Search form

"Walmart Moms" Walk Off In 20 Cities Demanding Better Pay and Conditions

"Walmart Moms" Walk Off In 20 Cities Demanding Better Pay and Conditions
This article originally appeared on The Guardian

Strikes in 20 cities come as new report says top Walmart bosses received $104 million in taxpayer subsidies over six years

Working mothers at Walmart staged a series of strikes on Wednesday in protest over wages and conditions at the world's largest retailer, as a new report claims the company's top executives received $104 million in taxpayer subsidies over a six-year period.

The majority of mothers working at Walmart, which drew a $16 billion profit last year, earn less than $25,000 a year.

This week, a study by thinktank Demos detailed how 1.3 million women working in retail live on or near the poverty line. It said that if the major retailers in the US raised wages to the equivalent of $25,000 for full-time work, it could lift almost half a million women out of poverty or near-poverty.

“Walmart moms” walked off their jobs to take part in protests outside their stores in a number of cities including Orlando and Chicago, joining those who have already staged strikes earlier this week in Dallas, Pittsburgh, southern California and the Bay area.

Strikes took place in 20 cities on Wednesday. The protesters, who include current Walmart workers as well as members of the allegiance Our Walmart, are demanding annual wages of at least $25,000, more full-time openings and an end to retaliation against workers who speak out against their conditions.

Earlier this year, the National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against Walmart for, it said, illegally retaliating against 60 workers who had taken part in legally protected strikes or protests.

Mother of three Linda Haluska, 52, who works in a Walmart store in Glenwood, told the Guardian she was traveling to the protest in Chicago. Haluska has worked for the company for eight and a half years and now earns $28,000. She said she was striking in solidarity with others who earn less, and what she described as worsening conditions at the company.

Haluska works the night shift at the store's health and beauty department and supplements her income by working as a teaching assistant during the school term.

“I started off at the bottom, like everyone else” said Haluska. “But I've seen things change: the erratic scheduling, the lack of flexibility. It's hard to get a day off when you want. They make it very clear that Walmart comes first. Your job is always on the line.”

Haluska said that some of her co-workers on the night shift who can't afford cars have to wait outside for up to an hour for the bus to arrive – a situation some staff said was potentially dangerous.

Workers and their trade union supporters are currently making their way to Bentonville, Arkansas, where the annual Walmart shareholders meeting is expected to take place on Friday.

Walmart has been criticized in the past for paying workers such low wages that their workers rely on food stamps and other subsidies.

A report published on Wednesday raised a separate issue over Walmart and tax, in terms of a loophole the study said had given the company a tax break of $104 million, enough to cover the cost of free lunches for 33,000 schoolchildren.

In its report, the Institute for Policy Studies and lobby group Americans for Tax Fairness calculated that between 2009 and 2014, the top eight Walmart executives took home more than $298m in “performance pay” that was fully tax deductible.

The performance pay tax break was made possible by a 1993 change in the tax code meant to discourage excessive executive compensation. The rule capped the amount corporations could deduct from their income taxes for executive pay at no more than $1m per executive. But the law exempted stock options and other so-called “performance pay” from the cap.

“When Walmart gets a $104m tax break for giving its executives outrageous pay packages, [and] the rest of us pick up the tab,” said Frank Clemente, executive director at Americans for Tax Fairness. “With this tax loophole, the bigger the executive bonuses, the less Walmart pays in taxes. This is truly one of the most perverse loopholes of all time.”

“Subsidies for executive bonuses come at a huge social cost,” said Sarah Anderson, global economy project director at the Institute for Policy Studies. “The $104 million in tax subsidies for Walmart’s executive pay over the past six years would have been enough, for example, to cover the cost of providing free lunches for 33,000 children.

"What’s even more outrageous is that this is a company that pays its workers so little that many of them must rely on such public assistance programs.”

The study cites the example of recently retired Walmart CEO Michael Duke. According to the report, the performance pay tax break allowed Walmart to lower its federal tax payments by $40 million for the $116 million in stock options and other performance-based compensation it paid him between 2009 and 2014.

