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Walmart Campaign
Updated On: Aug 29, 2012

UFCW Launches: Making Change At Walmart Campaign:

Who are we?

Making Change at Walmart is a campaign challenging Walmart to help rebuild our economy and strengthen working families. Anchored by the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW), we are a coalition of Walmart associates, union members, small business owners, religious leaders, community organizations, women’s advocacy groups, multi-ethnic coalitions, elected officials and ordinary citizens who believe that changing Walmart is vital for the future of our country.

How can you get involved?

Sign up to receive our news and action alerts. We’ll keep you informed about news and activities in your community and nationally. Also, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
If you’re a Walmart employee, join the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart.

Why should you get involved?

As the largest private employer in the United States and the world, Walmart is setting the standard for jobs. That standard is so low that hundreds of thousands of its employees are living in poverty—even many that work full time. The problems extend to workers who toil in unsafe working conditions in subcontracted warehouses. And also to workers in developing companies such as China and Bangladesh who make incredibly low wages while manufacturing the goods on Walmart’s shelves. That pulls down standards for workers in the United States and around the globe.

Because of its size and political influence, Walmart is affecting much more than just working conditions. Although it has gained much fanfare for its efforts in environmentalism, sustainability has mostly been a public relations campaign for Walmart. The company has written hundreds of press releases and thousands of blog posts, but made little actual progress in reducing the environmental impacts of its products and business.

And Walmart has an outsized impact on our food system. It is the largest and seller of food in this country. That gives Walmart influence over which foods are available to the public, the methods in which food is produced, and the prices paid to producers.

Across this country, in rural and suburban communities, there are too many small businesses to count who have closed their doors due to competition from Walmart.  Now, Walmart has aggressively set its sights on the final frontier—large urban communities like New York City and Los Angeles.

The company is also a major contributor to widening gap between the very rich and everyone else. The average full time Walmart “associate” makes about $15,500 a year. And worse, Walmart is pushing more and more workers toward a permanent part-time status. Meanwhile, the six members of the Walton family—heirs to the Walmart fortune and near majority owners of the company—have a combined wealth of $93 billion. That’s more than the bottom 30% of Americans combined.

Changing Walmart

Across the country, workers and communities are coming together as one to say enough is enough. It is time for fundamental change at Walmart. For the first time in history, Walmart retail workers have a voice through the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart). [link to ForRespect.org] With thousands of members in hundreds of stores in more than thirty states, this courageous group of workers is speaking out and beginning to win improvements in their jobs and their lives.

As we have seen throughout history, to truly change a giant like Walmart, the demand has to first come from a company’s employees. That’s why the work of OUR Walmart is so inspiring and important.

And, through Making Change at Walmart, communities and groups are coming together to  stand with OUR Walmart and fight back against all the ways Walmart is pulling down our economy. This website is a hub to keep you informed and give you ways to get involved in this work. Sign up here to get involved.

What Walmart Says and Doesn't Say About Women....

What Walmart says…

Walmart is a great place for women to work.[1]

Walmart is a large employer of women in this country; 815,000 of Walmart’s associates – or 57% of its US workforce, are female.[2]

Walmart creates opportunities for female associates to advance in the company.[3]

Walmart’s “world-class” employment practices ensure nondiscriminatory treatment of all associates.[4]

Walmart has forged strong relationships with women’s organizations by providing them with funding.[5]

Walmart provides opportunities for female-owned supplier companies through new store construction.[6]

Walmart’s work environment is “open, engaging and respectful.”[7]

Walmart leads on social issues that matter to its customers, of whom 80% are women. [8]

