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“THE NUMBER-ONE SELLING ITEM IN WALMART STORES IS BROKEN PROMISES”

Making Change at Walmart responds to company’s announced change in scheduling

Washington, DC — Making Change at Walmart (MCAW), the national campaign to change Walmart into a more responsible employer, released the following statement responding to Walmart’s recently announced change in workers’ scheduling practices:

“The number-one selling item at Walmart stores is broken promises,” said Jess Levin, communications director for MCAW. “Just ask any worker who had their hours cut or their store closed while Walmart was touting its so-called ‘wage increases.’ There is Walmart rhetoric and then there is reality.”

“Walmart workers deserve the fair and flexible scheduling for which they have fought. We hope this is a promise the company actually keeps, and we will continue to hold Walmart accountable to make sure they are keeping their word to workers.”

BACKGROUND:

It’s easier to find a unicorn than a Walmart worker who has received a meaningful raise.” – MCAW statement, 1/20/16

“While it pretends to value its employees, the reality is, for Walmart, its workers are disposable.” – MCAW statement, 1/15/16

Walmart Workers Propose Major Reforms at Shareholder Meeting

venanzi shareLast week, following two weeks of events in cities across the country, Walmart workers held a series of public actions at Walmart’s HQ, as well as at the company’s annual shareholder meeting. During the events, Walmart workers called on the company to make immediate changes across an array of issues, including increasing hourly wages and ending workplace intimidation.

“The time has come for Walmart to take real actions to help improve the lives of Walmart workers and their families. It is simply wrong for Walmart to ignore our calls for change and look the other way as hundreds of thousands of hard-working associates continue to struggle to make ends meet. Walmart must change, and it must change now,” said Cindy Murray, a current Walmart associate.

As part of the actions at the shareholder meeting, Walmart workers called on the company to help lift hundreds of thousands of their dedicated employees out of poverty by paying a living wage, as well as providing stable full-time hours for all associates.

Two leaders of the workers group also presented two resolutions intended to rein in executive compensation and incentivize sustainable investment, such as fair wages and benefits for all workers across Walmart. The resolutions, including a proposal supported by the Sierra Club, also called on Walmart to reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced by international marine shipping.

“Despite some recent efforts on the company’s part to reduce its carbon footprint, Walmart is still one of the largest and fastest-growing polluters in the country,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “If Walmart is really serious about driving climate solutions, they should put their money where their mouth is, by setting goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from international marine shipping, reporting progress toward those goals to their shareholders, and setting a deadline for 2020 to meet their commitment for 100% clean energy in the U.S.”

During the shareholder’s meeting, the Walmart workers proposed a new policy establishing an independent chairperson for Walmart’s Board of Directors, and called on company leaders to immediately address the recent closure of stores and the laying off of more than 2,200 Walmart workers around the country.

“Mr. Rob Walton, the current non-independent chair of the board, is the most powerful person at our company. The buck stops with him. He could stop these layoffs. He could stop the retaliation. He could stop this company from repeatedly breaking the law. But he has not. That’s why we need an independent chair. ”said Venanzi Luna, a former Walmart employee, who has worked for Walmart in Pico Rivera, Calif., for eight years.

Ms. Luna worked at the first Walmart store to strike in 2012 and one of five stores the company abruptly closed in April, citing “plumbing issues.” More than 2,000 workers were laid off following these sudden closures.

“Our fight to change Walmart will never stop until Walmart does the right thing for all its workers and their families. We’re going to continue to speak out until every hard-working associate is paid a real living wage, full time work that allows them to support their families, and is allowed to stand with their co-workers without fear of retaliation.” said Mary Watkines, a 15-year Walmart associate and shareholder.

 

 

Following Retaliatory Closures, Walmart Workers Take Legal Action

Supported by elected officials, clergy and community members, group files for injunctive relief with the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of workers

Local school board launches resolution calls on Walmart to consider economic impact to local community, transfer and reinstate workers

11174655_1092389480778107_6579073321344252761_oNATIONWIDE —Yesterday Pico Rivera Walmart workers withOUR Walmart filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board in response to Walmart’s retaliatory store closings. Last week, Walmart abruptly closed 5 Walmart stores in four states due to an alleged national plumbing emergency. However, city officials point out that the company has obtained no permits to begin repairs in any of these locations. Walmart has failed to offer any evidence of a plumbing emergency that would require the immediate closing of five stores. Among the five stores was the Pico Rivera, California Walmart Supercenter, which has been the hotbed for worker action. The store is also of symbolic important to the low-wage worker movement, as it sparked the Walmart and fast food strikes when it was the first store to go on strike in October of 2012. Workers from the store also held the first large sit-down strike and participated in civil disobedience in the weeks prior to last Black Friday.

