On Wednesday, April 15, Dayton workers held a town hall meeting as part of a global day of action to call for a higher wages from some of the world’s richest companies. Walmart associates and low-wage workers from the health care and service industries gathered to discuss the causes and effects of income inequality in our communities, as 100,000 workers in 200 cities protested to call for $15 an hour.
Nationwide, workers and supporters held rallies, marches, and direct action in the streets and in front of stores like Walmart and McDonald’s. Workers called on profitable companies to pay their workers a living wage of $15 an hour so they can care for their families.
With $16 billion in annual profits, Walmart can afford to pay workers $15 an hour and provide them with access to consistent, full-time work. Even in light of Walmart’s recent modest wage increase—and especially with no guarantee that workers will get the hours they need—many workers are still forced to rely on government assistance programs like food stamps to get by.
“I just got the increase to $9 an hour,” said Dayton Walmart worker Kanada Pope, “But now I’m not getting as many hours as I was before.”
Earlier this year, Walmart caved to worker pressure and announced it would raise wages. Last October, Walmart workers launched a petition for $15 an hour and access to consistent, full-time schedules. The petition spread like wildfire, garnering signatures from 2,200 Walmart stores across the nation. Then, following the largest Black Friday worker mobilization ever, Walmart announced that it would raise wages for 500,000 U.S. workers. Shortly thereafter, companies like Target, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Dominos followed suit. OUR Walmart members have acknowledged Walmart’s pay increase as a good first step, but are continuing to push for $15 an hour and access to the full-time work they need to support their families.