Laurel, Md Walmart Associates Strike to Protest Illegal Attempts to Silence Workers

October 9, 2012: As part of a nationwide movement, 11 Walmart associates walked off the job today in Laurel, Md., backed by strong support from the community and members of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) union. Their strike was held to protest unlawful attempts to silence workers — members of Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) — who are speaking out for change in the way the company treats its employees Video posted to Vimeo October 9, 2012: As part of a nationwide movement, 11 Walmart associates walked off the job today in Laurel, Md., backed by strong support from the community and members of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) union. Their strike was held to protest unlawful attempts to silence workers — members of Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) — who are speaking out for change in the way the company treats its employees. Video respectdc.org Eight of the 11 associates then traveled to Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., to make their case to top corporate executives. Walmart Associate Cindy Murray led the group of fellow associates, community and faith leaders through the parking lot toward Walmart and addressed the management team waiting outside the store’s doors. “I believe in a better Walmart and that attempting to silence and retaliate against associates who want to make Walmart a better place to work takes the company in the wrong direction,” said Murray to the management team. “For this reason, I’m am joining with other associates who are not working to demand an end to Walmart’s attempts to silence and retaliate against associates who speak out across the country,” she said. A leader of the community group Ward 4 Thrives, Willie Baker, also challenged Walmart’s management. “I ask that you not retaliate against these workers in any way,” he said. After addressing management, the crowd formed a long picket line in front of Walmart’s doors chanting, “victory today is mine,” and “the people, united, will never be defeated.” Walmart associate Jennifer Gillings led the crowd in a series of call-and-response chants: “We are the workers. No more discrimination. No more harassment. We are the workers. The mighty good workers.” Local 400 members, Jeremiah Garner, Stephanie Pryor and Angela Pryor were in attendance to led their support on behalf of their fellow Local 400 members and President Tom McNutt. “I want these brave members of OUR Walmart to know that every member of Local 400 stands in Solidarity with them,” said McNutt in a statement last week. “We stand ready to do anything and everything to support their fight to improve their workplace conditions, to be treated with respect, to raise their economic standing, and if they so choose, to empower themselves through collective bargaining.” Before the eight associates boarded the plane to Arkansas, Walmart associate Barbara Elliot led the group in prayer. She thanked the community for their support and thanked the store manager for his verbal commitment to not retaliate against her and her fellow associates when they return to work. “When they [fellow Walmart associates] leave to catch the plane today, Lord God, I ask you accompany them with angels, that they may make it there safely and that our voices will be heard,” said Elliot. “That we will make a difference for the workers who are afraid to stand up, afraid to speak up because they’re scared they’re going to lose their jobs. That we make a difference, that we do what Sam (Walton) started for us be restored in the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.” test