In June of this year, IBEW 1245 members joined UFCW in the historic battle for worker justice on the OUR Walmart campaign.
OUR Walmart (Organization United For Respect) is an association that was established in October 2010 when six associates in Maryland collectively stood together to demand respect and improve working conditions at Walmart. Since then, the organization has grown to thousands of members nationally. Thanks to the courage and vision of these founding members, the organization continues to grow beyond its membership and has become a national topic of discussion.
Walmart true colors have been revealed in the escalation of public action directed at the company, including demonstrations, Unfair Labor Practice strikes, and petitioning, as well as community outreach and support. After the most recent Unfair Labor Practice strike in early June 2013, Walmart launched their full on assault against the participants and leaders of this strike. Walmart illegally retaliated by disciplining and terminating associates for standing up for their rights.
Due to the overwhelming majority of terminations taking place in California, IBEW 1245 member organizers in Sacramento knew it was imperative to launch a public pressure campaign and sprung into action. The strategy included a multi-prong approach that involved meetings with California state legislators, local city council members, interfaith leaders and community allies. Member organizers educated the allies on Walmart’s mistreatment of workers and illegal retaliation tactics.
The IBEW 1245 team along with OurWalmart staff organized the “March for Respect” in Roseville on Friday, July 26. Close to 100 supporters joined in the mile long march to request a meeting with the Walmart Sacramento Market Manager. Pastor Don Lee of the First Methodist Church, Sacramento City Council Member Kevin McCarty as well as IBEW 1245 Member Eric Sunderland (Democratic Party Region 3 Director) joined in solidarity and addressed the crowd.
Last week IBEW 1245 member organizers in Fresno joined the fight to educate, recruit and mobilize associates throughout the Central Valley. They are fresh off a victory against Measure G, which was the Fresno mayor‘s attempt to privatize city garbage collection. They saved over a hundred union jobs, and will continue the fight against Walmart.
Walmart is the number one largest employer of retail workers in the world, and brings in more than $400 billion in revenue a year. Their CEO was paid $20 million last year, yet associates make an average of $8.81 an hour. Each store costs taxpayers around $1.7 million a year due to associates having to depend on government assistance, so it’s time that Walmart steps up and pays its workers a livable wage so they have a chance to actually live better.
For more information and to stay informed please visit the OurWalmart website:forrespect.org/
Georgette Carrillo and Cruz Serna
Walmart workers stand up, despite retaliation.