What Walmart doesn’t say…

  • Walmart was the defendant in the largest class action gender discrimination lawsuit in history, Dukes v. Walmart. The plaintiffs alleged Walmart discriminated against women in promotions, pay, and job assignments. The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit in 2011 for technical reasons and many of the plaintiffs are in the process of filing smaller suits.
  • In Walmart supplier factories around the world, many female workers face discriminatory treatment and toil in sweatshop conditions.[9]
  • Working parents who need regular childcare have been forced to quit their jobs due to Walmart’s scheduling policies. Walmart’s insufficient sick days policy also makes it hard for working mothers to care for sick children. [10]
  • Walmart utilizes a computer-based scheduling system that prioritizes employee flexibility over schedule regularity.[11]
  • In 2001, female employees at all levels earned less than their male counterparts:
    • Women at Walmart earned $5,200 less per year than men, on average.
    • Women in hourly jobs, where the average yearly earnings totaled $18,000, earned $1,100 less per year, or $1.16 less per hour, than men in the same position.
    • Women in salaried positions, where the average salary was $50,000, earned $14,500 less per year than men in the same position.[12]
  • Crain’s Chicago Business reported in April 2011 that the first female-owned lead general contractor hired to build a Walmart store was in bankruptcy due to cost overruns of building Walmart’s first supercenter in Chicago.  According to the Associated Press, the majority of the large-scale work was actually contracted out to firms not owned by minorities, while “Wal-Mart chose Garner as the public face of the project, introducing her to media and at other events designed to boost the company’s image.”[13]
  • Walmart’s low wages are not good for any workers, but they especially hurt women. Female employees are disproportionately represented in low-paying positions. A majority of Walmart managers and officials in the US were men in 2010, even though a majority of Walmart US workers were women.[14]
  • In 2010, Walmart employed 798,881 female hourly associates,[15] who earn an average wage of just $8.81/hour.[16]
  • Walmart pushes down women’s wages locally. A 2007 study found that the opening of a new Walmart in a metropolitan area depresses wages by 0.5%-1.5% at other retail establishments.[17]  This disproportionately affects women, who made up 77.2% of clothing and accessory store workers 60.4% of department and discount store workers, and 59% of general merchandise store workers. [18]

[1] http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/27/us-walmart-lawsuit-idUSTRE79Q66F20111027

[2] “Associates.” Walmart Corporate. http://walmartstores.com/Diversity/309.aspx, accessed 1.27.12.

[3] “Social – Associates.” Walmart 2011 Global Responsibility Report. Available online at: http://walmartstores.com/sites/ResponsibilityReport/2011/social_associates_Diversity.aspx, accessed 1.27.12.

[4] “Workplace.” Walmart Corporate. http://walmartstores.com/Diversity/307.aspx, accessed 1.27.12.

[5] Walmart 2011 Diversity and Inclusion report. Available at: http://walmartstores.com/Diversity/305.aspx, accessed 1.27.12.

[6] http://www.chicagodefender.com/article-10563-wal-mart-promise-for-minority-contractors-lagging.html

[7] Walmart 2011 Diversity and Inclusion report. Available at: http://walmartstores.com/Diversity/305.aspx, accessed 1.27.12.

[8] Walmart 2011 Diversity and Inclusion report. Available at: http://walmartstores.com/Diversity/305.aspx, accessed 1.27.12.

[9] http://laborrights.org/creating-a-sweatfree-world/wal-mart-campaign

[10] Bethell, Katie. “Wal-Mart’s sick sick days policy.” MomsRising.org. 12/13/09. Available at: http://www.momsrising.org/blog/wal-marts-sick-sick-days-policy/

[11] Lichtenstein, Nelson. “Why Working at Walmart is Different.” Connecticut Law Review Vol. 39, No. 4. May 2007. Available at: http://connecticutlawreview.org/archive/v39n4/Lichtenstein.pdf

[12] Drogin, Richard, Ph.D. “Statistical Analysis of Gender Patterns in Wal-Mart Workforce.” 2003. Available at: http://www.walmartclass.com/staticdata/reports/r2.pdf.

[13] http://www.chicagodefender.com/article-10563-wal-mart-promise-for-minority-contractors-lagging.html

[14] “Social – Associates.” Walmart 2011 Global Responsibility Report. Available online at: http://walmartstores.com/sites/ResponsibilityReport/2011/social_associates_Diversity.aspx, accessed 1.27.12.

[15] “Social – Associates.” Walmart 2011 Global Responsibility Report. Available online at: http://walmartstores.com/sites/ResponsibilityReport/2011/social_associates_Diversity.aspx, accessed 1.27.12.

[16] http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/searchlight/20110214/203/3463

[17] Dube, Arindrajit, T. William Lester and Barry Eidlin. “A Downward Push: The Impact of Wal-mart Stores on Retail Wages and Benefits.” UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. December 2007. Available at: http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/retail/walmart_downward_push07.pdf

[18] “Women in the Labor Force: A Data Book.” US Bureau of Labor Statistics Report 1026. December 2010. http://www.bls.gov/cps/wlf-databook-2010.pdf. Accessed 5/17/11.

No Advances for Women at Walmart


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