Consumer Watchdog SumOfUs.org Buys Ads in Arkansas Newspaper to Support Warehouse Workers

From SumOfUs.org:

BENTONVILLE, ARKANSAS – With Walmart workers walking off the job in protest of working conditions, corporate accountability organization SumOfUs.org has purchased 11 advertisements in the Bentonville local daily newspapers the Benton County Daily Record and Rogers Morning News, as well as the weekly local, the Weekly Vista.

View ads here: http://bit.ly/sumofus-walmart

The ads will run starting Tuesday, Oct. 9 as warehouse workers and Walmart associates converge on Walmart’s annual Meeting for the Investment Community to protest to protest the abuses they regularly suffer at work and announce the next steps in their campaign for justice. Earlier this month a SumOfUs petition calling on Walmart execs to take responsibility for conditions in its supply chain warehouses reached nearly 100,000 signatures.

“Walmart executives are turning a blind eye to the grievances of workers in Walmart stores and the warehouses in its supply chain, so we’re taking the workers’ message to a place they can’t ignore,” SumOfUs.org Executive Director Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman said. “When top Walmart execs read over the daily paper with their morning coffee, they’ll be confronted by massive portrait shots of themselves, alongside our members’ message of solidarity with the striking workers.”

“For too long Walmart’s executives have ignored the health and safety of its workers, but now as momentum shifts, the retail giant’s execs are seeing the effect of their ambivalence play out through strikes in their warehouses, and now a series of 11 ads blanketing their hometown newspapers. They won’t be able to ignore the workers much longer.”

“For fifty years Walmart has been fighting a war against workers, driving down wages and crushing attempts to organize around the world,” Ms. Stinebrickner-Kauffman said. “But this month, an incredible new chapter opened in the fight against Walmart’s race-to-the-bottom economics, when workers in Walmart’s warehouses in California and Chicago went on strike.”

“These workers are sick of toiling in 100+-degree heat without access to clean water, they’re sick of poverty wages and most of all, they’re sick of being ignored by management, so they walked off the job and in California marched 50 miles to Walmart’s HQ in downtown Los Angeles to confront some of Walmart top executives.”

“Walmart’s executives are starting to feel the heat of this growing movement for ethical workplaces, and it’s high time they start paying more attention to people, rather than solely focusing on Walmart’s bottom line.”

The advertisements feature the picture of top Walmart executives Mike Duke (President and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.), Bill Simon (President and CEO, Walmart U.S.), Johnnie C. Dobbs, Jr. (Executive Vice President, Logistics, Walmart U.S.) and Chairman of the Board of Directors Rob Walton.

“The worst conditions exist in Walmart-contracted warehouses, where Walmart avoids responsibility for workers because it does not hire them directly,” Ms. Stinebrickner Kauffman said. “But it built the warehouses and hired subcontractors to manage them and since 90% of goods moving through these warehouses are destined for Walmart, it clearly has the power to raise standards throughout the industry.”

“As long as Walmart can escape responsibility for its suppliers’ behavior, there will be no systemic changes at the warehouses.”

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