“This is a new low, even for Walmart,” said Venanzi Luna, an eight-year Walmart worker and long-time OUR Walmart member. “It’s just so heartless to put thousands of your employees out of a job with no clear explanation on just a few hours’ notice. We know that Walmart is scared of all we have accomplished as members of OUR Walmart so they’re targeting us. Through OUR Walmart, we’re going to keep fighting back until the company gives us our jobs back. It’s unfortunate that Walmart has chosen to hurt the lives of so many people, just to try to conceal their real motives of silencing workers just like they’ve always done.”

Workers are asking the National Labor Relations Board to see injunctive relief under section 10j of the National Labor Relations Act. They are calling on the National Labor Relations Board to compel Walmart to rehire all of the workers who were terminated in all five stores and reinstate them to their own stores or transfer them without loss of pay until they can be reinstated to their stores. A 10j injunction is designed to allow the court to act quickly to remedy such extreme violations without the long delay which is anticipated for NLRB proceedings.

As the filing notes, this is not the first time Walmart has taken dramatic action to quell worker action. In June of 2014, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that Walmart had violated labor law when it closed the Jonquiére, Quebec Walmart store. The workers in that store had voted to join a union, becoming the first unionized store in North America just before it closed. In 2000, butchers in aJacksonville, Texas Walmart voted to join UFCW Local 540. Two weeks later, Walmart closed its 180 meat departments in stores nationwide and switched to prepackaged case ready meat only. More recently, Walmart fired and disciplined more than 70 workers who participated in strikes in June 2013. An Administrative Law Judge of the NLRB has found merit to claims against Walmart and additional claims are currently being prosecuted by the General Counsel of the NLRB against Walmart.

“Walmart’s choice to close one of the most vocal stores in the fight for $15 and full time is a clear and direct assault on all workers’ rights,” said Jobs With Justice Executive Director Sarita Gupta. “As a country, we cannot sit back quietly as our nation’s largest private employer is allowed to lay off thousands of people in an attempt to silence them from speaking out for better wages, hours and respect on the job.”

Community members and elected officials have also come out in support of Walmart workers. The El Rancho Unified School District, in which the Pico Rivera store is located, will vote on a resolution in support of the laid off Pico Rivera Walmart workers. The resolution “calls on Walmart to consider the economic hardship their decision has caused for their 530 Associates from the Pico Rivera store and their families and commit to transfer all of the Associates to surrounding Walmart stores before new people are hired to fill positions in those stores…”

Other community members also attended yesterday’s press conference to call attention to the impact of Walmart’s actions on their neighborhoods, congregations and communities.

“It is a scandal against all that is righteous, though it is unfortunately not surprising, that Walmart, the economic Pharaoh who cannot see workers as people but only as expense lines, has again decreed unemployment and poverty and suffering on 530 workers here, and similar numbers in four other stores,” said local Rabbi Aryeh Cohen. “In November, I joined other clergy and community leaders and workers in an act of civil disobedience to support the brave workers who sat down and struck in order to stand up with dignity. We then demanded $15 an hour and access to full employment. Today our demands have not changed. However, we also demand that Pharaoh rehire all 530 workers, give them priority before hiring other workers for less pay, and support the fired workers beyond the mandated 60 days.”

Workers promised that they would continue to fight the company’s retaliatory closures with bold action until the company meets their calls for reinstatement, transfer with equal pay and compensation in the interim and finally, the opportunity to return to their stores when they reopen.

“Allowing Walmart to get away with such a blatant attack on the rights of workers’ in our community would open the door for any employer to simply develop ‘plumbing issues’ whenever workers stood up for change in their workplace,” said SEIU 721 Chief of Staff Gilda Valdez. “We need to send a message to Walmart and all employers that in our community, the rights of working people must be respected. That’s why we’ll continue to stand with Walmart workers as they fight to get back to work and for change at the world’s largest private employer.”

