Ellen Bravo, director of Family Values @ Work, issued the following statement in support of Walmart Moms, who on Wednesday are holding a nationwide day of action and striking at Walmart stores in 20 cities, including Orlando, Miami, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and the Bay area. Walmart moms began walking off the job last Friday, in protest of the company’s illegal silencing of their co-workers who have been calling for better pay.
“We’re proud to stand with members of OUR Walmart who are on strike today to protest the illegal firing of workers—many of them moms—who spoke out for better jobs. Despite what Walmart wants us to believe, these brave women are the real “Walmart moms,” and their reality is poverty jobs and erratic schedules that make it a constant struggle to provide for their families. Real Walmart moms are using food pantries and food stamps to feed their kids—and skipping meals so their children don’t go hungry. As the country’s largest employer of women, Walmart can and must do better — pay its workers a minimum of $25,000 a year for full-time work and end the retaliation now.”
The strikes come as working families are increasingly looking to local councils and state legislators to move policies that provide stronger economic security for their families. Paid sick days policies have been passing at record pace, and paid family leave insurance are expanding, as well. Campaigns for paid sick days are moving ahead in cities and states across the country, including Eugene, Oregon; Chicago, IL; Tacoma, WA; Washington; New Jersey; Massachusetts; Maryland; Minnesota and California, among others. Paid family and medical leave insurance campaigns are underway in Colorado and New York. Washington State is working on funding to implement a paid family leave law that lawmakers passed in 2008. And Vermont, Connecticut and New Hampshire have all formed task forces to study the issue.
Last week, Ellen Bravo testified before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, noting that leaders on the ground, like Rhiannon Broschat in Chicago and Shelby Ramirez in Denver, are helping to pave the way for change at the federal level. See Ellen’s interview with the New York Times following her testimony here.
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