Show Walmart Workers Some Love
The poet Langston Hughes writes, “I dream a world where all will know sweet freedom’s way, where greed no longer saps the soul, nor avarice blights our day.” Across the country, Walmart store and warehouse workers are risking all they have to make that dream a reality. Just this month, Walmart workers walked off the job in 12 different states to protest Walmart’s poor wages and working conditions.
Now, Standing on the Side of Love and Interfaith Worker Justice are coming together to support Walmart workers on Black Friday, November 23, 2012. Click here to find an action near you.
I have had the honor to meet some of these brave workers. Sebastian* gathers carts in the parking lot of a California Walmart store. He loves his job and his co-workers, but he doesn’t love the pay or treatment by managers. He can’t get enough hours to be eligible for health care benefits, so he has none. He makes just a bit above minimum wage and keeps hoping for a raise, but hasn’t gotten one in two years. The managers ignore him and treat him like he is disposable. Sebastian is smart and committed to the company. He deserves a voice. He deserves respect.
The average Walmart Associate makes just $8.81 per hour and many, like Sebastian, have no benefits because they aren’t allowed to work the minimum number of hours to receive health care coverage. As one of the largest employers of immigrants and people of color in the United States, Walmart’s policies have a direct impact on some of the most marginalized members of our communities.
Walmart can afford to do better. Last year, the company made $10 billion in profits. In 2010, the net worth of six members of the Walton family exceeded the combined wealth of the bottom 42% of American families. Walmart claims it is doing its share to help poor people by keeping prices low. Phewy! Walmart could still have low prices and pay its workers living wages and benefits.
This year on Black Friday—Walmart’s number one profit day, we’re going to show Walmart workers some love. Please join me and other worker advocates and people of faith in showing support for Walmart workers. Some of us will be doing prayer vigils and delivering letters to managers. Others will be holding flash mobs inside the store. Together, we will raise our voices with those of workers across the country to call for increased wages, better working conditions, and more respect for Walmart workers.
Please join me in standing on the side of love with Walmart workers. Click here to find an action at a Walmart store near you.
Interfaith Worker Justice
*name changed for his protection
The message above went out on Thursday, October 18, 2012 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.