Robert Reich posted on his Facebook wall a call to the public: Stand with Wal-Mart workers. Join in actions planned on November 29, and let Wal-Mart know that it is time to pay its workers a living wage. As Reich points out, a $15 wage at Wal-Mart would pull most of its workers out of poverty, greatly reducing the amount of money taxpayers have to fork over to subsidize Wal-Mart’s greed.
Walmart, America’s largest employer, pays its workers a median hourly wage of $8.80. So it’s hardly surprising that most have to rely on food stamps and Medicaid in order to lift their families out of poverty (meaning the rest of us are indirectly subsidizing Walmart’s low wages through our tax dollars). If Walmart raised its wages to $15 an hour, most of its workers and their families would be out of poverty, and those higher wages would flow back into the economy in the form of more purchases and more jobs. Because Walmart has to stay price competitive, the bulk of that increase would come out of profits, which seems appropriate in this era of raging inequality (the Walmart heirs, who still own a substantial portion of the firm, have more wealth than the bottom 30 percent of Americans put together). Last June nearly 200 Walmart workers caravanned to corporate headquarters during the company’s annual shareholder’s meeting to demand better pay; Walmart responded by illegally firing or disciplining more than 60 of them. (Since then, there have been wildcat strikes. Ten days ago, 80 Walmart workers walked off the job at a Miami-area Walmart store protesting low pay, poor working conditions, and retaliation against the “Walmart 60.”)
What can you do? Join actions planned for November 29, Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving and the biggest shopping day of the year) at a Walmart store near you. Let Walmart managers and executives know that you stand with the Walmart 60 and all other workers at the country’s largest retail employer. (Pass it on.)
Get your friends involved! Fight against income inequality in any way you can. It’s time for the American people to rise up against plutocratic injustice. The long battle against income inequality is just beginning. Whether or not it is successful depends on all of us.
Reich explains that the income gap is undermining our democracy: