Fed up with low wages, erratic hours, lack of health benefits, and most importantly disrespect in the workplace while the multi-billionaire Walton Family enjoys tax breaks and praise for “job creation”, Walmart employees around the country are planning a series of worker-led actions to take place on Black Friday.
Workers throughout the Walmart’s vast operations “from factories and warehouses to retail stores” will participate in a massive walkout on Friday, November 23. Traditionally one of the biggest days of consumption each year, organizers hope Black Friday will make it impossible for shoppers to ignore the plight of Walmart workers. The campaign, which is affiliated with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, already has more than 26,000 supporters on Facebook.
In case you’re wondering what would compel thousands of workers to put their jobs and families on the line, here are a few interesting facts:
- Walmart’s intentionally low wages force employees to need approximately $420,000 per year, per store, totaling $2.66 BILLION annually in food stamps and other taxpayer assistance…just to survive.
- Walmart’s intentionally low wages cost the country HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dollars in payroll tax deductions for Federal, State, and Local taxes.
- Walmart’s intentionally low wages cost our communities the ability to hire and retain important public service workers like firefighters, police officers, maintenance workers, and teachers.
- Walmart’s intentionally low wages cost our communities with their increased need for those same public services they are underfunding.
- Walmart’s intentionally low wages and lack of covered benefits cost taxpayers over $1.02 BILLION a year in healthcare costs.
- Walmart’s intentionally low wages cost taxpayers as much as $225 MILLION in free and reduced price lunches for school-age children.
- Walmart’s intentionally low wages cost taxpayers over $780 MILLION in tax deductions for low-income families
(via Winning WordsProject).
Walmart employees, who aren’t allowed to unionize, have instead formed their own grassroots coalitions to bring these timely protests to fruition. Operating under the name Making Change At Walmart and Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart), organizers are asking employees to use creative acts of non-violence to disrupt the status quo at Walmart locations around the country. Additionally, those who are striking or planning to strike ask members of the community to stand in solidarity with Walmart workers, and demand that the company improve working conditions.
Here are ways you can get involved and show your support for striking Walmart workers on Black Friday, and every day:
2) Sponsor a striker. The brave act of going out on strike also comes with an economic cost. By making a donation, you can help to offset wages Walmart worker will lose by striking.
3) Use the Share for Respect Facebook app to tell your Walmart worker friends about what’s going on!
4) Join the conversation on how to change Walmart by contributing art and ideas to the Tumblr.
5) Connect with workers and other community supporters on the Official Black Friday Walmart Strike Facebook page and like the Making Change at Walmart Facebook page.
6) On Twitter, use the hashtag #walmartstrikers and follow Making Change at Walmart.
Image via OURWalmart