Wage Hikes at Walmart Are Not Sufficient, New Report Highlights


ATF fact 1-edit
Walmart’s plans to raise wages for 500,000 hourly employees, starting at $9 per hour for its lowest paid workers in April 2015 and $10 per hour in 2016, will still require billions in taxpayer subsidies to compensate for the retail giant’s low-wage, part-time business strategy, according to a new report by Americans for Tax Fairness.

The report, titled The Walmart Tax Subsidy: Walmart’s Wage Hike to $10/Hour Still Requires Large Taxpayer Subsidies, points out many Walmart workers being paid $9 or $10 per hour for 34 hours per week (which is considered full-time at Walmart) would still qualify for public assistance, such as food stamps. Increasing Walmart wages to $15 per hour and full-time hours to 40 hours per week would enable many Walmart workers to be lifted above the income levels that qualify for public subsidies.

Members of OUR Walmart have launched a petition calling on Walmart and the Waltons, heirs to the Walmart empire, to raise wages to $15 per hour and provide access to full-time hours.  To sign the petition, visit http://action.changewalmart.org/page/s/For15.atf-fact3

 

 

WALMART ILLEGALLY RETALIATED AGAINST WORKERS, NLRB FINDS

Yesterday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued the largest ever complaint against Walmart for breaking federal labor law by violating workers’ rights. The complaint alleges that Walmart illegally fired and disciplined nearly 70 workers, including those who went on strike last June to speak out for better jobs.

The NLRB asserts illegal activities in 14 states at 34 stores and shows that Walmart executives conceived and oversaw the implementation of an unlawful retaliation policy for store managers to execute. The complaint—the largest ever against Walmart in both size and scale—names 63 individual store managers and Vice President of Communication David Tovar.

Current and former Walmart workers who members of OUR Walmart have called on the retail giant to stop its practice of retaliating against workers who are speaking out for positive change,photo (7) and publicly commit to increasing access to full-time work and raising wages to at least $25,000 per year.  While the majority of Walmart associates are paid less than $25,000 a year, Walmart makes $17 billion in annual profits and the Waltons—the richest family in the country—has a combined wealth of $144.7 billion.

“Walmart thinks it can scare us with attacks to keep us from having a real conversation about the poverty wages we’re paid,” said Barbara Collins, a fired Walmart worker from Placerville, Calif., who is one of the workers named in the complaint. “But too much is at stake—the strength of our economy and the security of our families—to stay silent about why Walmart needs to improve jobs. Now the federal government is confirming what we already know: we have the right to speak out, and Walmart fired me and my co-workers illegally. With a new CEO taking over in a few weeks, we hope that Walmart will take a new direction in listening to associates and the country in the growing calls to improve jobs.”

The NLRB complaint will go before an administrative law judge. If Walmart is found liable, workers could be awarded back pay, reinstatement and the reversal of disciplinary actions through the decision; and Walmart could be required to inform and educate all employees of their legally protected rights. While historic, the complaint alone is not enough to stop the retail giant from violating the law. Since the start of the year, Walmart has continued to retaliate against workers who speak out for better jobs.

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 or to sponsor a fired worker, visit http://blackfridayprotests.org/.

Macy’s Fined For Treatment of Immigrant Workers

source: Associated Press

source: Associated Press

On the same day that the Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform legislation, Macy’s agreed to pay a $175,000 civil fine to resolve a U.S. Department of Justice probe regarding its treatment of immigrant workers.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Macy’s allegedly engaged in unfair documentary practices against some immigrant employees, which is in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  The INA prohibits employers from demanding more or different documents, or changing documentation rules, based on people’s immigration status or national origin. In addition to the fine, Macy’s has agreed to set up a $100,000 fund to compensate these workers, and to improve training and revise its employment eligibility reverification policies regarding the legal status of workers.

For more information, visit http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2013/June/13-crt-724.html.

At Yahoo Shareholders’ Meeting, Walmart Associates Call On Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer to Help Change Walmart

Just Weeks after Protests at Walmart’s own Shareholders Meeting, Walmart Worker Questions Mayer’s Involvement on Walmart Board of Directors Confrontation Follows Five Arrests Monday at Walmart Associate-Led Protests at Yahoo Headquarters

 

Santa Clara, CA – Today, at Yahoo’s annual shareholders meeting Walmart Associates and their supporters used the opportunity to question Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer about her involvement as a member of Walmart’s Board of Directors. Workers and community members raised concerns about her involvement in decision-making at the nation’s largest private employer, which is facing pressure both from its employees and community groups over the company’s business practices at home and overseas.

