Walwart workers participated in a simultaneous walkout and strike Wednesday at about 35 stores in the Chicago area.
The walkouts included in-store “associates” who say they’ve been mistreated by managers and are paid extremely low wages for demanding work. These local strikers joined hundreds of similar protestors who walked off their Walmart jobs in cities across the country Tuesday, including Seattle, Miami, and Washington, D.C.
Wednesday’s action comes just days after striking suburban Walmart warehouse workers returned to their jobs after the company rescinded retaliatory actions and conceded to back pay for the strikers.
“Workers have been walking out of retail stores and warehouses, including here in Illinois, because of the poverty wages and deplorable working conditions that Walmart puts its employees through,” said Susan Hurley, director of Chicago Jobs with Justice, a labor advocacy group.
Here's more from a local religious leader who attended one of the actions in Chicago in support of Walmart workers:
Additionally, a busload of local Walmart employees joined with others from around the country in a trip to the company’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. There, hundreds of workers staged a protest during the company’s annual financial meeting.
Rose Campbell is a Chicago-area resident who said she “couldn’t wait to get to work” for Walmart when she first started with the company four years ago. But after being passed over for promotions by managers whom she said favored newer, less experienced employees, Campbell became upset with her employers.
“It’s bad to see [managers] talking to grownups like they’re kids, or disrespecting them, or playing favoritism. They played favoritism with me, too,” Campbell said during a phone interview shortly after the protest in Bentonville, which she attended.
Campbell said it was common to see acts of nepotism, and that illnesses ran rampant through the workforce at the Forest Park, Illinois store where she works. Like many similar workers who earn $10 an hour, Campbell said she cannot afford neither private health insurance nor the package offered through Walmart.
Although Walmart did recently expand its coverage for certain procedures, some workers say the package is still prohibitively expensive.
A Walmart spokesman told the Huffington Post on Tuesday that the workers who’ve walked off the job "aren't representative of our entire associate base."
Also, some local warehouse workers have pending lawsuits filed against the company alleging wage theft violations in addition to filing an unfair labor practices complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.