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Walmart workers across country plan strikes

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NEW YORK — Walmart Stores workers and union organizers say they will hold strikes in more than 20 cities Wednesday in their campaign to raise wages.

The job actions are timed in conjunction with Walmart’s annual shareholder meeting, which takes place Friday in Fayetteville, Ark., near the company’s Bentonville headquarters.

OUR Walmart, a group backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, helped orchestrate a candlelight vigil Monday night outside the Phoenix home of Rob Walton, Walmart’s board chairman.

“I am trying to tell Walmart that they should not retaliate against workers, and that they need to raise wages and respect us,” said Bene’t Holmes, a 25 year old mother earning $8.75 an hour at a Chicago-area store who joined the vigil.

Protesters want Walmart to pay associates at least $25,000 a year, and to not retaliate against workers who go on strike.

A hearing is now underway in Oakland. Calif., to determine if Walmart illegally disciplined or fired workers for taking part in strikes during 2012 and 2013.

The National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint earlier this year contending Walmart acted unlawfully. But Walmart says it was within its rights as a company trying to conduct business as defined by the Supreme Court.

There was a large contingent of women at Monday night’s vigil. While women make up less than half of all retail employees, they constitute 55.4% of the industry’s low-wage workers, according to public policy organization Demos.

In a new report, the left-leaning group says a typical female retail sales person is paid $4 an hour less than her male counterpart. Demos says this costs female retail workers an estimated $41 billion every year in lost wages.

Proponents for higher wages received a shot in the arm Monday when the Seattle City Council passed an ordinance to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The fight for higher wages has been a recent theme across the retail and fast-food industries. McDonald’s workers and union organizers have staged strikes, even taking protests to the annual shareholder meeting last month.

But Walmart says it’s looking forward to the “best week of the year” leading up to Friday’s shareholder meeting.

“It’s not unusual to see the same union group stage events around our shareholders meeting,” said the spokesman. “There’s also a reason that the associates who are taking part in the demonstrations work for us. They know what a good job is.”

13 comments

  • WeBuiltThisCountry

    $25,000 per year is not unreasonable.Stock holder’s meaning (CEO’s,district manager’s and corparte figure’s) have seen a quarterly raise in their share’s consecutively for 11 years.

    • nonna1

      It is ABSOULUTELY, COMPLETELY unreasonable. People with college degrees and skills often times start at that rate. $25,000 for punching register keys? Seriously? When I worked at Penny’s, and then K-Mart, I UNDERSTOOD this was not where one should expect a CAREER, but rather a place to start or fill in needed wages.

      I hope that WalMart fires them all!!!

      • Spoony Jackson Esq.

        A business will pay NO MORE THAN the least they can filll a job for, and they WILL FILL those jobs at the assigned rate, fire their tail and be done with it!

      • Ncnurse

        Nonna1, I’m with you on this one! If you want 25k then you def need some type of degree. Does it stink? Absolutely! But that’s just the way it is.

    • WeBuiltThisCountry

      You have to been raised in the south if you think $15 per hr. is great pay.Walmart is a dinesty and those employees you see “stocking shelves and punching cash registers.”I was raised not to look down on hard worker’s, regardless of what kind of service that employee provides.

  • FaithC

    I am sorry, but if you want higher wages get an education and get a better job. I did it, if you have the drive anybody can. The education does not have to be a 4 year degree, it can be training in the trades also.
    I don’t want to hear you have nothing or you have kids or whatever. I also don’t want to hear you have to work, I worked my a*ss off and attended school at the same time. It was hard, but I had drive. I did not except the government to support me, nor did I except to make $15 and hour for having no training or education at all.
    $15 an hour for stocking shelves is ridiculous. Entry lever jobs are just that. They are not meant for people to stay in them for 10 years.

  • j r nance (@rnance1950)

    Fire all of the ones that Strike, if the minimum wage actually was to go up to $15 an hour, I guarantee each & every one of the people that’s working or say they’re working at Walmart now will be gone within a year because Walmart will be slam full of people applying for jobs that are more capable with more education then Most of the losers working there now because most of them aren’t qualified to even make $7.25 much less $15 an hour, so it should be interesting…..

  • dobydog1

    I am sure with the number of unemployed people that there will be a lot of people to take these jobs since these people apparently do not want their jobs.

  • sinner 3

    The higher the pay scale the stronger the competition !! The more selective the company can be any company !

  • mojorisin73

    This is an indirect result of 40 years worth of trade deals that have outsourced our manufacturing jobs to other countries. People today are having to result to work for the low paying service sector jobs along with competing with illegals for these jobs also. It’s a slap in the face for people to work for low paying corporations like Wal Mart that had a lot to do with lobbying for these very trade deals like NAFTA that is responsible for gutting the American Dream. Manufacturing was the backbone of what America was until our politicians on both sides was bought and paid for by these corporations like Wal Mart, so, there’s plenty of blame to go around. The American people are also to blame for voting for one of the 2 corporate controlled parties that are nothing more than puppets.

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