Workers Win Historic Legal Victory Against Walmart

January 29, 2016 by islandersvoice1

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For Immediate Release, January 27, 2016
Contact: Dan Schlademan, Co-Director, Our Walmart, dschlademan@gmail.com, (312) 502-5280

On the heels of the company’s announcement that it will raise wages for all U.S. associates next month…

Workers Win Historic Legal Victory Against Walmart

Illegally fired and disciplined workers win broadest labor board decision against Walmart in the company’s history

Just one day after Walmart announced that it will be raising wages for all 1.2 million U.S. associates next month, a Federal Administrative Law Judge has issued a decision stating that the company engaged in systematic retaliation against Walmart workers who spoke out about poverty wages and poor working conditions in 2013. The judge ordered Walmart to reinstate certain workers, and to rescind illegal discipline affecting dozens of Walmart workers. Walmart is also ordered to post a legal notice in 31 stores, and to schedule employee meetings in 29 stores, at which Walmart must affirm the rights of their employees to speak out and stand together for change.

Jovani Gomez had been working at Walmart for five years when he was illegally fired. “At the time they fired me, my girlfriend and I had just graduated from school, and she was pregnant with our first child,” Gomez said. “I was outraged that Walmart could fire someone for speaking out for better pay and working conditions. I was trying to make things better for myself and my coworkers, and I ended up losing my means of supporting my family.”

Walmart fired the workers covered by the decision after they launched the movement challenging Walmart to raise pay and went on strike against illegal retaliation. The judge found that these violations of the law were not caused by rogue managers, but instead demonstrated a systematic campaign, orchestrated by senior Walmart officials in Bentonville, to illegally threaten and even fire workers who were speaking out. Their directive was carried out by dozens of store managers in states across the country. The judge has ordered that Walmart reinstate and pay full back wages for 16 workers they illegally filed and remove illegally issued discipline for another 41.

Cynthia Murray is a member of OUR Walmart, the organization of current and former Walmart workers that has been spearheading the campaign for higher wages and full-time hours at the world’s largest retailer. “I think this shows that Walmart’s way of doing things isn’t working anymore,” said Murray. “For years, Walmart’s model has been to pay people as little as possible and fire workers who speak out. But they can’t get away with that anymore. We’re not going to let them.”

The judge’s decision comes on the heels of Walmart’s announcement of a historic pay raise for their workers. As a result of escalating worker protests and public pressure, Walmart announced in February 2015 that the company would raise starting wages to $9 in 2015 and to $10 in 2016. Yesterday, Walmart announced that a pay raise for all U.S. associates will go into effect on February 20. When announcing the decision to raise wages last year, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon conceded that the company had been “caught up” in a “debate over inequity.”

As the largest low-wage employer in the country helmed by the richest family in America, Walmart has earned its place in that debate. Walmart generates about $16 billion in annual profits, and the Walton family controls $150 billion in wealth. Comparatively, Walmart workers across the country are calling for $15 and full-time hours to support themselves and their families with dignity.

Members of OUR Walmart have sent letters to both Bernie Sanders’s and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns, asking the candidates to speak in support of Walmart workers and to call on the company to stop breaking the law.

Legal Disclaimer: OUR Walmart has the purpose of helping Walmart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Walmart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Walmart publicly commit to adhere to labor rights and standards. OUR Walmart has no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with OUR Walmart as the representative of its employees.

 

Sec. Hillary R. Clinton
℅ Hillary for America
Post Office Box 5256
New York, NY 10185-5256

Martin O’Malley
1501 St. Paul Street
Ste 115, Baltimore, MD 21202

Senator Bernie Sanders
℅ Bernie 2016
P.O. Box 905
Burlington, VT 05402

LETTER TO DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES CLINTON, O’MALLEY AND SANDERS FROM MEMBERS OF THE ORGANIZATION UNITED FOR RESPECT AT WALMART (OUR WALMART)

Just one day after Walmart announced that it will be raising wages for all 1.2 million U.S. associates next month, a Federal Administrative Law Judge has issued a decision stating that the company engaged in systematic retaliation against Walmart workers who spoke out about poverty wages and poor working conditions in 2013. The judge ordered Walmart to reinstate certain workers, and to rescind illegal discipline affecting dozens of Walmart workers. Walmart is also ordered to post a legal notice in 31 stores, and to schedule employee meetings in 29 stores, at which Walmart must affirm the rights of their employees to speak out and stand together for change.

Walmart fired the workers covered by the decision after they launched the movement challenging Walmart to raise pay and went on strike against illegal retaliation and comes on the heels of Walmart’s announcement of a historic pay raise for their workers. As a result of escalating worker protests and public pressure, Walmart announced in February 2015 that the company would raise starting wages to $9 in 2015 and to $10 in 2016. Yesterday, Walmart announced that a pay raise for all U.S. associates will go into effect on February 20. When announcing the decision to raise wages last year, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon conceded that the company had been “caught up” in a “debate over inequity.”

As the largest low-wage employer in the country, helmed by one of the richest families in the world, Walmart has earned its place in that debate.Walmart generates about $16 billion in annual profits, and the Walton family controls $150 billion in wealth. Comparatively, Walmart workers across the country are calling for $15 and full-time hours to support themselves and their families with dignity.

The judge found that Walmart’s violations of the law were not caused by rogue managers, but instead demonstrated a systematic campaign, orchestrated by senior WMT officials in Bentonville, to illegally threaten and even fire workers who were speaking out. Their directive was carried out by dozens of store managers in states across the country. The judge has ordered that Walmart reinstate and pay full back wages for 16 workers they illegally filed and remove illegally issued discipline for another 41.

Walmart has indicated that they are planning to drag this out by appealing this decision. These courageous workers have already waited 2 ½ years for this decision and need justice now. We ask you to call on Walmart to respect the Judge’s decision and reinstate wrongfully fired workers.

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