Workers, Communities, and Students Tell Walmart: Respect Us All. Live Better.

OUR Walmart Rally JwJWith the back-to-school craze just around the corner, students are gearing for the Fall with fresh notebooks, pens, and backpacks. We’re also gearing up to continue standing in solidarity with the Associates greeting customers at our local Walmart stores, as well as the overseas workers as far as Bangladesh sewing apparel to be sold on Walmart’s shelves, who are all fighting for respect and just working conditions at Walmart stores and in their supply chain.

USASers Claire Lewis (Northeastern University) and Casey Sweeney (Cornell University) stand in solidarity with Walmart Associates Rose Joseph of Miami and Chris Haros Jr. of Los Angeles.

USASers Claire Lewis (Northeastern University) and Casey Sweeney (Cornell University) stand in solidarity with Walmart Associates Rose Joseph of Miami and Chris Haros Jr. of Los Angeles.

Walmart has 2.1 million associates around the world, and 1.4 million of of them are here in the United States, making them the largest employer in the country by more than a million (the second largest employer is the U.S. Postal Service, with 300,000 employees). In all but one of the 15 countries where Walmart operates stores, associates have union representation, but here in the United States, there is not a single store where workers can collectively bargain over their conditions at work.

Walmart is known as one of the most notorious and aggressively anti-union companies in the world, running campaigns 365 days a year to “educate” (read: intimidate) workers about why they should never try to come together and organize collectively for better working conditions for all employees.  Despite Walmart’s fear campaign, this June, nearly one hundred Walmart Associates traveled from stores all around the country to convene in Bentonville, Arkansas to the doors of Walmart’s headquarters.  These Associates delivered their Declaration of Respect, which they drafted together as the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart). These workers have come together to address the common issues they face and to work together to improve their careers, their lives, and their company by asking for something so inherent and simple, but that is missing at Walmart–respect.

Click here to sign the petition in support of OUR Walmart, and learn more about the workers and their efforts at http://forrespect.org.

Considering the ridiculous kind of tactics that employers can legally employ to intimidate workers, like this awful video shown to Target employees, and the fact that 75% of employers spend oodles of money to hire anti-union consultants during organizing campaigns, part of a billion dollar industry of suited-up professionals whose one job is to keep a union out at any cost, it is moving and exciting to see workers at the biggest employer in the world organizing outside our broken system to demand dignity and respect at work.OUR Walmart Rally

Meanwhile, there are fights in major cities, from Seattle to Boston, where community members are also demanding respect from Walmart! Check out this flashmob organized by the Respect DC Coalition (featuring some awesome USASers!), demanding Walmart come to the table with our communities and negotiate agreements that will best serve our neighborhoods and families before moving in.

USAS has activated our rapid response network to organize 80 actions over the past year at Walmart stores, and our newly formed University of Arkansas USAS affiliate fought back when Walmart opened their very first on-campus store on the University of Arkansas campus. As we prepare to head back to our campuses, we are more fired up than ever to lead the student fight against Walmart and to refuse Walmart’s attempts to make our Universities the frontier for their continued expansion! No one will be able to take on this behemoth corporation alone, but when we come together, students, workers and communities, united, we have the opportunity to make real change at Walmart and win huge victories for working people. To find out how to be more plugged in to USAS’s campaign demanding respect from Walmart, email email hidden; JavaScript is required.OUR Walmart Rally JwJ

Check out the rest of the photos taken by USASer Marcos Perez at Friday’s action at Walmart’s hidden lobbying office in DC, which was part of the Jobs with Justice National Conference!