Low-wage workers expose 1% bosses

WW photo: Anne Pruden

WW photo: Anne Pruden

New York — “Walmart cheats, Walmart hates, Walmart discriminates!” and “Bill Simon eschucha — Estamos en la lucha!” shouted a multinational protest of Walmart and restaurant workers outside a retail bosses’ convention where Bill Simon was speaking on Jan. 15. Simon is president and chief executive officer of Walmart U.S., executive vice president of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and director of the board of Darden Restaurants Inc., the world’s largest restaurant company.

While the 1% conspired to expand their profits at the New York City meeting, a “mic check” occurred suddenly inside the Jacob Javits convention center. The Occupy Wall Street Labor Outreach Committee and 99 Pickets began to unfurl an anti-Walmart banner and expose the exploitation and anti-immigrant practices of both Walmart and Darden. Soon kicked out of the hall, the labor activists joined the strong protest outside.

Supporters numbered more than 100 people organized by the Retail Action Project, Restaurant Opportunities Center, UNITE-HERE, Desis Rising Up & Moving, the Department Store union and other organizations fighting for workers and immigrant rights.

Demands were especially focused on how these rich are making super-profits by hiring part-time workers who don’t receive enough hours to make a living and who are without benefits of any kind. These workers’ schedules are also irregular, without even a set time to be at work from week to week, which makes it hard for parents to arrange child care and transportation. The protesters also chanted demands for full-time jobs and sick time.

That most of the Walmart and restaurant workers are people of color is further reason to unite in their support. The fight of working-class, low-wage workers will not end until there are no more low-wage jobs!