Worker Solidarity

Building Solidarity with Walmart Workers!

Local labor and human rights activists, along with Walmart employees, community supporters, and allies across the country are calling on Walmart managers to publicly commit to immediately addressing the scheduling problems that leave many associates unable to care for their families and afford basic necessities like food and rent.

While Walmart reports $16 billion in annual profits, at the same time, many of its workers are relying on public programs, including food stamps, Medicaid and other healthcare programs to support their families.

Across the nation, thousands of Walmart workers are working fewer hours they want and need to make ends meet. Workers report that their schedules are often inconsistent, varying in the number of hours they get, as well as the shifts they are required to work. This makes family budgeting nearly impossible and limits workers’ ability to go to school or find a second supplemental job.

In January 2013, Walmart CEO Mike Duke announced that Walmart would provide more transparency in scheduling and offer part time workers the opportunity to get the hours they so desperately need. Unfortunately, three months later Walmart has yet to make good on its public commitment to change.

“It’s time for Walmart to make good on its public commitment to workers and to our community,” said Sarita Gupta, the executive director of Jobs with Justice and American Rights at Work. “We cannot strengthen our economy when the country’s largest employer is creating erratic scheduling and inadequate hours that keep hardworking associates from being able to support their families.”

But communities are speaking up.  As with the successful Black Friday actions last November, workers went on strike and organizers took delegations to more than 150 stores on April 24, calling for the company to publicly commit to better labor rights and standards, a key concern being the importance of flexible, consistent scheduling and adequate hours.

In Southern Oregon, concerned local residents, union workers, and community organizers dropped in to meet with Medford Walmart manager Rachel Ciddio, and deliver a message to Walmart CEO.  Locally, community members are concerned about Walmart workers and their ability to get the hours they need. In the Rogue Valley, Walmart has consolidated the Talent store into the new Medford Supercenter.  The North Medford remains closed for remodeling but is expected to reopen this summer.  In May, the Medford Supercenter will shorten daily operation from 24 to 18 hours.

Ciddio was unavailable to meet with local representatives and when asked if there was a time or way they could meet to discuss concerns, it was made very clear, “there is no way at this time.”

Rogue Valley Community Press investigators were contacted by Rachel Wall, the Sr. Manager of Communications for Walmart who assures that no local Walmart workers will lose their job or see their hours cut when Walmart reduces store hours.

“The Associates who were working on the sales floor during the night shifts were offered positions in overnight stocking and as day-time associates.” said Wall. “The new store hours are more responsive to when our Medford customers prefer to shop. We now have more Associates working on the sales floor while the store is open to customers.”

Local activists vow to continue their pressure to ensure that our largest community employers treat their workers fairly and with dignity and respect.

RVCP is always looking to hear your story.  If you are a worker, manager or customer, we want to hear from you.  Let us know what you think.  To view the letter and Walmart response visit rvcommunitypress.com

Amid the frenzied shoppers and oppressive August heat more than three dozen people showed up at the South Medford Walmart grand opening on August 15th.

Medford Residents Against Walmart (RAW) is a group of local business owners, workers, students, community organizations, faith leaders and union members who have come together in a campaign to bring attention to the negative impacts of Walmart on our local economy and to encourage shoppers to choose locally owned business alternatives.

They came to protest Walmart’s history of labor violations and mistreatment of workers and to show that residents of the Rogue Valley expect more from the giant retailer.  Carrying giant yellow frowny face signs and advancing the message “Shop Mom and Pop”, protesters lined the sidewalks along Center Drive and walked the perimeter of the parking lot to South Pacific Highway.

Rogue Valley residents have long struggled to hold Walmart accountable to the concerns of the community.

Independent research on the impact of Walmart stores shows that Walmart depresses local wages and pushes out more retail jobs than it creates.

A report, “The Effects of Walmart on Local Labor Markets,” finds that “for every two jobs Walmart ‘creates,’ three local jobs are destroyed.”

For more information about participation in RAW call Wes Brain at 541-482-6988.

