Last month, something amazing happened at Walmart. Across the country, workers went on strike for the first time in Walmart’s 50-year history. They were sick of poverty wages, sick of irregular hours, sick of retaliation for speaking up. These courageous workers inspired the world, but Walmart hasn’t budged -- so now workers are threatening to organize even bigger strikes on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year.
We can’t overstate how big of a deal this is. The workers are taking an enormous risk by going on strike. They have no union, so they will have to go without pay. Some might be illegally fired. Workers who work Walmart’s definition of “full-time” often make just $15,500 a year and can barely make ends meet as it is, so missing just a few days of work could mean their kids go hungry.
But if this fledgling worker movement can continue to grow across the country, it could be our biggest chance to end Walmart’s abusive working conditions -- which would change the lives of millions of workers around the world.
The strikes that have already occurred at Walmart have inspired the SumOfUs community. Over a hundred thousand of us have already taken action, by signing our petitions, sharing our solidarity statements, and more -- and almost 1000 have donated to buy ads about the strikes in Walmart executives’ hometown newspaper.
Now the workers have asked us if the SumOfUs community can take it one step further and help make this strike as big as possible, by raising $20,000 to purchase gift cards for the workers who walk off the job. The cards will make up for lost pay -- which will help the families of these courageous workers make ends meet for the month. And the more gift cards we help them buy, the more workers will be able to afford to go on strike, and the bigger and more powerful the strike will be.
Can you help make sure every Walmart worker who goes on strike can still afford to feed their families this month -- by donating to the OUR Walmart strike fund for gift cards?
We figured you might want to have an idea of who these workers are before donating, so meet Carlton Smith.
Carlton isn’t anyone’s idea of a troublemaker or a rabble rouser. The grandfather of four has worked at a Paramount, California Walmart for 16 years, starting as an overnight stocker and eventually becoming a department manager. But over the years, Carlton grew frustrated with the way Walmart treated his coworkers, who had been like a second family to him. As profits and executive pay climbed higher and higher, Carlton’s friends’ wages shrank and their hours were cut until they could barely make ends meet.
Carlton wanted to stand up for his co-workers, so he joined the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (or OUR Walmart, for short), a group of workers that advocates for better treatment. Carlton talked to his fellow employees and did outreach to the community; he flew to Bentonville to talk to CEO Mike Duke and Walton heir Rob Walton about the need for change at Walmart; he even introduced a shareholder resolution protesting overpayment of executives.
But conditions at Walmart remain appalling -- so Carlton isn’t giving up. Not even close. Last month he joined hundreds of other workers at Walmart’s corporate headquarters to demand an end to retaliation against workers who speak out. And now, Carlton’s joining the strike on Black Friday.
Will you stand with Carlton and his friends by donating to the OUR Walmart strike fund for Walmart associates?
Over the last 50 years, Walmart has waged an all-out war on workers -- driving down wages, crushing attempts to organise, and sourcing from sweatshops all over the world. Today, Walmart is the world’s largest private sector employer (only the Chinese and American militaries employ more people), with over two million employees around the world. The average Walmart Associate makes just $8.81 an hour -- which means that hundreds of thousands of them live below the poverty line. And together, the Walmart heirs have greater net worth than the bottom 100 million Americans combined.
When Walmart workers went on strike last month, they inspired millions of people like us in the SumOfUs community. We know the workers already have Walmart scared -- store managers across the country have received emergency instructions about how to deal with the strikes. If workers walk off the job on America’s biggest shopping day, it’ll be one of the biggest disruptions that Walmart’s business model has ever faced. And it could be the beginning of something game-changing.
We've been a thorn Walmart's side for months, but there's plenty of work left to do. If we are successful in raising the $20,000 that OUR Walmart challenged us to raise, then we will dedicate additional money beyond that to sustaining our work fighting Walmart's race-to-the-bottom policies.
Click here to support these courageous workers by donating to the Walmart workers’ strike fund.
Thanks for all that you do,
Kaytee, Rob, Taren, and the rest of us at SumOfUs