This year, thousands of activists stood up to the Walmart 1% across the country. It was a busy year for the one percent—and for the rest of us. There was the news of alleged bribery and corruption in Mexico, Walmart leaving ALEC under pressure from the public (here’s hoping the Walton Family Foundation follows their lead next year), forced labor at Walmart suppliers, warehouse worker strikes, and a Black Friday to remember when Walmart associates went on strike over the company’s retaliation and attempts to silence those who spoke out for improvements on the job.
Click through to take a look at some of what we accomplished, and come back in the new year, because 2013 is going to be even bigger!
- #12. Rob Walton must go In April, Arne Sorenson—a Walmart board member and Marriott's CEO—got a visit from DC community members demanding that Walmart clean up its act in light of the bribery scandal. Over 19,000 people signed a petition calling on board chair Rob Walton and CEO Mike Duke to resign.
- #11. Marissa Mayer invited to hang out with associates Newly nominated Walmart Board member Marissa Mayer was visited by Walmart workers and allies in May. OUR Walmart members delivered a cake to Ms. Mayer, along with an invitation to join them in a Google+ Hangout.
- #10. Michele Burns faced crowds and tough questions After news broke of Walmart’s alleged bribery in Mexico, board member Michele Burns was greeted by community members concerned about Walmart’s practices outside Goldman Sachs’ annual meeting in New Jersey this May.
- #9. Under pressure, Walmart left ALEC After Walmart’s ties to ALEC and its controversial “Stand Your Ground” and Voter ID laws were revealed, the company faced a powerful campaign calling for it to leave the right-wing organization. At the end of May, Walmart finally did.
- #8. Thousands marched for good jobs in LA At the end of June, 10,000 Southland residents concerned about the growth of L.A.’s low wage economy and the influence of the nation’s largest retailer marched through L.A.’s Chinatown to call for an end to the “Walmartization” of L.A. jobs.
- #7. Walmart supply chain workers exposed forced labor In June, Mexican guestworkers from Walmart supplier CJ’s Seafood paid visits to companies affiliated with Walmart board member Michele Burns and then held a rally outside her New York apartment building.
- #6. Celebrated Walmart’s anniversary our way As Walmart celebrated its 50th anniversary, residents of Washington, DC, took to the streets to demand that Walmart be held accountable for its actions in Mexico and investigated in cities it tries to enter in the U.S.
- #5. Waltons got richer, America got poorer We found out this July that the Walton family has the same wealth as the bottom 42% of American families combined. From 2007 to 2010, the Waltons' wealth went from $69.7 billion to $89.5 billion, while most other Americans' wealth declined.
- #4. Warehouse workers brought the call for safe working conditions home In September, members of Warehouse Workers United and their supporters went to the home of Walmart board member and Walton family member Greg Penner to deliver a 37,000-signature petition for safer working conditions in the warehouses.
- #3. Warehouse workers went on strike Workers at Walmart-contracted warehouses in CA and IL went on strike in September, to protest illegal retaliation and unsafe working conditions. The IL strike ended after 21 days, and the workers returned with full back pay. In CA, the workers won safety improvements.
- #2. Walmart strikes spread – Walmart’s retaliation met with defiance Walmart associates in a dozen cities across the country went on strike in early October to protest Walmart’s attempts to silence and retaliate against those who spoke out for improvements on the job.
- #1. Nearly 1,200 Black Friday actions across the country On Black Friday and the days leading up to it, Walmart associates across the country went on strike to protest the company’s retaliation and attempts to silence against those who spoke out. Community members organized over 1,000 actions to show their support.