Walmart workers are going on a hunger strike to demand fair wages, decent treatment and a safe climate for all. I'm joining them, along with other environmental leaders. Will you sign on to support the fast for $15 and a safe climate?
Some things are just morally wrong. Like when Walmart, the biggest private employer in America, owned by one of the wealthiest families in the world, refuses to pay their employees enough to feed their families.1 Or when President Obama gives Walmart an award for climate action, even though after promising to clean up their act, Walmart uses more coal than ever.2 Even more shocking, a bombshell story on the cover of a major business magazine details how Walmart has spied for years on workers, organizers and even environmental allies like us!3
We need living wages on a living planet, not hungry workers on an earth wrecked by climate chaos. That's why I'm joining Walmart workers and environmental leaders like Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org and Aaron Mair, President of the Sierra Club,4 in calling on Walmart to live up to its promises to workers and the planet by paying $15 and full time wages, and honoring their promise to get 100 percent of their power from clean, local sources -- NOW. As a demonstration of our commitment, many of us will skip a meal, or fast for a day (or longer) in solidarity with the thousands of Walmart workers and millions of people around the world who can't afford to eat, while Walmart cashes in on climate chaos.
Will you join us? Click here to see my video message about why I'm fasting, and sign on in support of the fast for $15 and a safe climate.
The crisis Walmart workers face is urgent. Venanzi Luna worked in a Walmart deli for eight years - often struggling to put food on the table as the sole breadwinner for her and her parents. But she still found time to help others by putting cancelled deli orders in the break room, for everyone to share. A member of management told Venanzi, “I don’t want associates to get used to free meals.” After that conversation, management directed her to throw everything away. Shortly thereafter, Venanzi and all the workers in her store were laid off on a few hours notice because of alleged "plumbing problems." Now she's leading a hunger strike with us to demand Walmart do right by employees and the planet.
Environmental leaders are supporting the fast because Walmart is also a huge contributor to climate change. But just like they claim to treat workers like Venanzi fairly, they're claiming to be a leader on climate. Walmart has even been celebrated at the White House as a leader on clean energy. But in fact, Walmart is one of the biggest consumers of coal power in America. They get less than four percent of their electricity from renewable sources while their competitors like Kohls and Whole foods get 100 percent of their power from renewable energy. It's outrageous to say one thing and do another. And Walmart is even more offensive because they made a promise to get 100 percent of their power from clean sources nearly a decade ago -- and have done nothing to honor that commitment or deserve the praise they receive.5
When we allow big corporations like Walmart to collect environmental laurels while doing almost nothing to address the climate crisis and paying their employees poverty wages, it undermines our whole movement's support of climate justice. I won't stand for it, so I'm joining hundreds of Walmart workers and allies who are refusing to starve in silence. Will you stand with us? Sign here to support the #Fastfor$15 and a safe #climate.
Drew and the stand fast for justice crew at Environmental Action
1 - Tim Devaney, Wal-Mart workers fasting for a $15 wage, The Hill, November 12, 2015
2 - Derek Markham, After 10 Years Of Sustainability Initiatives, Walmart Uses More Coal Than Ever, Clean Technica, November 18th, 2015
3 - Susan Berfield, How Walmart Keeps an Eye on Its Massive Workforce, Bloomberg Business Week, November 24, 2015
4 - Sierra club, Mair Calls for a 15 Dollar Minimum Wage for Walmart Workers November 20, 2015
5 - Samantha Page, 9 Massive US Companies Pledge To Go 100% Renewable, Think Progress Green, September 23, 2015
- Stacy Mitchell, Walmart’s greenwash: Why the retail giant is still unsustainable, GRIST Special Series, November 7, 2011
- Stacy Mitchell and Walter Wuthmann, Walmart spews a huge amount of climate pollution with its shipping, but doesn’t report any of it, Grist, Jun 2 2015