Last Thursday, October 3, was a historic date for working people. For the first time in the 50-year history of Walmart, Walmart workers are on strike.
Walmart is the largest private employer on the planet, with more than 2.2 million employees worldwide. Approximately one out of every 100 employed USians works at Walmart. And the company offers those employees some of the worst working conditions in North America.
Walmart workers in Southern California were the first to walk out, forming picket lines last week. A few days later, they were joined by workers in Dallas, Texas, and Laurel, Maryland. The strike has now spread to 12 cities in nine states. Some are one-day job actions, some are information pickets, some are full-blown walkouts.
These actions are vitally important for all working people. Please sign this statement of support for striking Walmart workers (the form is US-only, but it will accept a Canadian address), and learn about more ways you can support them.
The organized workers, members of Organization United for Respect at Walmart, or OUR Walmart, presented a “Declaration of Respect” to the company in June, calling for a minimum of $13 per hour, full-time jobs for those who want them, predictable work schedules, affordable healthcare, among other things.
Walmart claims the average hourly wage for its full-time workers is $12.40, but independent reports show that it's actually $8.81, barely above the pitiful minimum wage, and very few workers ever see full-time status. Tens of millions of Walmart workers qualify for public assistance. They are the very definition of "working poor".
For the most part, Walmart workers have no access to healthcare, no paid sick time, and their schedules are erratic and unreliable. Try getting childcare when your schedule is made out only a week in advance. Then again, minimum wage workers can't afford childcare anyway. Among other indignities and injustices they must endure for the privilege of remaining employed, Walmart workers are often forced to work off-the-clock, a practice that I believe was outlawed in 1865.
Workers at Walmart have been organizing for many years. The company doesn't just ignore their demands. They punish them. Walmart is notorious for retaliating against employees who stand up for better conditions - which, of course, is illegal and a violation of workers' rights. The striking Walmart workers are very brave. Please show them they're not alone: sign here, read here, and don't shop at Walmart!
Also: OUR Walmart on Facebook.