By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
June 5, 2014
UNION CITY, Calif. – Filipino Walmart workers walked out of their jobs with dozens of other employees as part of a nationwide day of action against the world’s biggest private employer.
They accuse Walmart of illegally firing and retaliating against workers who have been calling for more hours and better pay.
These Filipino workers say they are victims of these alleged crimes.
John Juanitas has been working at the Fremont Walmart as a cart collector for five years now and said he doesn’t make enough to provide for his family.
They said they helped Walmart earn nearly $16 billion in profits a year but the national average hourly wage for its full-time workers is $12.83.
Juanitas said it’s simply not enough.
“It’s hard to live on the Walmart pay grade and it’s hard for me to survive on it,” Juanitas said. “I have to look into other resources like SSI and SSA and most of the time I have to dip into my stock to put food on the table for my family.”
Norman Cruz has worked for Walmart for 16 years until he says he got terminated after an accident.
Cruz claims the company terminated him after management thought he refused to take a drug test.
“I told them I never refused,” Cruz said. “I asked the policy and I asked you. Are you concerned about me as a human being or are you concerned about my pee test?What’s more important to you? My pee test or that I got hurt? And that’s all! I wish everybody that whoever got retaliated speak up! Don’t give up! Stand up, fight!”
But Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg says these protests are just noises the union groups make.
“Each year we see the same union groups set up these PR stunt times to our shareholder claims and make preposterous claims about participation,” said Lundberg.
“About 100 of our 1.3 million associates are participating which is less than last year and that’s because our associates understand, they know they have a good job.”
Walmart also sent out videos of their satisfied workers.
They say a minimum $25,000 a year salary would not only help their families but boost the economy.
For now these workers are planning to hold more protests and even strikes against Walmart, saying they’ll stand in solidarity until their demands are met.
You contact Rommel Conclara at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
WalMart need to ask permission from Beijing first before they can take action on workers grievances.