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Walmart Closing 269 Stores Sends “Chilling Message” to Workers

making change at walmart web logoMaking Change at Walmart (MCAW), the national campaign to change Walmart, released the following statement responding to news that the company will close 269 stores globally, including 154 in the United States. This announcement will affect 10,000 U.S. employees.

“Walmart is a company that, time and again, will say one thing and then do the opposite. Public relations matters more to them than their customers, the community, or their employees,said Jess Levin, communications director for MCAW. While it pretends to value its employees, the reality is, for Walmart, its workers are disposable. Sadly, these latest store closings could very well be just the beginning. This sends a chilling message to the company’s hard-working employees that they could be next – and with no one standing up for them, that is no doubt the reality.”

Levin added: “Now more than ever, Walmart’s workers must work together to change Walmart for the better. Clearly, the livelihoods of all Walmart employees depend on it.”

MCAW “Are You With Us?” Campaign Supports Unjustly Fired Workers

Mike and Thomas WM SqMaking Change at Walmart joined with UFCW Local 1 and community leaders to hold a rally in support of two local workersMichael Walsh and Thomas Smith, who were recently fired from their Walmart jobs for outrageous and unfair reasons. The rally, which took place outside the Walmart Neighborhood Market in Schenectady, New York, was part of the five-week holiday campaign that is rallying community support to better the lives of Walmart workers and other retail workers across the nation.

UFCW Local 1 President Frank C. DeRiso, who participated in the rally, said earlier this week in an op-ed in the Albany Times-Union, “We’re calling on everyone in the Capital Region to reach out to Walmart managers as well as the headquarters in Bentonville and tell them that their workers have earned better: They have earned the right to not lose their jobs for absurd policies that are never made clear. If Walmart won’t do the right thing, at least we can. It’s what the holiday season must and should be about.”

Making Change at Walmart Launches National “Are You With Us” Campaign

Are You With Us Leaflett Revised VersionMaking Change at Walmart’s national “Are You With Us?” tour will include rallies at Walmart stores and other retail locations in cities in all 50 states across the country in the coming weeks. The kick-off is in Quincy, Mass., on Wednesday, Dec. 2. The tour and campaign are meant to showcase and highlight the negative impact that the country’s largest employer has on all American retail workers, which includes paying employees poverty-level wages, cutting hours and schedules to force workers into part-time jobs and salaries, and insufficient benefit offers.

The “Are You With Us?” grassroots initiative is part of the MCAW 5-week holiday campaign that is seeking to mobilize hard-working Walmart workers and Americans to help change Walmart into a responsible employer. The initiative will include targeted rallies and actions at hundreds of different Walmart stores. The targeted national ad campaign, which includes current and former Walmart workers, will air in over two dozen states.

The ad can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_OLGPsTtU4

“Give Back Friday” is First in Series of Holiday Actions to Help Support Workers

Give Back FridayYesterday, the UFCW and Making Change at Walmart officially released a series of holiday actions against Walmart; beginning with a call to action during the week leading up to Black Friday called the “Give Back Friday” initiative.

Give Back Friday is all about helping the hundreds of thousands of hard-working Walmart employees who are paid so poorly that they must rely on assistance from food banks and use food stamps. During this entire Black Friday week, Making Change at Walmart, our progressive partners, and countless other organizations will be hosting food drives in cities across the country the week leading up to Black Friday with a goal to feed 100,000 Walmart workers and families though the holidays.

Locals Unions are asked to share and sign the pledge to donate to a food drive or a food bank in their area. By working together, we can help Walmart workers and their families.

TAKE THE PLEDGE TO HELP US FEED 100,000 WALMART WORKERS AND FAMILIES

Help us feed 100,000 Walmart workers and families and make sure to post about it using the hashtag #GiveBackFriday and #feedhungryworkers.

Together, we can make a difference in the lives of over 100,000 families because no one in America, especially the men and women who work for one of the richest companies in the world, should have go to hungry this Thanksgiving and through the holidays.

Retail and Walmart Worker Struggles Highlighted During Democratic Debate

replaceableLast month, Making Change at Walmart aired ads during the first Democratic presidential debate with the purpose of bringing the struggles of Walmart workers and retail workers into America’s living rooms. The ads reached over 30 million people, got covered by national media outlets, and the #OurWalmartVoices hashtag was used by thousands on Twitter and Facebook.

In order to keep the issues facing America’s retail workers a centerpiece of the 2016 presidential campaign, the ads aired again during the second Democratic debate and Making Change at Walmart announced an “Are You With Us?” initiative that calls on all presidential candidates to tweet their support for Walmart and retail workers. The ads again were the most talked about of the debate and #OurWalmartVoices was a trending topic during the debate. Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders tweeted the ad, saying that Walmart “has gotta start paying living wages to their workers, not starvation wages.”

Making Change at Walmart Campaign Airs Ads During Debate; Following Day Walmart Announces Profits Drop

FILE - In this June 5, 2015 file photo, Wal-Mart Store, Inc., Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon speaks at the Wal-Mart shareholder meeting in Fayetteville, Ark. Wal-Mart on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015 said it expects profit to fall for its next fiscal year and cut its sales outlook for this year as it works to fend off intensifying competition and perk up stores with better customer service. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

Last week, the Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) campaign released the following statement responding to news that the company announced it was predicting a drop in annual profit – an announcement that led to shares of Walmart dropping to their lowest point in three years.

“Walmart should be ashamed for trying to blame its failures on the so-called wage increases. The truth is that many hard-working Walmart employees all across the country began seeing their hours cut soon after the new wages were announced. The idea that this truly drove down Walmart’s profits is a fairytale,” said Jess Levin, communications director for MCAW. “The reality is that customers want a Walmart to reflect their values, and until that changes the company will continue to struggle. It is time for Walmart and other retailers to wake up and hear the change the American people and their customers want.”

