Crandell: Support Walmart employeesPublished 4:33pm Wednesday, November 28, 2012
The Democratic Voice
By William Crandell
On Black Friday, 60 people braved the cold to stand in protest outside the Walmart on Ireland Road in South Bend, Ind. They were led by a coalition of supporters that included the AFL-CIO, United Food and Commercial Workers Union and a community action group called Jobs for Justice. The idea of the demonstration was to bring community awareness to the fact that Walmart is one of the worst corporations in the world pertaining to the treatment of their workforce. It’s time that communities stand united and in defiance of their corporate greed.
Starting Thanksgiving evening and lasting through Black Friday, more than 100 strikes and demonstrations occurred in 46 states. Thousands of community activists and union members gathered together from all over America to stand up to the super chain of stores. “We want to make a point of letting the corporation know that the people of this community stand by the employees of Walmart and we want to aid them in their struggle to receive fair wages and benefits,” said Joe Carbone, the leader of the local South Bend organization known as Jobs for Justice.
During the strikes, very few Walmart associates were present and most asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation. Walmart has been accused by previous employees of bullying and forcing associates to quit for taking any action to bring a union into their stores. Many Walmart associates are struggling to survive living from paycheck to paycheck and a cashier who works full time only makes approximately $13,000 a year. Many of the workers are single parents and cannot afford to lose their jobs. Members of local communities and other unions must join together to support them to help make their voices heard.
According to Tony Flora of the AFL-CIO and one of the leaders of the South Bend demonstration, as many as 50 percent of Walmart employees in several areas of the country are receiving some sort of government aid because of the low wages the store pays and a lack of job opportunities to find work elsewhere. He also went on to say that nationally, Walmart employees receive as much as 3 billion dollars a year in government aid and the corporation is creating a burden upon the American tax payers. It’s a shame that these are people who are willing to work and yet they are struggling to feed their families. Last year the Walmart Corporation made $15 billion in profit and they paid the CEO $18 million, and they say that they can’t offer better wages and benefits?
Like every American worker, the employees of Walmart have the right to unionize and they have the right to demand a livable wage and affordable benefits. They have the right to stand up to corporate America and tell them that they will not continue to make billions of dollars in profit and abuse the labor force of America. Walmart is exploiting the hard economic times that our country is currently struggling through and they are impeding the ability for someone to support their family if they are willing to work hard. Boycott Walmart and support the rights of workers across the country.