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EVENDALE, OH—As Walmart associates across the country hold protests, marches, and even engage in civil disobedience today, Cincinnati area Walmart workers and supporters including State Representative Denise Driehaus and City Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld held a protest outside an Evendale Walmart store this afternoon. A group of workers and faith leaders attempted to deliver a giant petition with hundreds of signatures calling on the company to treat workers fairly and pay a living wage. Following the delivery of the petition, workers held a short program outside the store culminating in the release of 70 helium balloons representing the associates who were unjustly fired or disciplined for speaking out about mistreatment.
Walmart is the largest private employer in the world. The average full time Walmart associate makes about $15,500 a year, well below the poverty level for a family. Meanwhile, the six members of the Walton family—heirs to the Walmart fortune and near majority owners of the company—have a combined wealth of $93 billion. That’s more than the bottom 30% of Americans combined.
“I’ve worked for Walmart for 6 years,” said Sophonisba Jamal, a Walmart associate from Cincinnati. “So many of my coworkers have to rely on public assistance for health care. I just don’t think it’s right—when a company is as big and rich as Walmart—that the taxpayers should have to subsidize their employees’ health care.”
As calls to rebuild the economy with better jobs reverberate across the country, Walmart workers and their supporters held the largest mobilization since Black Friday today. These national protests come days after Walmart failed to meet a Labor Day deadline to reinstate illegally fired and disciplined workers, publicly commit to improve jobs, and end the company’s aggressive violations of workers’ rights. Thousands of workers and their supporters protested today in over a dozen cities across the country.
“This movement isn’t just about Walmart—it’s about the future of jobs in our country,” said Nelson Pierce, a local pastor and organizer with the AMOS Project. “As the largest private employer in the world, Walmart sets the standard. What kind of country will we be if we let poverty-wage jobs become the new normal?”