By Connie Conley, Elk Grove Community Connection | November 24, 2013 |
Do you know who the largest employer is in the United States after the federal government? It is Walmart. In Elk Grove, in the recent years, we have gone from one Walmart to three.
Back in 2005, a group was formed called Elk Grove Coalition Advocating Proper Planning (EGCAPP) to stop a Wal Mart Supercenter from being built at the corner of Sheldon and Power Inn Roads. Some of the opponents were against that Walmart, not wanting it near their homes; others because they were opposed to Walmart’s way of doing business. That grassroots community effort was very successful as Walmart pulled out in less than two months.
However, no matter what your position is on Walmart, I think most will agree, as with any company, the real value, is in their employees. I am not talking about the high paid executives with their lucrative bonuses; I am talking about people who stock the shelves, the cashiers, what is referred to as support staff.
These employees are people who work in our community and they deserve sustainable wages, and if they so chose, to be able to afford to work and live in Elk Grove. But most cannot because they simply do not make enough money; even those working 30 or more hours. Could you afford to buy a house in Elk Grove making $15,500 a year? Could you best support your children on that annual wage? Would your children be able to play sports in our community, as the high schools require parents to subsidize those costs?
These are employees who are the working poor in our community and it is not right. Something has to change here. After all, the combined wealth of Walmart, Sam’s Club, and the Walton family themselves, no matter how much money they give to charity, makes this company and this family the richest in the country.
So why doesn’t Walmart pay their employees livable wages? They certainly can afford to and more. Is anything being done here? Yes, there is. And it is Walmart employees themselves joining others who are standing up, trying to raise awareness, and trying to force what I see as a social change in their own labor movement. It is called “Making Change at Walmart.”
It is very easy to support this movement as noted in their mission statement, “Around the country, Walmart workers and community members are standing up and calling on Walmart to provide better jobs and be a better neighbor.” All you have to do is go to http://makingchangeatwalmart.org/ and sign the online petition to have your voice heard.
Throughout our country’s history, brave people have stood up for social change. Now employees in our community are doing the same. They are the employees who work in our local Walmarts. By signing this petition, you are supporting those employees who serve you in our community. By signing this petition, you are standing up for them!
No matter what your opinion is of Walmart, every employee who works for the company deserves to live above the poverty line and we can help.
Join this social movement and help raise up good employees who deserve better!