In an incredible showing of solidarity, the New Jersey State AFL-CIO joined with Walmart workers, union members, community partners, UFCW locals, and the OUR Walmart coalition in front of Walmart stores in Secaucus and Cherry Hill to demand respect and fair wages for workers. These events were two of over a hundred protests held around the nation to combat the race to the bottom for wages and working conditions being perpetuated by the world’s largest retailer.
New Jersey’s unions and community groups fought and won an historic campaign to raise New Jersey’s minimum wage on Election Day, and we are continuing the fight for fair wages by shining a light on employers like Walmart which makes billions of dollars in profits every year, while large portions of their workforce struggle in poverty and are forced to rely on food stamps and taxpayer-funded assistance programs to survive. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce released a study in May which reported that a single Walmart store could cost taxpayers between $900,000 and $1.7 million a year in government subsidies.
While many of our nation’s families will kick-off their holiday shopping season today, there are thousands of workers at Walmart who spent their Thanksgiving holiday in the store and won’t even have enough money to afford holiday gifts for their families. Walmart’s disregard for family values, unfair treatment of its workers, and starvation wages is absolutely appalling. We are committed to communicating this fact to consumers and supporting those businesses which pay fair wages and treat their workers with dignity and respect.
Walmart turned a $15.7 billion profit last year, CEO Michael Duke made $20.7 million in 2012 – a 14% increase from the previous year – and the company recently announced Doug McMillon as its next CEO with another multi-million dollar pay package. Workers were essential to creating the company’s profits, and deserve their fair share and the right to express themselves on the job without fear of company retaliation. Walmart has a treacherous history of punishing workers who attempt to express their voice on the job. The National Labor Relations Board recently announced that it would prosecute the nation’s largest private employer for illegal firings and disciplinary actions against 117 workers around the country.
The New Jersey State AFL-CIO is proud to stand in solidarity with Walmart employees today and we will continue to stand with workers across our state and nation every day to demand workplace justice and economic opportunity for all.