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We Need to Support Walmart Workers

Walmart workers are standing up to the abuses, with strikes and protests across the nation leading up to a massive strike on Black Friday. Here is why we need to stand with them.

Across the country workers of Walmart are standing up against low wages, high health care premiums that are tripling and retaliation from management attempting to silence those who speak out.

According to the union-backed employee coalition, Making Change at Walmart, the first of more than 1,000 protests are already under way at several Walmart stores. This will include everything from online actions to strikes leading up to Black Friday, the largest shopping day of the year.

Walmart, the world's third largest public corporation and biggest private employer with more than 2 million employees worldwide, has systematically destroyed the small business landscape across the U.S., as well as the environmental landscape worldwide.

Now Walmart's abuses of its employees are finally creating their worst fear, organized workers backed by political activists on both sides of the ideological divide.

Walmart's continued neglect and wanton disregard for anything in its way of increasing its already astronomical profits has come to symbolize everything that is wrong with our current system, a system based on greed, a system that values profit over people.

Taxpayers heavily subsidize Walmart. They receive tax breaks, free land, infrastructure assistance, low-cost financing and grants from state and local governments. The high cost of low price, also the name of a documentary outlining the devastation Walmart causes on local communities, results in some of the following statistics:

  • Three local jobs are destroyed for every two jobs Walmart creates. (Between 2001 and 2006 Walmart cost America 196,000 jobs as a result of imports from China).
  • Intentional low wages cost taxpayers as much as $225 million in free and reduced price lunches for school-age children and over $780 million in tax deductions for low-income families.
  • The average Walmart worker receives just $8.81 per hour, less than 70% of the poverty line for a family of four, creating a larger burden on our community to provide for these families resulting in $2.66 Billion in food stamps and other taxpayer assistance.
  • Walmart has the largest number of employees using taxpayer-funded health insurance programs, costing us over $1.02 Billion a year in healthcare costs.
  • The list goes on and on...enough to unite both left and right activists respectively.

What better time for us to join with Walmart workers and confront this injustice than on our country's greediest day of the year, Black Friday? 

Not only should we be standing with workers fighting for a living wage, affordable health care and decent working conditions as fair compensation for their labor, we should be standing up against a system that is destroying our ability to  survive economically in our communities and threatening our very ability to survive on this planet.  

We cannot stop multinational corporations by fighting them alone in our communities or through government regulation, when they exist globally.  The only access we have to them are through the people who are the very gears of the machine that makes them run, the worker. 

By showing our support for the Walmart worker, we help to empower them into action. And the more we help them to organize in our community, the more our common struggle can spread. 

And this can spread across national borders, through Walmart's own network, and have the ability to transform the company from the inside out.   

In its run for global control of its markets, the largest retailer in the world gives us access to an incredible tool to alter the system in a way that can benefit us all. 

We can only do this if we support the workers, who each have to make a decision that affects their personal livelihood as well as their families. They are fighting for their immediate needs. Their struggle is for their very survival. In many ways their struggle is for the survival of us all, and we should stand with them.

By standing with Walmart workers they are giving us vital access to aspects of the machine that we would not otherwise have. I am standing with them.

To learn more about the struggle, visit both forrespect.org and makingchangeatwalmart.org.

Lets stand together for positive change.  Let's empower our brothers and sisters at Walmart!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Demonica November 20, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Yes!! When & where is the Strike planned for locally?
sparky November 20, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Well I have been supporting Wal Mart workers for years by simply never shopping at WalMart. One day won't do it folks. The workers are asking for a raise to $13 per hour which accounts for more than a 33% raise for most workers. Look around you at friends and neighbors and what they do for a living and what they earn. Is some guy stocking shelves worth $13 per hour or that woman at the register chewing gum and squeezing your white bread into a ball to get it into the bag? The retailer pays a fair wage and employ's more people because they don't hire so many full time employees to keep benefits down. A job in and of itself does not guarantee insurance and vacation and other benefits. Get real.
sparky November 20, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Oh, the poverty line for a family of four number...where does that have any relevance when the American family is 2.4 per household? Lets get real folks. You want change then don't focus on one single day at WalMart. Make your choices on where to buy every day and make them locally or at companies that are better than Walmart. When their parking lots are empty then lots of people will be out of work because that store does not need them or WalMart will change. Either way you will pay more- are you that committed? I am.
Gary Gray November 22, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Sparky - how stupid can you be, supporting by NOT shopping at Walmart? If Walmart has no sales, how are workers supposed to get paid (even if you think the wages are lower than they should be!). Maybe they can be paid by OBAMA bucks...LOL. The government, environmental freaks and unions are killing American entrepenuership and business. Just beware, once redistribution of wealth takes full affect, then everyone will be reduced to the lowest denominater and instead of everyones lifestyles being raised - all America will look just like South St. Pete. Contrary to popular opinion, not everyone is born equal - everyone is born with equial opportunity. Those that squander their opportunities wind up making minimum wage - others that take advantage of opportunity, spend and set thier priorities wisely get ahead. America get real - you voted for hope and change - you now ahve been shown there is little hope left, and now all that is left in yor pockets is change. Youe revoted to move this same agenda forward - you know, you're going to get just what you asked for. The government entitlements you get do not raise your standard of living, it is only enough to keep you passive and not buck the system. Sleep on!
sparky November 22, 2012 at 02:30 PM
I don't shop at Walmart, period. I don't think the workers should be paid more. Go look at the wages being offered for other jobs. A paralegal with at least a two year degree starting at $10,11 bucks an hour. Social aids in nursing homes an mental health clinics $10-14. These are jobs which require skill sets way beyond stocking shelves and they want $13 Per hour? Give me a break. I don't shop at Walmart because they kill local business. I don't shop at Walmart because they were instrumental in moving jobs to china and leaving manufacturers in small towns in America without jobs. You need to get real and look around America and the blight that jobs to ChinA have created and continue to create every time you shop a Walmart and similar stores.
Amos Miers November 22, 2012 at 06:12 PM
No strikes locally, however there will be protests to show local Walmart workers they have support should they choose to speak out: http://corporateactionnetwork.org/campaigns/black-friday/events/walmart-worker-solidarity-protest https://www.facebook.com/events/493108197389759/permalink/493144627386116/?notif_t=like
cherylwithac November 23, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Everyone is NOT born with equal opportunity. If you're born into poverty, you do NOT have the same chance of success as someone born into wealth.
sparky November 23, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Cheryl, don't give me that whinny excuse for failing. Everyone is born with equal opportunity. It may be burdened by prejudice or unwilling family. We never consideredmourselves poor, but we were not rich, we wore hand me downs and at subsidized lunches and three out of five children in my family hold a total of seven college level degreesmincludingmtwo masters degrees earned while working. Losers look for excuses. Winners don't care what others think or tell them, they stay true to their goals and become winners. None of us in my family would be considered wealthy, but we are financially successful and are responsible for ourselves. We have all held minimum wage jobs and understand how little it will allow. Cheryl, you need an attitude adjustment.

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