Former Walmart Employees Demand to be Reinstated
Protests erupted at Walmart outlets across the country on Thursday, mounted by workers and their supporters who are demanding America’s largest employer provide a living wage. In Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas, Chicago, Orlando, the District of Columbia, and elsewhere coast to coast, Walmart entrances were clotted with men and women in the bright green T-shirts of Our Walmart, a campaign to improve working conditions at the mega-chain and at its suppliers.
Walmart employees—or as the company refers to them, associates—complain of low take-home pay, unaffordable healthcare, unpredictable hours, bullying, and discrimination from management at the retailer, which retains 1.3 million Americans on its payroll. Six members of the Walton family, decedents of Walmart founder Samuel Walton and owners of a near majority stake in the corporation, together have a net worth surpassing that of over 40 percent of American families combined. Walmart took in $16 billion last year alone, but the company’s smiley face insignia has become a symbol of exploitation to many who stock its shelves and man its registers.
“If people knew what is going on behind close doors,” said Lucus Handy, a former associate in the customer service department at a Walmart superstore in Fort Dodge, Iowa, “they would force Walmart to change.”