Latest News:

D.C. Picks Fight With Walmart Over Higher Wages for Low-Income Workers
When the D.C. City Council approved legislation requiring large retailers to pay hourly rates 50 percent higher than local minimum wage, Walmart threatened to abandon planned stores. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business/july-dec13/wages_07-17.html

Walmart face-off with D.C. fuels wage debate
A bitter standoff between Walmart and Washington, D.C., officials over the city’s effort to impose a higher minimum wage on big-box retailers is fueling a wider debate about how far cities should go in trying to raise pay for low-wage workers – and whether larger companies should be required to pay more. http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2013/07/15/walmart-face-off-with-fuels-minimum-wage-debate/gPS0dcmoJpFf7uNYDxceBL/story.html


Walmart Striker Fired 6 Months After Solo Walkout In Florida
On the day before Thanksgiving last year, Vanessa Ferreira went on strike at her Walmart store in St. Cloud, Fla.

Walmart, Gap Lead Coalition To Create New Bangladesh Safety Pact
Walmart and Gap are working on their own independent safety plan to prompt reform in Bangladesh after both retailers declined to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety, Women’s Wear Daily reported.

Wal-Mart workers strike, rally outside Marissa Mayer’s SF penthouse

There are no Walmart stores in San Francisco. And yet, four members of the company’s board of directors are influential Bay Area residents.

World’s Longest Hotel Workers’ Strike Is Over

Striking workers at Chicago’s Congress Hotel in the South Loop ended a near decade-long strike Thursday. The strike is believed to be the longest strike in the history of the world. President Barack Obama walked the Congress Hotel’s picket line as a freshman U.S. Senator in 2007.

Sad Face at Walmart
One of these days, Walmart will figure out the reason that its U.S. sales suffer, quarter after quarter, year after year. On Thursday, the nation’s biggest retailer posted its quarterly results.

Wal-Mart Won’t Sign Pact, Has Own Way To Protect Workers
Following a factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,000 people, Wal-Mart has declined to join a multi-company factory safety accord to try to prevent future disasters.

Walmart Sues Labor Organizations Over ‘Disorderly Conduct’ That Helped Spark National Protests
Walmart is accusing two labor organizations of “disorderly conduct” during a protest at a Los Angeles-area Walmart last year that helped set off a chain of demonstrations nationwide against the retail giant.

Walmart’s Bangladesh Factory Safety Plan Draws Skepticism From Worker Advocates
Walmart announced Tuesday that it plans to develop its own safety program to address dangerous working conditions in factories in Bangladesh, where the collapse of a garment factory complex last month took the lives of more than 1,100 people.

Study: U.S. taxpayers employ more low-wage workers than Wal-Mart, McDonald’s combined
Federal taxpayers employ more low-wage workers than Wal-Mart and McDonald’s combined, a new study calculates. The report from the consulting firm Demos, set to be released Wednesday, estimates that taxpayer dollars fund nearly 2 million private-sector jobs that pay $24,000 a year — about $12 an hour — or less.

Gap, Walmart Fail To Endorse Bangladesh Safety Accord Backed By Europe’s Biggest Retailers
May 14, 2013 – Major U.S. retailers, including Gap Inc, declined to endorse an accord on Bangladesh building and fire safety backed by Europe’s two biggest fashion chains, a trans-Atlantic divide that may dilute garment industry reform efforts.

Moms Working At Walmart Earn Less Than They Need To Feed Their Kids
As Mother’s Day approached, Charlene Fletcher, mother of two, found herself occupied with the needs of other families, attending to the crush of shoppers last week at the Walmart in Pasadena, Calif., where she works.

Walmart Warehouse Strikers to Return to Work winning their demands of Full Back Pay, End to Management Retaliation

Mass Mobilization Planned to Support Wal-Mart Workers
A caravan of buses from Chicago carrying supporters of a Warehouse Workers Organizing Committee strike will join a mass mobilization of labor faith and community organizations in Elwood, Illinois Monday.
Trumka blasts Obama on Walmart
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka bashed President Obama and Vice President Biden for “valorizing” Walmart pledges to hire returning veterans.