Workers in Washington, DC are hitting Walmart where it hurts by walking off the job in protest of illegal treatment and low wages just days before the Thanksgiving holiday.
According to Our Walmart, “Walmart workers walked off the job at three Washington DC area stores today, calling on Walmart to end its illegal retaliation against workers calling for better wages and full-time work. Many earning less than $25,000 a year at the country’s largest employer, these workers are risking their livelihoods by striking against an employer that aggressively, and illegally, fires and disciplines workers for speaking out for better jobs.”
Walmart worker Tiffany Beroid said, “I’m speaking out today because Walmart can afford to do better by its workers. We want to work full time, and earn above the poverty level. And we are taking action today because Walmart needs to publicly commit to ending illegal retaliation against workers and better wages.”
Beroid has worked at Walmart for two years, and said her low pay has made it necessary for her family to depend on food stamps in the past.
13 year Walmart associate Cynthia Murray said, “Associates around the country have been retaliated against and fired for speaking out about how it is to work at Walmart. Associates shouldn’t have to fear for our jobs when we are simply asking to be treated with respect, for talking about it. We won’t back down until the company commits to end all retaliation against workers who speak out, and pay all associates a minimum of $25,000 for full-time work.”
The risk that these low wage employees are taking by standing up for their rights is enormous. Walmart is already being prosecuted by the federal government for illegally firing and retaliating against 117 employees. Walmart is a modern day robber baron. They treat labor laws as if they do not apply to them. Walmart has been mistreating their employees for years, but with the gap between rich and poor at an all time high, employees are fighting back.
A one day strike/protest on Black Friday is a nice time event to bring attention to the issue of income inequality and the plight of Walmart workers, but strikes like the one in DC today are key to bringing about real change.
Workers have to hit Walmart where it hurts. These strikes and actions all bring attention to the idea that Walmart isn’t a desirable place to work. If workers in the free market decide that they no longer want to put up with abuse, mistreatment, and poor pay, Walmart will be forced to change their ways.
Happy Thanksgiving, Walmart. The bad publicity isn’t going away and the demand for a living wage grows stronger each day.