Wal-Mart Employees Seek Respect, Higher Pay & Better Working Conditions

We all know that workers at Wal-Mart are ill-treated. Low pay, part-time hours, and few benefits are just some of the hardships they endure. But not everyone knows that Wal-Mart workers are standing up and pushing back. Wal-Mart workers deserve and need our support!

Recent developments. Workers continue to struggle. The news reports in the box (below right) provide recent information. Some highlights: on June 4, 2014, workers in many cities across the country held a one-day strike for better wages and working conditions. OUR Wal-Mart members continue to ask Wal-Mart to publicly commit to wages of at least $25,000 per year. Follow developments in the campaign to make Wal-Mart a better place to work at Making Change at Wal-Mart.

Adopt a Wal-Mart on Black Friday, the major shopping day after Thanksgiving. Last year, people across the country visited more than 1,000 Walmart stores on the busiest shopping day of the year to echo workers' call for better wages and working conditions. This year, we want to amplify that message by holding solidarity actions at all 4,000-plus Walmart stores. Please help to make this happen. More information and resources.

Latest Developments in Wal-Mart Workers' Struggle for Better Jobs

Wal-Mart workers strike in major cities by Patrick M. Sheridan, CNNMoney, June 4, 2014.

Report: Walmart Workers Cost Taxpayers $6.2 Billion In Public Assistance by Clare O'Connor, Forbes. April 15, 2014 

In Wake Of Protests, Walmart Workers Find More Hours Within Reach by Dave Jamieson, Huffington Post Business, April, 7, 2014. Wal-Mart has made some improvements to benefit employees.

Wal-Mart Yearly Meeting Follows a Narrow Script by Stephanie Clifford, New York Times, June 7, 2013.  Wal-Mart workers attend the annual shareholders’ meeting and speak out.

Walmart Workers Launch First-Ever 'Prolonged Strikes' Today by Josh Eidelson, The Nation, May 28, 2013

The Bribery Aisle: How Wal-Mart Got Its Way in Mexico by David Barstow and Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab, New York Times, December 17, 2012.

Walmart’s everyday low wages by Christine Owens, Cleveland Plain Dealer, October 21, 2012.   Wal-Mart workers who are protesting their low pay, poor working conditions, and retaliation by managers are “some of the brightest hope for challenging the downward tide in job quality we’ve witnessed over the past decades.” 

Wal-Mart labor protests grow, organziers say by Steven Greenhouse, New York Times October 5, 2012.

Wal-Mart workers stage a walkout in California by Steven Greenhouse,  New York Times October 5, 2012.

The World of Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart is the largest corporation in the world and the largest private employer in the United States. It has the power and influence to set a standard for fair workplace practices. Instead, Wal-Mart engages in systematic abuses of workers (more details):

  • low wages
  • few benefits
  • discrimination
  • failure to pay employees for all hours worked
  • anti-union behavior
  • use of sweatshops
  • abuse of immigrants
  • displacement of smaller, local stores

Our God is a God of justice, a justice that extends even to the workplace and the big-box store. We are called to seek justice for Wal-Mart workers.

Organization United for Respect at Wal-Mart (OUR Wal-Mart)

Workers at Wal-Mart are coming together to seek respect and dignity in their workplace. Organization United for Respect at Wal-Mart (OUR Wal-Mart) is a group of Wal-Mart employees who are seeking change at the world’s largest retailer. They are seeking support and endorsements of their efforts from congregations and other organizations and individuals. Endorse the OUR Wal-Mart effort at Making Change at Wal-Mart.  

The webpage, Wal-Mart at 50: How Making Change at Wal-Mart Today Can Rebuild America, gives the stories of Wal-Mart associates (employees), warehouse workers, customers, and community and global allies. This multi-faceted, interactive project will highlight people from across America and around the globe sharing how Wal-Mart has impacted their lives and communities and why Wal-Mart must change so the next 50 years will be different. (Wal-Mart is 50 years old this year.)

What You Can Do

  • Hold a prayer vigil calling for dignity and respect for Wal-Mart workers. Interfaith Worker Justice has provided materials that are useful for the vigil.

  • Read a two-page resource describing many of Wal-Mart's abusive practices. You may also download this version, which includes endnotes.

  • Download and use commitment forms from Interfaith Worker Justice to declare you support for Wal-Mart workers.

  • Read the UCNews cover story on Wal-Mart.

  • Let us know what you are doing to call Wal-Mart to more responsible practices. Stories (up to 300 words in length) and pictures will be posted on this site.

Contact Info

Edith Rasell, Ph.D.
Minister for Economic Justice
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115