.

Worker-led Protests Highlight Need for a Living Wage and Full-time Hours

rja photoLast week and for the third year, current and former Walmart workers who are members of OUR Walmart made history.  Leading up to and on Black Friday, OUR Walmart members and thousands community supporters held 1,600 protests across the country calling for Walmart to respect their right to speak out for better jobs at our country’s largest private employer—making the 2014 Black Friday actions even more widespread than last year. And today, fast food workers are making history as well as they go on strike in 160 cities across the country as part of the “Fight for 15” campaign.

As more and more workers take to the streets to call for respect, and better wages and benefits, it’s becoming very clear that our country’s current low-wage, part-time economy where a few are doing well and the rest are struggling is unsustainable.  The Retail Justice Alliance stands with these brave workers in their fight for respect, a living wage, and a pathway to a better life.

Stand with Walmart Workers this Holiday Season

DSC_0028There is no company more responsible for driving income inequality through its low-wage, part-time business practices than Walmart—our country’s largest private employer. That’s why we should all be thankful that, during this holiday season, Walmart workers across the country are again leading the fight to change the way Walmart does business.

Leading up to Black Friday, these brave Walmart workers are going on strike, leading protests and even engaging in civil disobedience, and they deserve our thanks and support. The Retail Justice Alliance is standing with Walmart workers leading up to and on Black Friday as they defend their right to speak out for positive change in the workplace.  Please join us by signing up to attend a protest or holding your own event at a Walmart store near you by visiting http://blackfridayprotests.com/.

 

We Want to Work Full-Time: IKEA Worker Speaks Out

IKEA-300x225For thousands of workers in the retail industry, working full-time doesn’t mean the security of a full-time job. Instead, many workers cobble together multiple part-time jobs with no benefits. The result, predictably, is lower wages, fewer benefits, and schedules that make life impossible for families.

But workers at IKEA are coming together in a campaign to change the corporate practices that deny workers full-time positions. The workers have gathered more than 6,000 signatures on a petition asking IKEA to offer every employee a full-time position. The workers have also taken their fight public, most recently giving an interview to PBS’s Newshour.

Dan Stillwell, a part-time worker from the IKEA store in Pittsburgh, Pa., spoke to Newshour about barely getting by while working seven days a week.

As Dan explained to Newshour, “I’d like to have one job with benefits – forty hours – to pay my bills and be able to save up for retirement. Or I won’t be able to stop working until I die.”

Dan works fifty hours each week, but is not eligible for benefits at either of his two part-time jobs. Without benefits, he cannot afford health insurance. After investing 16 years with IKEA, he only makes $9.25 an hour. But Dan’s story is familiar to many retail workers. That is why he joined IKEA workers from across the country to speak out for a union voice at work.

Dan first spoke out in an editorial to a Pittsburgh newspaper. Since then, IKEA workers have been gaining momentum in their push for full-time hours. Last month, workers from IKEA stores across the country traveled to IKEA’s North American headquarters to deliver their petition directly to the company’s top management. Now, media and economists are taking notice of the struggle of workers putting in full-time hours at part-time jobs.

You can watch Dan’s interview on PBS’s Newshour, or read more about his story in an editorial that he published in the Pittsburgh News-Gazette. To show your support for IKEA workers, sign their petition for full-time hours.

After Protests in Los Angeles, Walmart Workers Announce Black Friday Strikes

15788204405_fff199ba72_kToday, current and former Walmart workers who are members of OUR Walmart announced that they will strike across the country on Black Friday—November 28—to protest the retail giant’s illegal silencing of workers who are standing up for better jobs and the company’s low-wage, part-time business practices. OUR Walmart members will be joined by thousands of Americans—including teachers, voters, members of the clergy, elected officials, civil rights leaders and women’s rights activists—at 1,600 protests nationwide who will call on Walmart to raise wages to a minimum of $15 an hour and provide consistent, full-time work.

