The working poor continue to push back and fight for a better life, as Seattle area Walmart workers are staging a one day strike to demand a living wage.
The Seattle area strike comes on the heels of a Southern California Walmart worker strike. Both protests are leading up to a big national day of strikes and protests against Walmart that will be happening on Black Friday.
Salon talked to a Seattle area Walmart worker who said before the strike, “I don’t know if I’ll see it in my lifetime, but I want all of the associates, including myself, to be able to walk into our workplace, you know, this place that they call our family…and not be physically ill, not just feel like you want to throw up or pass out or even just turn around and walk out over intimidation and humiliation. I want people to be able to live better, you know, like the commercial says…Nobody lives better except for the Waltons now.”
Walmart has been struggling all year as they have seen their model of holding down employee wages cause a public relations nightmare that has sent shoppers fleeing their stores and heading to competitors like Costco who pay their employees a living wage. Walmart tried to spin last year’s Black Friday strike and protest as something that didn’t really happen. In the lead up to the 2012 action Walmart tried to bully their employees, even going as far as going to court to try to get an injunction by claiming unfair labor practices.
The group Our Walmart is organizing and leading the fight for better wages and conditions for the 1.2 million workers that Walmart employs. They have a petition urging President Obama to meet with striking Walmart workers that you can sign here.
The strikes and protests against Walmart are playing out against the backdrop of a changing nation. Seventy six percent of Americans support raising the minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. Nearly 70% of Americans support tying the minimum wage to inflation. Democrats are preparing legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2015 if it became law.
The Walmart strikes and protests are about people risking everything because they can’t survive in a system where an employer pays so little that they have to rely on food stamps in order to shop at the same store that they work in. People across this country are realizing that hard work for no pay isn’t what America is supposed to be.
Walmart and the other corporate giants have taken from their workers for too long. Consumers are voting with their wallets and not shopping at Walmart, while employees are risking it all to take a stand for a better life.
America is rejecting the business model of low prices at the cost of exploited workers. People from coast to coast are standing up and saying no to Walmart.
Image: Our Walmart
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association