On Black Friday (the busiest shopping day of the year) community, faith and labor allies visited nearly 1,500 Walmart stores in support of workers who are standing up for dignity and respect. Community support for workers is growing, and thousands of allies called on Walmart to be a better employee, pay its workers a living wage, schedule regular shifts and stop the culture of intimidation and retaliation in its stores. Interfaith Worker Justice staff lead and joined actions in Chicago, Dallas, Boston, Seattle and the D.C. metro area. IWJ supporters joined actions, led vigils and prayed for workers in hundreds of cities all across the U.S.
Former IWJ organizer and seminary student, Joe Hopkins faced arrest at an action on Chicago's north side to draw attention to the immoral working condtions at the country's largest retail store. After his release, Joe told us:
I grew up around Walmart stores in rural Pennsylvania, and I never gave them much thought. I would shop there on occasion, and sometimes my friends and I would just end up there because they were some of the few places still open after 10 p.m. But I also knew from a young age that people with a lot of resources have a responsibility to help other people who have less. When I learned that Walmart’s executives make millions of dollars, and the Walton family has billions of dollars, I knew that they should help their workers first. Why don’t they? Can they somehow not hear the wages of their workers, the wages that they kept back by fraud, crying out? Today I joined my voice to the chorus of protest and put my body in the street so that the trumpet of justice would sound loud enough for even Walmart to hear.
Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. —James 5:4
Faith leaders confronted store managers and asked them to pass along a letter of support for better working conditions and respect for workers at Walmart.
Together we can call on Walmart to be a model employer! Thank you for supporting this campaign!