More wage changes? Wal-Mart workers plan strikes

Wal-Mart Cuts 4th Quarter Outlook After Lower December Earnings

From Getty Images

NEW YORK — Wal-Mart 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 Wal-Mart’s annual shareholder meeting, which takes place Friday in Fayetteville, Ark., near the company’s Bentonville headquarters.

OUR Wal-mart, 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, Wal-Mart’s board chairman.

“I am trying to tell Wal-Mart 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 Wal-Mart 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 Wal-Mart 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 Wal-Mart acted unlawfully. But Wal-Mart 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 Wal-Mart 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.”

5 comments

  • The_Bank

    Probably got a good laugh out of Walmart.
    Walmart has a huge corporate office filled with people that were hired to find ways to burn the employees. Whatever move you make against them they will counter it, rest assured.

  • The World is Ending

    Attention Wal-Mart employes that plan to walk off the job, if you show your shift you need to be written up of terminated, two when and if Wal-Mart is forced to pay $15+ per hour most of you will probably be out of work, because if you are anything like the average Wal-Mart employee that I deal with (when on the extreamly rare occasion) I go there, you will not be deamed worth $15+ per hour, so unless you are a super-star employee it will be bye-bye because not only Wal-Mart but all places will only keep the best, are you one of the best? (Be honest with yourself). You May ask why I asked "are you one of the best?" It is because I worked with someone who wanted to come to work and basically just float and do things half way, and her attitude was if the Boss wants me to do a better job then pay me more, not the other way. I no longer work there but this person got very mad when they found ought that after 6 months I was making more than them who had been working at the place for almost 2 years. The main reason that I no longer work there is the boss wanted an "all girl" crew and basically openly said it.

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