7 Signs the National Outcry Against Walmart Will Lead to Big Changes
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In addition to striking, some workers have also made sure to stop business as usual for the heads of Walmart. On Tuesday, a group of protesters interrupted a talk between Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff and Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, who is on Walmart’s board of directors. Carrying a sign of Mayer’s face with the caption “Why did I join Walmart’s board?” protesters chanted “Walmart strikers' revolution” before being removed by security.
On Friday, another group of fired workers rallied in front of Walmart’s home office in Bentonville, AR, demanding to meet with Walmart U.S. CEO Bill Simon and be immediately reinstated.
4. OUR Walmart’s actions received numerous endorsements.
These eager workers are not alone in their desire for change. OUR Walmart has stated that numerous individuals and organizations have announced their support for Walmart workers’ Black Friday actions. They stated:
Individuals and organizations announcing their support for Walmart workers represent millions of Americans from every corner of the country, including members of Congress such as Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Rep. George Miller (D-CA); policy experts and academics such as Demos, the National Employment Law Project and the Economic Policy Institute; women’s groups such as the National Organization for Women and Family Values @ Work; and environmental and consumer protection organizations such as he Sierra Club, the National Consumers League and Food and Water Watch.
5. Walmart food drive takes national spotlight.
With a deep passion and a strong backing, the OUR Walmart campaign was only missing one thing: national media attention highlighting the retailer’s poor working conditions. But one picture changed that this week. The photograph, which shows a sign on a bin reading: “Please donate food items here so Associates in need can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner,” has been given mainstream media coverage. In one image, the photo captured how little Walmart pays its workers, and the company’s attempts to mask that fact. An anonymous Ohio employee sent the photo to OUR Walmart after seeing the food drive for the first time at her store. She described the food drive as “demoralizing” and “kind of depressing.” In response, OUR Walmart has called for “Decent pay, not handouts.”
Stephen Colbert took on the image on "The Colbert Report," saying:
Now, some critics out there are saying Walmart isn’t doing enough, but they’re wrong because Walmart isn’t doing anything. These bins are for Walmart employees to donate to other employees. And where can Walmart’s low-wage workers find cheap food to donate? Walmart. Anyone can afford food there — except people who work at Walmart.
6. Walmart workers’ struggle reaches celeb-world.
OUR Walmart’s time in the limelight inspired Ashton Kutcher to address Walmart on the matter. In an impressive Twitter battle first reported by Salon, Kutcher called out Walmart (@WalmartNewsroom) for their poor treatment of workers. With his more than 15 million Twitter followers, Kutcher tweeted a link to the news about Walmart’s food drive and wrote: “Walmart is your profit margin so important you can’t Pay Your Employees enough to be above the poverty line?”
Walmart responded to Kutcher, writing: “It’s unfortunate that an act of human kindness has been taken so out of context. We’re proud of our associates in Canton.” Kutcher replied, “You should be proud of your associates but I’m not sure if they should be proud of you.” The exchange ensued, but ended with Kutcher linking to a post on employees’ use of public assistance and calling on Walmart to be a leader in workers’ rights. A recent report found that one Walmart store costs taxpayers $900,000 in federal subsidies.