Workers Converge on Walmart HQ for Week of Actions

Clovis_New-Mexico_ Ride 4 Respect
The LA to Arkansas crew at the Clovis, New Mexico Walmart at 1:45 a.m.

Hundreds of Walmart employees, their families, supporters and Javier Rodriguez, a warehouse worker from Southern California, hopped on buses May 30 to travel to Bentonville, Arkansas — Walmart’s international headquarters.

The group is there to call on Walmart to change course. Their arrival coincides with Walmart’s annual shareholder’s event.

Here are some highlights:

Kalpona Akter, a former child garment worker and executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, will speak inside the shareholder meeting Friday. She has been an outspoken critic of sweatshop conditions in Bangladesh where Walmart is the second largest producer. More than 400 people raised $9,000 to bring Akter to Arkansas to address Walmart executives directly about fires and factory collapses in Bangladesh that have killed hundreds of garment workers.

Workers and experts held a teleconference with national reporters to expose serious problems in Walmart’s global supply chain.

Workers from major cities across the country made the trek to Arkansas on buses in the spirit of the 1960s Freedom Rides. The Ride for Respect departed the Pico Rivera Walmart May 30. The group traveled 1,500 miles through Arizona, New Mexico and Texas before arriving in Bentonville.

WWU Boards the Bus
The Warehouse Workers United group boards the bus in Pico Rivera, Calif.

In Bentonville workers met up with artists from San Francisco and Washington, D.C. to assemble an oversized, human-powered, art installation with more than 1,200 pieces of fabric symbolizing the deaths of workers in Bangladesh.

Why did they die?
A child and her mother place flowers in front of Walmart’s Arkansas headquarters in honor of the garment workers who died in Bangladesh.

For photos and video of strikers and their community supporters, also visit http://changewalmart.tumblr.com.

Follow the conversation and see photos on Twitter using #Walmartstrikers.

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