Target: Mike Duke, President and CEO of Walmart
Goal: Improve working conditions for Walmart workers
Several dozen Walmart employees recently walked out of the store during their shifts and began protesting outside of Walmart location in Pico Rivera, California. Fed up with subpar working conditions, poor treatment, and unjust punishments, the workers from nine Los Angeles area Walmarts stormed out of their stores and formed picket lines, demanding higher wages and better hours.
Protesters claim that Walmart managers regularly cut employees hours when topics such as working conditions or insufficient wages are brought up. Workers report that in addition to having their hours slashed, they are often the victims of ridiculous punitive measures.
One woman, a single mother, claims that she has been taken off of the retail floor and forced to move shipping pallets for the rest of the day when she has complained to managers. Warehouse workers have claimed to be made to work in non-climate controlled warehouses where temperatures can easily reach 120 degrees.
This is not the first time that Walmart has come under fire for mistreating employees. Protesters claim that this is the first time Walmart workers have gone on strike, however other sources say that a similar incident took place in Florida several years ago. Walmart employees do not have a union, but have close ties with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union via the group OUR Walmart (Organization United for Respect at Walmart). The strike has drawn the interest of multiple California politicians, union representatives, and community activists.
For years Walmart has been the target of criticism for severely underpaying workers—it is time something comes of that. As the nation’s largest retailer, Walmart can certainly afford to pay its employees a respectable living wage and put them to work in a safe environment. Walmart is a massively valuable corporation, but that does not give them the excuse to treat workers as if they are worthless. Stand with Walmart’s employees; tell the company that it is time for workers to be treated as human beings.
Dear Mr. Duke,
As you have certainly heard by now a number of Californian Walmart employees recently left their posts in your stores and staged protests outside of them. Their numbers were not awe inspiring, certainly far from the number of protesters it would take to throw a wrench in Walmart’s operations, but enough to be noticed. Their demands were simple: better hours, livable wages, and freedom from petty punishments.
Workers have given harrowing statements, claiming to be forced to work in sweltering warehouses devoid of air conditioning, or being assigned to move shipping crates and pallets as a punishment for asking managers for more hours or a raise.
This system of punishments cannot be allowed to continue. Slashing workers hours solely because he or she asks the wrong question is not only an unfit punishment—it is simply petty. Your employees rely on Walmart to provide them with a wage that allows them to support themselves and their families. In that respect Walmart falls woefully short. As America’s top retailer, Walmart can absolutely afford to pay workers enough to get by.
It is clear that the employees of your stores have been seriously mistreated, Mr. Duke. They are not asking for much, just enough to make a living in a dignified manner. Do not carry on the tradition of faceless corporations squashing their workers. Please take a look at how Walmart treats its people and fix what is broken. Walmart’s employees deserve to be treated fairly.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Walmart Stores via flickr