1010188_629325537080095_907899806_nSeveral Walmart Associates, among them Barbara Collins, a Walmart associate from Placerville, California and member of the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart), a national organization of Walmart associates speaking out for a stronger company and economy, asked Marissa Mayer pointed questions about whether her involvement with Walmart represented a reputational risk for Yahoo. Collins was one of five people arrested at a dramatic protest on Monday at Yahoo Inc. headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. The protest called attention to Mayer’s silence as the retail giant bullies its employees.

Collins gave voice to growing concerns that Mayer and other members of Walmart’s board have remained silent even as the company contends with widespread protests against its treatment of its workers, plummeting customer service ratings and weak store sales due to understaffing, and preventable tragedies in the supply chain.

OUR Walmart members and supporters nationwide have been calling for the company to end retaliation against employees and publicly commit to providing full-time work with a minimum salary of $25,000 a year so workers don’t have to rely on taxpayer funded programs to support their families. As the nation’s largest private employer, a change of course at Walmart would have a direct impact on millions of working families and the economy as a whole.

“As a working mom, Marissa Mayer is a unique voice on the Walmart Board of Directors,” said Sarita Gupta, Executive Director of Jobs with Justice. “She can be an advocate for Walmart parents who are asking for regular schedules and enough hours to provide for their children. It’s time for her to recognize that too many Walmart workers have to rely on public assistance to make ends meet, and it’s time for a change.”

A new report released by the Democratic staff of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce found that the costs to taxpayers at just one Walmart store as a result of inadequate wages and benefits is about $1 million.

In an outpouring of support at last week’s Netroots Nation, hundreds of progressive journalists, activists, and other supporters posted on social media photographs of themselves calling on Mayer to meet with Walmart workers and support their calls for change at the company.

Today’s events at the Yahoo shareholders’ meeting comes on the heels of Walmart’s own shareholders’ meeting, which was the focus of striking Walmart Associates’ “Ride for Respect.”  The “Ride for Respect” was a weeklong, nationwide caravan in the spirit of the civil rights movement during which workers and supporters traveled to Walmart’s shareholders’ meeting in Bentonville, AR to call for an end to retaliation against workers and voice the direct impact that Walmart is having on their lives and the economy.

“Walmart’s outrageous suppression of its workers’ freedom of speech shows just how far out of step this company is with American values of freedom and respect for hard work. It’s unacceptable that a company with $16 billion in profits is bullying working families just trying to make ends meet and keep food on the table,” said Terry O’Neill, President of the National Organization for Women (NOW). “We’re not going to stand for it – we’re going to stand up to Walmart’s illegal behavior until they stand down and respect workers’ rights to speak out.”

 

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UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Wal-Mart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Wal-Mart publically commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees.

 

 

American Retail Workers Support IKEA Workers in Turkey and Beyond with Global Day of Action

IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer, has been accused of falling short of its own worker policies in several countries outside of Sweden, thereby failing to live up to the company’s professed values outside the home market.  For the past two years, IKEA Turkey has run a campaign of intimidation, interference and coercion in response to its employees’ efforts to choose a union.

Participants in today's Day of Global Solidarity with IKEA workers show their support in Dublin, Ireland.

Yesterday, IKEA employees and their global supporters in a dozen different countries took part in actions against poor labor standards, management violations of freedom of association, and IKEA’s inconsistency in its approach to worker rights and labor relations.

The RWDSU and UFCW, both members of the UNI Global Union, are supporting the efforts of IKEA workers in Turkey and we encourage you to take a moment and read a recent op-ed on IKEA’s anti-union tactics.

It is time for IKEA to put an end to the practice of treating non-Swedish workers as second-class. All workers have the right to freely associate, and bargain collectively for improvements in the workplace, no matter which country that workplace is in.

New Report on Political Contributions Underscores Walmart’s Sharp Turn to the Right

Following the Hiring of Bush Administration Official to Lead External Affairs, 

 Walmart Heirs Donate Millions to Right-Wing Candidates, Anti-Gay Politicians, NRA Supporters

 

A new report issued Tuesday shows that Walmart and the Walton family that founded and controls the company have dramatically increased their political contributions over the last decade and that the vast majority of those contributions have gone to Republicans and right-wing causes, including anti-gay, anti-environment and pro-gun politicians and causes. The report asserts that Walmart, the world’s largest private employer, and the Walton family have spent over $17 million in federal elections and millions more on state and local initiatives. Since the 2000 election cycle, more than $11.6 million—69% of Walmart and the Waltons’ contributions—has gone to Republican candidates and committees. At the same time, 83% of the Waltons’ contributions, including their contributions to Super PACs, went to Republicans.