MCAW released two ads earlier last week that highlighted the struggles that many Walmart and retail workers face every day. Those ads, “Replaceable” and “Real Change,”debuted during the Democratic debate Tuesday night and continued to run nationally throughout the week.

New Ad Campaign Calls on Democratic Candidates to Stand with Walmart Workers

replaceableThe Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) campaign announced a new ad campaign called #OurWalmartVoices that began airing on Tuesday during the first Democratic presidential debate on CNN.

In a direct effort to reach all the 2016 presidential candidates, the hard-hitting ad campaign will feature the difficult and troubling experiences of a diverse group of current and former Walmart workers. From poor wages and benefits, to decreasing hours and difficult scheduling, the ad campaign highlights the emotional impact that many workers, and their families, face at Walmart and all across the retail industry.

The first phase of the #OurWalmartVoices ad campaign will feature two 30-second commercials. The first, called “Replaceable,” will highlight the experiences of hard-working retail workers at Walmart. The second, called “Real Change,” specifically calls on the Democratic presidential candidates, as well as the Republican candidates, to stand with them, their families, and workers who are just like them in their effort to change retailers like Walmart for the better. Both ads can be viewed at theHelpChangeWalmart.com, as well as at UFCW.org.

The ad campaign will first air nationally during the CNN debate and then continue a national run the following two days on CNN. Online, the ad will appear on Facebook and Twitter. In total, the ad will be seen more than 34 million times.

The #OurWalmartVoices ad campaign is part of a larger grassroots effort that will also include targeted social media and on-the-ground actions across multiple states, designed to reach Walmart and retail workers all across the country. The goal of the campaign is to ensure that all candidates, Republican or Democrat, take notice of the struggles of retail workers, and to also highlight these real issues as part of the 2016 race for the White House.

Making Change at Walmart Presents at UNI’s Walmart Global Union Alliance Meeting

UNI WM GolbalMaking Change at Walmart (MCAW) presented at UNI’s Walmart Global Union Alliance meeting in Bogota, Columbia, to an audience of people working on Walmart and labor issues in Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa.

MCAW’s presentation discussed the campaign’s biggest victories from the previous year and future plans for the rest of the year and 2016, including plans for more coordinated media and ground campaigns. MCAW additionally discussed ways for the alliance to coordinate and promote the campaign work in their countries.

The alliance aims to further develop global and local labor relations with Walmart in order to find mutually beneficial solutions to promote the interests and well-being of Walmart’s workforce along with the success of the company.

FORMER WALMART WORKERS LAUNCH SECOND LEGAL ACTION AGAINST COMPANY

12002035_1109405492420680_8214577125137660520_nYesterday, former Walmart workers, with the help of the UFCW, Making Change at Walmart, and OUR Walmart, announced at a press conference that they had filed a second charge against Walmart with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regarding the retaliatory closing of the Pico Rivera, Calif., Walmart store. In the charge, workers allege that they were discriminated against in the transfer process due to their participation in protests for better wages, hours and working conditions.

“When Walmart closed our store, I knew it was because we had been leading the nationwide movement for $15 an hour and access to full-time, consistent hours,” said Jenny Mills, a nine-year Walmart worker who was listed on the charge. “Seeing who they did and did not transfer just reaffirmed that. Walmart intentionally refused to transfer those of us who have been the most vocal in standing up for fair wages and hours. That’s simply not just a coincidence.”

The workers were joined at the conference by community leaders, clergy and city residents calling for the reinstatement of all 530 laid off Pico Rivera Walmart workers. Despite the fact that there are 45 Walmart stores within 20 miles of the closed Pico Rivera store, Walmart has failed to transfer the most vocal workers in the fight for $15 an hour and access to consistent, full-time hours since the closure back in April.

“The Walmart store in Pico Rivera has been a valuable contributor to our local economy. However, as a massively profitable company like Walmart knows, for a vibrant economy to grow, people need a steady paycheck,” said Pico Rivera Mayor Gregory Salcido. “That’s why I’m urging Walmart to reinstate the 530 employees it laid off as soon as the store reopens. These families are an important part of our community and our economy. I’m hopeful that by working together, we can help our businesses and our families thrive.”

“Punishing workers by denying them a livelihood in this fashion isn’t only legally wrong; it’s morally wrong,” said Rabbi Jonathan Klein, Executive Director of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice. “Brave workers entitled to a better life for their families now face spirit- and body-crushing stress because of Walmart’s unconscionable choice. We cannot let such injustices prevail. We must hear the voices of those fighting for what is right.”

Walmart Workers Protest Store Closures, Retaliation

WM CEO ProtestOn August 24, Walmart workers and supports protested outside of the Walmart store in Oakland, Calif., where Walmart CEO Doug McMillon was expected to be making a store visit. While McMillon never showed up, the protestors called on him to stop retaliation against workers who speak out about low wages and unfair working conditions at Walmart. The workers involved in the protest included some from the Pico Rivera store – one of five stores that Walmart abruptly closed last April for alleged “plumbing problems,” laying off more than 2,000 workers with just hours’ notice.

Denise Barlage, who worked at the now closed Pico Rivera, Calif., store said, “We need reinstatement of all Pico workers. I told the manager, I’m sure you’re a nice guy, but you should never feel that you can’t be downsized as well.”

Margaret Hooten who works at the Placerville, Calif., Walmart store said, “I support unjustly fired people. I’m not going away.”

The Pico Rivera, Calif., store that Walmart closed was one of the most vocal in the fight for $15/hr and respect on the job. It was the first store to ever go on strike back in 2012. More recently, workers from that store held sit-down strikes and even participated in civil disobedience.