Pringles for $1.50; Bottles of wine for $3; DVDs for as little as $5. Walmart is probably best known in America for their low prices. Maybe they’re best known for their proximity and availability (is there a Walmart within 15 miles of where you are sitting right now? There are seven stores within 15 miles of me).
But Walmart is best known in the worker justice movement for their poor treatment of workers and low pay scale.
Wage theft is a main issue for IWJ and our affiliates. We know Walmart executives consistently settle class-action lawsuits for wage and hour violations rather than address this moral issue at their stores and warehouses.
Between June 2005 and July 2011, Walmart settled an estimated 70 of these lawsuits and paid out more than $1 billion to around a million current and former employees.
Workers of some of Walmart’s contracted warehouse companies have also filed suits for minimum wage violations.
And as people of faith continue to work to raise core standards—seeking living wages for workers, affordable healthcare and paid sick days— Walmart’s standards continually lower the floor.
The average Walmart associate earns $8.81 an hour. Median annual pay for a Walmart worker is $22,700 (compared to the more than $16 million in CEO pay in 2011). The company restricts access to healthcare to employees who work more than 24 hours a week, and limits sick days.
As one of the nation's largest companies, Walmart has the opportunity to become a model employer. Instead, it has maintained a legacy of union busting at its stores, denying its employees the right to organize and collectively bargain.
IWJ is working with the Making Change at Walmart campaign and workers at Walmart stores and warehouses to address these immoral practices at Walmart as the corporation celebrates its 50th birthday.
People of faith across the country are telling Walmart executives that its time for Jubilee. Jubilee is the Judeo-Christian tradition of canceling debts, freeing slaves and redistribution of resources every 50 years to limit inequality.
Walmart as a glaring example of inequality, and their corporate policies help legitimize an economy benefiting a few at the expense of working people.