An organization of Wal-Mart workers called “OUR Walmart” is staging a number of walkouts on Black Friday and are otherwise trying to get Wal-Mart to adopt fairer labor practices. The group has an online petition, which is pasted below, that can be signed at their website. The video at the bottom is Democracy Now’s report on this group.
I think it is important to keep in mind that these type of workers face losing their jobs and the only way that can be avoided, or that Wal-Mart will adopt fair labor practices, is if the workers receive public support.
We, the hourly Associates, are the life-blood of Walmart. Our company is stronger because of the values we embrace – a strong work ethic, compassion for one another and honesty. Yet we are not treated with the respect we deserve. The fundamental desire to be shown respect is what led us to join together as OUR Walmart – an organization of Walmart Associates, by Walmart Associates, for Walmart Associates. We are one Organization United for Respect at Walmart.
- One of Sam Walton’s rules for building a successful business was, “Listen to everyone in your company and figure out ways to get them talking.” We are following that winning philosophy. However, too many of us do not have a true voice at our stores. Our concerns about providing the highest quality customer care and about making our jobs, quality jobs are ignored. Walmart should listen to OUR Walmart, celebrate our initiative, and follow our recommendations.
- We are the foundation of the quality service and value Walmart provides its customers. Walmart should honor the hard work and humanity of Associates by living up to Mr. Sam’s promise of “respect for the individual.”
- Associates who assert their freedom of association frequently face retribution from the company. Walmart should allow Associates to freely join OUR Walmart without fear of negative company action.
- Associates who have tried to utilize Walmart’s Open Door have found that their issues are not resolved and confidentiality is not respected. Walmart should ensure confidentiality in the Open Door and provide in writing resolution to issues that are brought up and always allow associates to bring a co-worker as a witness.
- Walmart publicly claims that pay for full-time Associates averages more than $13 per hour in some communities, when in truth most of us work for less than $10 per hour and are only scheduled for part-time hours, making it difficult to support our families. Walmart should follow through on its public statements and pay at least $13 per hour and expand the percentage of full-time workers.
- Our schedules are often irregular and inflexible making it difficult to care for our families. Walmart should make scheduling more predictable and dependable.
- Too many of us are unable to access Walmart’s health care because it is too expensive or we lack the hours to qualify. Walmart should expand health care coverage and continue to work to expand coverage when health reform goes into effect, rather than taking advantage of loopholes in the law to deny coverage.
- Too often Associates are faced with retaliation when speaking out about issues at work. Walmart should honor our constitutional right to freedom of speech and adhere to company policies that support dialogue and resolution.
- Walmart’s management often chooses to enforce written policies only when it is in their own interest, leaving Associates guessing proper protocol. Walmart should do more to ensure managers are properly trained on how to evenly and equitably enforce Walmart’s written policies at all times and to provide all Associates with a policy manual.
- Too many of us have been denied equal treatment. Walmart should adopt affirmative policies that secure full access to opportunity and equal treatment to all Associates regardless of gender identity, race, disability, sexual orientation, or age.
- We know our company has an impact around the globe in terms of its standards and practices. Walmart should require that suppliers and stores around the globe operate with the highest standards and ensure that workers’ freedom to associate is respected.
- Far too many of us have to rely on government assistance for our basic needs. Walmart should provide wages and benefits that ensure that no Associate has to rely on government assistance.
We envision a future in which our company treats us, the Associates of Walmart, with respect. We envision a world where we succeed in our careers, our company succeeds in business, our customers receive great service and value, and Walmart and Associates share all of these goals. And finally, we close with one more rule from Mr. Sam: “Share your profits with all your Associates, and treat them as partners.”
DEMOCRACY NOW ON OUR WALMART: