By Megan Meulink
Next month, congregations, faith communities and advocacy groups plan to host Walmart workers in their worship or community spaces.
Interfaith Worker Justice and local community groups will partner together during the month of October to lift up the stories and struggles of Walmart workers.
Local faith and community groups can connect with a Walmart worker in their own neighborhoods. Workers will give personal testimonies about their experiences at Walmart and their struggles living off low wages. Hearing from Walmart workers themselves is a crucial way to inspire community members to take action and stand in solidarity with local workers.
“That meeting was a good eye-opener for a lot of us in that group. [The Walmart worker] gave a brief explanation of what OUR Walmart is and what the members are going through. She shared with us her passion to change Walmart’s labor practices so that it will be a model company, not just nationally but also internationally. We’ve always known activism as a way of wanting to boycott or make companies fall, but OUR Walmart is not trying to ruin Walmart but to make them better so that the current employees will have a chance to experience a job where they are treated with dignity and honor…The meeting was more than just informational. It was more about bringing people together…From here on we have a relationship with that worker now.”
—The Rev. Eileen Suico, founding pastor at With Community Church in Seattle, WA
The Host a Worker program comes just a month before groups gear up to stand with Walmart workers again for Black Friday.
For the last two years, Walmart workers have been standing up for respect and a dignified workplace. More and more workers have joined OUR Walmart and participated in actions and strikes. Faith and community groups will join workers again on Black Friday and call on managers to treat their workers with respect. To inspire community members, they plan to visit congregations and organizations all month long to talk about why they’ve walked off their jobs, gone on strike, risked (unlawful) discipline and why they don’t plan to stop.
Arranging a Host a Worker event is a great way to educate your own community about Interfaith Worker Justice’s campaign for Respect and Dignity at Walmart and to encourage them to adopt a Walmart on Black Friday. Contact me for more information if you're interested in hosting a Walmart worker in your community.