FireShot Screen #WalmartStrikers are exposing ___'The report, “An Analysis of Walmart and Walton Family Political Spending, 2000-2012,” comes after Walmart’s recent hiring of Dan Bartlett, a Bush Administration official known for his work in creating the “weapons of mass destruction” narrative, to replace Leslie Dach as Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs. Dach worked in the Clinton Administration.

“This new report highlights the degree to which Walmart and the Walton family use their considerable wealth to distort the political process,” said William Fletcher, a member of OUR Walmart and an Associate at the Walmart store in Duarte, California. “The Waltons are the richest family in the world. Instead of putting their money into fair wages for us Walmart workers, they instead pour millions into a right-wing agenda that has nothing to do with business and everything to do with their radical ideology.”

The report further underscores Walmart and the Waltons’ turn to the right and shows that political contributions doesn’t simply stop at supporting Republicans; in 2008, Jim Walton gave $75,000 to the Arkansas Family Council Action Committee, which at the time was supporting a ballot measure to prevent gay families from adopting. Meanwhile, 94% of the Walton family’s contributions to candidates from 2000 to 2012 went to those who were opposed to or silent on the issue of marriage equality.

Aside from their record of supporting anti-LGBT candidates, the Waltons and Walmart disproportionately contribute to candidates with low scores on civil rights, women’s issues, immigration, and those who oppose raising the minimum wage. The Waltons also support NRA-backed candidates; 76% of all their donations from 2000-2012 have gone to candidates or politicians with an A+ or an A from the NRA.

The Walton family, collectively worth $115 billion, has more wealth than the bottom 42% of Americans combined. At the same time, despite more than $16 billion in annual profits and executives making 1,000 times more than the average Walmart employee, a new report released by the Democratic staff of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce found that the costs to taxpayers at just one Walmart store as a result of Walmart’s inadequate wages and benefits is about $1 million.

Tuesday’s report was issued by Making Change at Walmart, a growing coalition challenging Walmart to help rebuild our economy and strengthen working families, and comes as a growing number of associates and supporters nationwide are calling for the company to end retaliation against employees and for the company to publicly commit to providing full-time work with a minimum salary of $25,000 a year so workers don’t have to rely on tax-payer funded programs to support their families.

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UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Wal-Mart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Wal-Mart publically commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees.

 

National Retail Justice Alliance Highlights Struggles of Part-Time Workers in Hearing with Congresswoman Judy Chu

Los Angeles, Calif. – The National Retail Justice Alliance, in partnership with the UFCW, hosted a hearing today in Los Angeles with Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-Calif.) to highlight the social and economic plight of part-time workers in retail and other service industries.  The hearing also underscored the need for the Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act of 2013 (H.R. 675), legislation that Congresswoman Chu has co-sponsored, which would extend protections to part-time workers in the areas of employer-provided health insurance, family and medical leave, and pension plans.

“I was honored to participate in today’s hearing which highlighted the economic struggles of part-time workers, especially those in retail,” said Congresswoman Chu.  “Millions of Americans are only able to find part-time jobs, and too many of these jobs do not provide health insurance, family and medical leave, or pension plans. That’s why the Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act, which would extend benefits to part-time workers, is so critical. In today’s economy, we need to make sure that all hard-working Americans can afford to put food on the table and have a safety net to protect them and their families.”

The Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights builds upon the progress of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and ensures that part-time workers (defined as working less than 30 hours a week) and their families have access to critical workplace benefits.  The ACA penalizes employers who fail to provide health insurance to full-time workers, but includes no such penalties for employers who deny health coverage to part-time workers.

“There are too many people in search of work who can only find part-time jobs—and many of these jobs do not include critical work-related health and retirement benefits,” said Lola Smallwood Cuevas, a project director at the Los Angeles Black Worker Center at UCLA’s Center for Labor Research and Education and a member of the National Retail Justice Alliance. “Policies like the Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights are needed to address the increasing number of Americans who are working without a safety net for retirement, health care, and family leave.”

In addition to Chu and Cuevas, state and local leaders, economic experts and part-time workers also spoke at the hearing which took place at East Los Angeles College.

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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.  For more information, visit www.retailjusticealliance.org.