Why Do We Fight Walmart?
Walmart is a leading retailer across the world. The mega-stores employ 2.2 million people worldwide, with more than half of this workforce residing in the U.S.
Walmart operates in multiple countries, including in South America, South Africa, India and China. Through its wide reach, Walmart is able to set industry-wide standards of low pay and little to no benefits.
Walmart has consistently held record profits, just last year alone the company brought in over $482 billion in sales. Yet, economists have shown that these profits would not be interrupted if wages were raised. In fact, Walmart’s role in the global economy keeps wages low for workers across the board, even influencing the living conditions of workers who are assembling Walmart’s products in unsafe conditions and with very low pay.
In recent years, Walmart de México, the company’s title for operations in Mexico was exposed in a scandal. The courts found that Walmart had bribed Mexican state officials for permits in order to build and expand their stores. It is not only unlawful to use financial leverage to exert influence; it is a violation of social ethics.
The effects of a world with Walmart can also be felt on the local level. In the U.S., Walmart’s super-centers operate in small towns, closing the local businesses that have been priced out by the competition.
While developers will argue that one retail store can employ hundreds of workers, Walmart’s 100% non-union retail jobs are not positions which can sustain a family. A study at the University of Chicago cites that every job Walmart creates actually translates to a job lost, not gained. Researchers pointed this to the fact that Walmart absorbs the business which would otherwise go to small, independently-owned businesses in the neighborhood.
Workers Standing Up for Change
Walmart workers across the U.S. are collectively pushing back against the conditions that they face everyday.
In recent years workers formed a campaign called Respect the Bump in reaction to a case of discrimination against a pregnant Walmart worker who was fired due to complications of her pregnancy. This was not the first case of discrimination that arrived in the courts against Walmart. In 2011, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Walmart, claiming that their hiring and promotion practices prevented women from moving up the ranks in the same ways that male associates could.
In addition, funds from Walmart’s Political Action Committee (PAC) have been used to help elect candidates who support policies that discriminate against the LGBT community.
Walmart has proven time and again that they do not serve the communities in which they operate.
As Walmart expands out of the suburbs and into major cities across America, they take with them a stack of empty promises. Many of these city-based stores such as in Chicago and Washington, D.C. are currently stationed in areas known as food deserts where there is inadequate access to fresh food. Promising to build establishments that cater to the needs of the diverse communities in which they plan to operate within, Walmart claims that their markets will not only eliminate food deserts but also foster new opportunities in the process.
In Chicago, for instance, Walmart promised to create job-training centers which would provide resume writing and other career assistance programs. The company also stated that they would contribute funds to local charities and invest money in a new park. A majority of the promises were left unfulfilled, and at the end of the day the company’s only real obligations remained in increasing their profits.
Walmart understands how their low wages can affect working families. Upon joining the Walmart team, workers are provided with training on how to apply for public assistance. In a report entitled “Everyday Low Wages: The Hidden Price We All Pay for Wal-Mart”, a Democratic staff within the Committee on Education and the Workforce show that by providing wages which are not suitable to live off of, Walmart is directly adding to the burden which is faced by American taxpayers. Click here to read the report.
Join the Fight Against Walmart
Workers across the country have joined together to fight the inequality that comes with Walmart’s corporate greed. While the company is known for its vicious anti-union tactics, spending billions of dollars each year to prevent workers from organizing in their retail and warehouse locations, workers have persevered. Without a strong community presence dedicated to holding Walmart’s feet to the fire, the retail giant would be able to operate entirely within their own profit-based agendas.
The road to victory can be paved with much struggle, but thankfully there are a number of organizations that are dedicated to fighting Walmart. OUR Walmart – a national grassroots workers’ organization composed of Walmart associates, is one of them. In New York City, Walmart Free NYC is an advocacy organization created to prevent Walmart from opening for business within the city; a goal that has been and continues to be achieved.
Another group, Making Change at Walmart, a successful organization that conducts financial research on the company has shed light on Walmart’s corporate greed and its impact on workers and the economy.
Our Fight with Walmart Continues Today!
To find out more about how you can join the fight against Walmart, visit their websites at:
Making Change at Walmart
Walmart Free NYC
As Walmart continues to expand throughout the world, workers will also be ready to expand their fights.
Click below to watch a news report of a national Black Friday action which Local 338 was a part!
|How Can You Help?|
|Speak out to community residents about the dangers of a Walmart entering our cities. Update your emails and contact information to get the latest information about events, actions and news about the coalition Also, click the link below to sign the WALMART FREE NYC coalition petition and share it with your family and friends! Let's keep NYC Walmart Free! Click here to sign the petition|