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