 The announcement comes on the heels of the first-ever sit-down strike in Los Angeles, where workers sat down in a Walmart store in Crenshaw and refused to move, holding a sit-in near cash registers and racks at the store for a two-hour period. The sit-down strike was followed by a protest at another Walmart store in Pico Rivera where dozens of Walmart workers were joined by hundreds of community allies and 23 people were arrested for civil disobedience.

As Black Friday approaches, please join us in supporting these brave men and women as they defend their right to speak out by signing up to attend a protest or holding your own event at a Walmart store near you by visiting http://blackfridayprotests.com/.

Retail Justice Alliance Stands with OUR Walmart Members in Fight for Better Wages and Consistent, Full-Time Hours

final for 15This week, current and former Walmart workers who are members of OUR Walmart delivered a petition to the Walton family—heirs to the Walmart empire—in New York City and Phoenix and to the Walton Family Foundation in Washington, D.C. The petition, which was signed by workers from 1,710 of Walmart stores in all 50 states, calls on the retail giant to publicly commit to pay its workers $15 per hour and provide workers with access to consistent, full-time hours.

Walmart can afford to pay its workers more.  The Walton family is the richest family in the U.S.—with the wealth of 43% of American families combined. While many Walmart workers are unable to feed and clothe their families on their pay of less than $25,000 a year, the Walton family takes in $8.6 million a day in Walmart dividends alone to build on its $150 billion in wealth. Walmart brings in $16 billion in annual profits.

“We are tired of seeing the Waltons enjoy every luxury this world can offer while the workers that build their wealth are unable to pay their bills,” said Interfaith Worker Justice Executive Director Kim Bobo, who is also a member of the Retail Justice Alliance. “Income inequality will only be addressed when the Waltons and Walmart provide fair pay and regular hours to their workers. I’m here today taking a stand for Walmart workers, and I’ll be back on Black Friday with thousands of others who have had enough of Walmart’s destruction of the American Dream.”

Too many Walmart workers are struggling to cover the basic necessities like food and shelter and are forced to rely on taxpayer funded supports like food stamps to survive.  Leading up to Black Friday and beyond, the Retail Justice Alliance will continue to stand with members of OUR Walmart as they fight for better workplace conditions and respect on the job.

 

OUR Walmart Members Hold Retail Giant Accountable for Income Inequality

wm workersAs the gap between the rich and poor continues to grow, Walmart workers who are members of the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) are calling on the company to take responsibility for its role in creating an economy that benefits the wealthy few while more and more Americans fall out of the middle class.

Next week, OUR Walmart members will deliver petitions to members of the Walton family—heirs to the Walmart empire and the richest family in America—in New York City and Phoenix and to the Walton family foundation in Washington, D.C., and call on the retail giant to publicly commit to pay its workers $15 per hour and provide workers with access to consistent, full-time hours.  The petitions are part of OUR Walmart’s “Low-Wage Economy Exposed Tour” to highlight Walmart and the Walton family’s role in driving the income inequality problem in our country.

There is no company more responsible for creating and exacerbating income inequality through its low-wage, part-time business practices than Walmart—our country’s largest private employer.  At the company’s own admission, the majority of Walmart’s 1.4 million workers are paid less than $25,000 a year. That means that too many Walmart workers are struggling to cover the basic necessities like food and shelter and are forced to rely on taxpayer funded supports like food stamps to survive.

Walmart can afford to pay its workers more.  The company makes between $16 and $17 billion a year in profits, and just six members of the Walton family have a combined family fortune that is estimated to be more than $150 billion. Their net worth is greater than the wealth held by 43 percent of American families combined!

Walmart and the Waltons can and should change their business practices so that Walmart workers can support their families.  Until that happens, the Retail Justice Alliance will continue to stand with members of OUR Walmart as they fight for better workplace conditions leading up to Black Friday and beyond.  To sign the petition, visit http://action.changewalmart.org/For15.