There is growing unrest among the ranks at America's largest employer: Wal-mart (WMT).
Workers from a dozen stores in the Los Angeles-area went on a one-day strike Thursday "in the first-ever Wal-mart Associate walk-out in protest of attempts to silence and retaliate against workers for speaking out for improvements on the job," according to a press release from the strike's organizers.
More than 200 workers walked off the job and ended the day at a rally outside the Pico Rivera location, reports The New York Times.
A handful of community supporters joined the fight, including Dr. Jose Moreno, Executive Director of Los Amigos, Maria Elena Durazo, Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and Rev. Eric Lee, Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Community organizers are asking "Wal-mart and Chairman Rob Walton to address take home pay so low that Associates are forced to rely on public programs to supporttheir families and understaffing that is keeping workers from receiving sufficient hours and is also hurting customer service," according to the release.
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"We cannot stand by while the country's largest employer tries to silence workers who stand up for a better future for their families," said Durazo. "We are here to tell Wal-mart the company must change the way it treats workers and our community. Our city and our country need big profitable corporations like Walmart and billionaires like the Waltons to take responsibility for rebuilding our economy — and stop squeezing the middle class to the breaking point."
"OUR Walmart" is one of the nationwide moments fighting for change.
On Monday, The Daily Ticker spoke to "OUR Walmart" member Jackie Goebel, a Wisconsin-based Wal-mart employee. She said she makes just under $19 an hour and has worked for the company for 25 years.
"When I started, you got merit raises, a yearly raise and a raise at 90 days," said Goebel. "My pay has been capped for 6 years. I have no hopes of ever getting another pay raise probably."
Responding to the critique by "OUR Walmart," Wal-mart spokesperson Fogelman said: "We have some of the best jobs in the industry. We have good pay, affordable benefits and the opportunity for advancement which typically meet or exceed those at majority of competitors include unionized ones."
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