The Demos study, published on Monday, found that women in retail were paid $4 an hour less than men, and that part of the issue was that women could not find all the work they want. This problem has been exacerbated by the “just-in-time” scheduling, in which employers use software programs to call in workers as and when they need them.

Originally published by The Guardian

Sign Up

Article Tabs

mafiocracy, Serious Fraud Office, European Financial Services Round Table, Forex, foreign exchange market, LIBOR scandal, rate-rigging scandal, Financial Services Forum, Institute of International Finance, International Monetary Conference, American Banks

The world's big, most law-breaking banks don't simply act as a cartel in terms of the criminal activities they engage in – but form a network of global corporate control that reaches into every corner of our lives.

On Nov. 28 and 29, hundreds of thousands of people around the world will take to the streets in more than 2,000 events in 150 countries to turn up the heat on leaders heading to the Paris Climate Summit.

Paris terror attacks, ISIS, Donald Trump, White Supremacy

ISIS is planning an Attack on America – what lessons can we learn from the post 9-11 era, and how respond to such an attack? Then, what to do about Donald Trump's not-so-silent majority that's starting to scream "White Power"?

TPP, fall rising, flush the TPP, popular resistance, chamber of commerce, trade deals, corporate coup, money in politics, democracy spring, primary season, Stuart Schuffman, local politics, san francisco, mayor, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, consumerism, RE

This week, let's take a peak at the TPP uprising in DC and get inspired to jump on board for the next one.

Guantanamo prisoners, Guantanamo torture, Witness Against Torture, Thanksgiving Day fast

Fourteen peace activists from across the U.S. began a protest vigil and fast outside the U.S. military detention camp on Wednesday to draw attention to ongoing human rights abuses at the prison.

One again, union leadership prioritizes political connections in high places over the best interests of its members.

Posted 6 days 13 hours ago
racial justice, campus racism, Black Lives Matter, racial inequality, Black Liberation Collective, First Amendment, constitutional right to protest

When the Black Liberation Collective asked students around the U.S. to present their universities with a set of radical demands, protesters were accused of trying to limit the free speech of those who did not agree with their mission.

Posted 6 days 15 hours ago
Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Democratic fundraising, money in politics, Clinton machine

A new investigation reveals how Bill and Hillary Clinton methodically cultivated donors over 40 years, amassing untold sums and creating a new financial blueprint for politicians in the post-Citizens United era.

Posted 6 days 14 hours ago
fit to work, U.K. mental health care crisis, mental health funding cuts, U.K. austerity cuts, U.K. austerity policies, National Health Service

Between 2011 and 2014, more than 4,000 people deemed "fit to work" died within six weeks following their Work Capacity Assessment by the U.K. government, shocking the nation and revealing a looming crisis in mental health care.

Posted 3 days 11 hours ago

The attack in Paris sent American politicians scrambling to assert that people seeking asylum from extremists in their home would not be welcome over here. The film, written by Forrest Gump and Benjamin Button screenwriter Eric Roth, strikes a timely note about immigration.

Posted 6 days 14 hours ago

The long-running dispute between Mexico and the U.S. over tuna reveals how domestic laws can be overturned by trade agreements: when countries file trade challenges on behalf of their domestic industries.

money in politics, super PACs, Patriot Majority USA, dark money, Citizens United

Patriot Majority USA, the Democrat-backed dark money juggernaut, failed last election cycle when Republicans widened control of the Senate – and collected half of the $30 million it raised last year from five anonymous donors.

athlete activism, Black Power, Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, "Hands Up Don't Shoot", "I Can't Breathe"

What if, now that athletes have found their voice, they won’t shut up? The genie is out of the locker and no amount of Ace bandages will bind him back to muteness.

Veteran officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with murder the day before a judge’s deadline for the release of a video showing the graphic killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

TPP, fall rising, flush the TPP, popular resistance, chamber of commerce, trade deals, corporate coup, money in politics, democracy spring, primary season, Stuart Schuffman, local politics, san francisco, mayor, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, consumerism, RE

This week we're flushing the TPP, joining the fight against money in politics, and opting out of Black Friday.