Walmart workers from almost 1,700 locations in the nation have called for the company to make a public commitment and raise pay to $15 an hour. They also called on the company to provide consistent, full-time work in a petition that was delivered to the Walton family last week.
The majority of Walmart workers make less than $25,000 a year, while Walmart rakes in millions in profits.
Workers have signed petitions in stores and online. According to organizers, two Walmart members in Oregon drove from store to store to gather signatures across the state.
“Walmart heard the calls of my coworkers and me. It’s an important step that the new vests will be made in America,” said Sal Fuentes, a seven-year associate from Duarte, Calif., in a statement. “Having full-time hours is letting me go to the doctor and buy my daughter new clothes for school—and dress code items. But when my coworkers are skipping meals and relying on erratic, part-time schedules, more needs to be done. All associates need $15 an hour and consistent, full-time work so we can build futures for our kids.”
“Walmart workers know that $15 an hour and full-time work is more than fair for the work we do to make the Waltons mega-billionaires,” added Cantare Davunt, a customer service manager from Apple Valley, Minn., in a statement. “Now, I am only paid $10.10 an hour, which doesn’t cut it. My car was recently repossessed because I couldn’t afford monthly payments, and it is a daily nightmare trying to find transportation. How am I supposed to get ahead with $6 in my pocket that’s supposed to last two weeks until my next pay day?”
Last week, 26 Walmart workers and their supporters were arrested in New York while calling on the company to pay a fair wage without passing the bill on to taxpayers. The protest shut down Park Avenue in front of Alice Walton’s new penthouse in New York City and in front of the Walton Family Foundation.
Workers are hoping to achieve a major victory like the three in Dallas, who were given full-time status after pressuring management to make them and 14 other workers full-time. In the Bay Area, after Walmart members circulated a petition in response to the company cutting hours for 10 workers, management at those stores restored their hours.
The growing labor movement and recognition of economic inequality have brought pressure to Walmart, but workers from other movements have also chimed in on the situation. Janet Lopez, a McDonald’s worker in Los Angeles, is a mother and a student. She issued a statement saying Walmart workers are just the next in a line of workers who aren’t taking it anymore.
“The call for $15 per hour has only gotten stronger since fast-food workers first went on strike nearly two years ago,” said Lopez, who makes $9 per hour. “Sea-Tac and Seattle passed $15 minimum wages, San Francisco voters are poised to approve $15 and workers from Los Angeles to Baltimore have gotten $15 through collective bargaining. Our nation’s biggest cities—New York, Chicago and Los Angeles—are considering minimum wage increases that would put workers on a path to $15. With Walmart workers now standing up for $15, it is clear that this movement is growing and that we’re not going away.”