Black Friday in Chicago: Walmart Workers Demand Respect!

A follow-up to my 11/21 post:

This morning I attended a Black Friday demonstration at a Walmart in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. Following a rally and press conference, a group of Walmart workers and solidarity activists stood in line across Broadway Avenue until they were led away by the police (see pix below). This courageous act of civil disobedience was but one of many similar actions that took place at Walmarts across the nation today.

For a smart and intelligent discussion of Walmart’s treatment of its workers, I highly recommend this recent post in the International Business Times:

As one of the world’s most valuable companies and one of its biggest private employers with 2.2 million globally, the family-run business brought in revenues of $469 billion in 2013 and generated profit of $27.8 billion over the same period. Despite this, the average Wal-Mart salary for its lowest-paid workers for a 40-hour week is about $18,720, which would be the figure for a five-day week if the employee worked 52 weeks a year and didn’t pay any tax. OUR Walmart, a group of current and past employees, says the average salary is actually about $9 an hour and most workers only work 34 hours a week, resulting in an annual $15,500…

Incidentally, it would take the average worker around 750 years to earn the $23.2 million that CEO Mike Duke earned in 2012, approximately 1,034 times more than the company’s average worker.

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8 Comments on “Black Friday in Chicago: Walmart Workers Demand Respect!”

  1. Sallie Gratch says:

    Being there matters…..way to go Brant!

  2. Alan Gratch says:

    I am proud to join you, Brant, in living my Jewish values.

  3. Bob Hewitt says:

    Thanks, Rabbi, for being there and spreading the word about Walmart’s injustice!

  4. Steve Hinman says:

    A quick check on yahoo finance shows that Wal-Mart made about $17 billion last year (unlike the number above). Of that about $12 billion was spent on capital expenditures to grow the business, keep stores up to date, etc. If every last penny of what remains were spent on pay increases across Wal-Mart’s 2.1 million employees, that would result in a pay increase of just under $1 per hour. However, that would mean cutting Wal-Mart’s dividends to $0, which would likely crater the stock, and hurt every person whose retirement savings include funds that hold Wal-Mart. Don’t mean to rain on people’s parade. Please push back on me if you think my numbers are wrong.

  5. Jordy says:

    Mr Gandels study is spot on…of course Walmart can pay their employees more, they just won’t.if they would only pay hem for time off the clock, it would help some..there needs to be enough pressure for them to notice…the only way I can come up with is a nation wide boycott..maybe led by clergy,as the rabbi is such an example…seems like the Internet may be at use here….lets all do something…


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